Journey to Gratitude

 Gratitude is a state of consciousness.  We cultivate gratitude when we feel grateful for the gift of life and appreciate all the good things that people do for us.  We do not take what we have for granted, but value all the ways that the universe supports us and insures that our needs are met. Gratitude leads to abundance.

Opposite States of Consciousness:  Lack of gratitude, greed, wanting more, feeling that we do not have enough, focusing on what is missing instead of what we have, poverty consciousness, bitterness or jealousy toward others who have more than we do.  Lack of appreciation keeps scarcity alive.

The Teaching

 Without gratitude it is impossible to experience abundance, even if you are rich in money and possessions.   When you lack gratitude, you don’t feel blessed by what you have and so you do not enjoy it. You are preoccupied with holding onto it and protecting it from others who have less, or you are always trying to get more because you don’t believe that you have enough.  
     Being rich and feeling abundant are not the same thing.  In fact, you can be poor and experience great gratitude for what you have, be willing to share it with others, and know that the universe always meet your needs, one way or another.
Such a person is rich in spirit.   His gratitude and willingness to share with others creates the conditions in which the resources he needs flow back to him.  He hardly ever feels lack because his most important needs are being met in any given moment.
     Jesus told us that it is easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter heaven.  That is because the rich man is attached to his possessions.  He is storing up riches that he cannot take with him when he dies.
     Holding onto our possessions means that we have a miserly state of consciousness.   A miser may have a lot of money, but he lives a miserable life.         
    When we feel gratitude for what we have, it is easier for us to be generous and share with others.  We put our resources to work in the world.  We use them to reach out, engage, employ or support others. We create a flow of energy that eventually returns to us.  
     Gratitude keeps the flow of abundance going.  It creates connection and reciprocity.  It enables us to celebrate life together.  On the other hand, lack of gratitude leads to lack of joy, lack of trust, lack of energy and lack of prosperity.
     In order to feel gratitude we must value the gift.   If you don’t have any money and haven’t eaten in three days and I give you five dollars, you will no doubt be grateful.  But if you inherited hundreds of thousands of dollars from your father, and I buy you lunch, you might not be very thankful or impressed. The key to feeling gratitude is valuing the gift.  If you don’t value the gift you won’t be grateful.  And that means that you will still be living in scarcity consciousness even though your net worth is thousands of times more than mine.
     There is an expression that “what comes around goes around,” but that cannot happen if you don’t value the gift and share it with others.   If you are grateful you  will share the gift and it will benefit others as well as yourself.   Then it will also be true that “what goes around, comes around” back to you.  This is the cycle of abundance.  Here are the simple steps:

1.     Value the gift.

2.     Give thanks for the gift.  Express appreciation.

3.     Share the gift with others.  Pay it forward.

Practice these three steps and you will be amazed at the results.  
     All of us were given the gift of life by God and our parents.  Do you know and appreciate the fact that your life itself is a gift?  If you know this, you will feel grateful for what you have been given and try to live a meaningful life.  If you don’t realize that you have been given a gift, you may squander your life.  You may become a victim feeling sorry for yourself and resenting others.  You might fall into crime, poverty or addiction; you might even attempt suicide.  
     If you do not value your life, you probably won’t value the lives of others.  You won’t express gratitude toward your partner, your parents or your children.  You will take all of this for granted.   And then one day, they might be taken from you and you will be shocked at the size of the hole in your heart.
     Don’t wait for tragedy to happen to tell them how much you care about them and appreciate the gifts that they have given you.  Do it now.

The Practice

Today, take time to value the gifts that you have been given and go out of your way to say thank you for to the people who love you and support you.  Don’t take anyone for granted.   Don’t diminish any gift that is offered to you, no matter how small and insignificant it may seem.  Take time to notice all the affection, caring, courtesy, praise, support, compassion, and understanding that is offered to you.   And say thank you.  Say, “I noticed how supportive you have been to me and I want you to know that it means a lot to me!”
     And then take the time to pay it forward.   Offer support to someone else who is struggling.  Share the gift so that it can be extended and increased in kind.  Today, be a force for love in the world by telling others how much they mean to you.  Acknowledge, value, and express appreciation for all the good things in your life.
     Expressing gratitude is prayer in action.  Thanking God for his blessings and his bounty every day helps you stay connected to your higher power and aware of its presence in your life. 
     Today notice when it is hard for you to value the gift or express appreciation for it.   Be aware of the times when you feel envious or jealous of others.   Observe when you feel that you do not have enough and are looking for more.
    Question yourself when you think you lack something. Ask yourself “what do I have that I am not grateful for?  What gift am I taking for granted?  How can I appreciate what I have if I am always finding fault with it or believing that it is not enough?”
     Today, recognize the signs that you are living in victim consciousness.   Every time you complain, find fault, see or experience lack, remember that your lesson today is about gratitude.   Even if you cannot be grateful, be aware when you are not and try to understand what block to love is lodged in you heart.
     Today do not be a miser.  Do not hoard or withhold resources from others. Be generous.  Offer a blessing or an alm, extend a hand to others.   Give gladly without thought of return. You are blessed to be in a position to share or to help so take advantage of the opportunity.

Journaling Questions

When have you valued the gifts you have been given, expressed appreciation for them and shared them with others?
How can you do that right now in your life?

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