Gratitude as a Living Thing
This past week, I had several opportunities to reflect on the nature of gratitude and how it enriches our lives. It was a very busy week, more so than usual, because of the holiday, the family get-togethers, and all the excitement and commotion that goes along with such events. So, even though I was constantly in motion, tending to this, that, and the other, thoughts of gratitude kept pushing their way into my consciousness, accompanied by feelings of thankfulness. Of course, a large part of that was appreciation for the obvious blessings, such as family, home, and plentiful food, which are too often taken for granted.
But, even more significantly, I was aware of a feeling of gratitude steadily radiating from the core of my being, for no discernible reason. Being a curious sort, I wondered about this as I tended to my family responsibilities over the extended holiday weekend. What was causing this feeling? Why was gratitude so persistent and consistent? The answer remained elusive, so I simply enjoyed (and was grateful for) the pure feeling of thankfulness that continued to wash through me. Then, a few days later, an answer came to me in meditation – I realized that gratitude in its purest form is a living thing, an entity, and that when nurtured and cultivated, it flourishes and thrives on its own. In its essence, gratitude requires no reason for being, it just is. For it to come alive within us, however, requires a nurturing and supportive environment.
What does this mean for us? Simply that when we create an accepting and nurturing environment for gratitude, it takes up permanent residence within us. In other words, when we make a home for gratitude, gratitude makes a home in us. In so doing, it enriches our lives beyond measure, and reminds us of life’s sweetness, even amid the inevitable difficulties and sorrows.
So, what I have learned is this: Be grateful. Practice gratitude, and allow its beauty to dwell within you. When we welcome gratitude, we welcome the happiness that is our birthright.