Gratitude – Cliché or Real Power
In the past, whenever the subject of gratitude would come up as a topic in a spiritual discussion, I would silently groan and think, “Not again.” But, it was always the case that by the end of the discussion, I was feeling blissful.
At the time, I thought of gratitude as something we do to make ourselves feel good for a little while, to temporarily suppress feelings of negativity. I didn’t understand the value of gratitude as a truly life changing principle.
How Does Gratitude Elude Us?
Most of us make plans and purchases for the purpose of making ourselves happy and in an attempt to enjoy life. We believe that if we have what we want and do the things we want to do, we will be happy. But, what often happens is that we spend most of our time focusing on what we want and don’t have, and when we get something we want, the feeling of bliss that we feel is a result of a temporary relief from the feelings of wanting. Then, we start thinking about the next thing we want.
This idea of wanting is so ingrained in commercial culture that for most of us, we don’t think twice about it. “Well, of course I want a nicer car. Why wouldn’t I?” Because, it is this wanting that prevents us from enjoying life. And, this mindset is almost exclusively responsible for the debt that most of us face.
We are constantly bombarded with messages attempting to convince us that we are not happy and should, therefore, buy this product to change that.
What if we were able to reverse our focus? Instead of choosing to focus on the things we want and don’t have, we choose to focus on the things we already have and appreciate. This is the ultimate instant gratification. It’s free and, with practice, it is permanent.
Gratitude is the single key to peace of mind, contentment and satisfaction. If we are not grateful for what we have now, we will not be grateful for having ten times as much. If we are grateful, we have achieved peace and contentment and new gifts in life will multiply our bliss instead of simply relieving dissatisfaction temporarily.
How to Maintain Gratitude
Start by creating a gratitude list, a list of things for which you are grateful. Review and maintain it regularly: perhaps daily.
Remember that gratitude take a lot of energy to maintain. This is one reason it is so elusive to many of us. But, it produces more energy than it takes, thus perpetuating itself.
Monday’s post will focus exclusively on the subject of maintaining gratitude. To read more on how to maintain gratitude you can find that post here: How to Maintain Gratitude.