In the previous post, I discussed how savoring the moment and the experience of pleasantness nurtures the seeds of happiness. This savoring of the many things in our life that generate positive feelings, leads naturally to a sense of gratitude.
Rachel Naomi Remen who suffered unbelievably from Crohn’s disease learned how her inner strength grew with appreciating the many things in her life that she took for granted. Rachel writes in her best-selling book, Kitchen Table Wisdom, that appreciating the small things in life can make us strong enough to deal with the big things, such as cancer and chronic illness. She encourages us to be grateful for “the grace of a hot cup of coffee, the presence of a friend, the blessing of having a new cake or soap or an hour without pain”.
These small things are so much a part of our daily life that we overlook them until we lose them. The same applies to our health which we so often take for granted. Tara Brach urges us to go beyond the “to-do list”, focused on doing things, to creating a “to-be list” that focuses on being. Whether we call it “soul” or “life force” or “consciousness”, our inner resources develop as we nourish the sense of gratitude for what is a normal part of our daily life.
Tara suggests a number of ways to cultivate gratitude including engaging a “gratitude buddy” (who you email every day with your gratitude list), savoring moments of pleasantness, developing a gratitude journal and/or regularly undertaking a gratitude meditation. As Jon Kabat-Zinn points out, “we become what we pay attention to” – we become grateful by paying attention to the things that we are grateful for.
Gratitude enables us to deal with the challenges of daily life that would otherwise disturb our tranquility and calmness. It opens us up to appreciating and serving others through empathy and compassion.
As we grow in mindfulness, we become much more aware of what we value in our life, develop gratitude and build our inner resources and resilience.
By Ron Passfield – Copyright (Creative Commons license, Attribution–Non Commercial–No Derivatives)
Image source: courtesy of dh_creative on Pixabay
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