How to Immerse Yourself in Gratitude
I just discovered (again!) how to immerse myself in Gratitude:
1) Care about the suffering of others.
Like me, you all may feel more and more touched by the increasing numbers of people in our country having difficulties. It seems to hit closer and closer to home each day. Dullard that I am, it took a while, but I found myself one morning waking up, looking around the room, appreciating the room, and my bed in a very direct and vivid way.
2) Let your mind slow down and notice your gifts.
The prospect of losing everything had finally hit home (no pun intended) and it slowed down my distracted mind enough for me to stop in the present moment. I was able to feel how important the protection and comfort of my home was to me and what it would mean to lose it. I was repeatedly stopped by this realization in tangible specific ways.
3) Relate to specific items recognizing their support and value.
Walking through a doorway I stopped and, placing my hand on the door jam, said, “Thank you” to the door jam. I took the time to feel it, to contemplate its importance and what it gave me. I related to it with respect and with the attitude that it was aware and able to receive my attention. I kept doing this with door jams, with the rug, with the bed, with utensils, etc. Every time, I genuinely stopped and directed my heartfelt attention on the object of the moment and spent a moment to feel how important each was to my sense of security and well -being.
4) Stay with this activity of appreciating for several days.
Day by day I remembered, not as a “I should do this” based task, but because appreciative feeling kept arising in my heart at important walking through a doorway. So I would stop and place my hand there and say, “Thank you.”
After several days of remembering in this way several times a day, I was sitting at breakfast with my wife, Ceci, and, as I looked around the kitchen from the table cloth to the walls to the flowers to Ceci, it felt like my eyes were seeing the value, all by themselves, in each object that came into sight. I suddenly felt immersed in Gratitude. Everything was tenderly alive and nourishing to me.
5) Turn fear into compassion — get out of yourself.
I don’t think this would have happened without the impending very real prospect of losing my home which ignited a fire in my awareness. I think I could have just gone into panic and stress if I didn’t constantly think of the suffering of others with compassion, imagining them present and observing me. The sense of the real presence of their suffering made it possible for me to stop and open — to get out of myself.
May you too find yourself immersed in Gratitude and stay there!
May we all prosper with enhanced compassion and wisdom! Let’s make a difference together. Good luck.