Make Gratitude a Practice, Really
When we think of what we’re thankful for we often think of the light in our lives. Who and what represents the light in your life?
The poet Hafiz writes in his poem “It Felt Love”:
How did the rose
Ever open its heart
And give to this world
All its beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light
Against its being,
We all remain
This is so true. It becomes easier to open up and reveal our own gifts to this world when we feel positive loving encouragement within.
Here is an opportunity to do a practice inspired by this poem that can help us cultivate a sense of gratitude and lovingkindness right now.
Here is short practice to feel that encouragement of light right now (what do you have to lose):
- Think of a person or animal who represents light, who represents a loving and kind presence in your life. This can be a good friend who is alive, maybe someone who has passed away, a pet, or maybe a spiritual figure such as the Dalai Lama, Jesus, or even the hand of God.
- Take a moment to imagine that presence here, with you, looking into your eyes.
- Now imagine that person saying to you, “May you be safe and protected from inner and outer harm”, “May you be happy,” “May you be free from fear”, “May you be healthy in body and mind”. You can also create your own wishes and aspirations here.
- Now turn toward that person and say that with the same intention to them.
- Now imagine your family and friends with you (those who you feel difficulty with and those who you feel more ease with) and with intention, saying those same word.
Take a moment to just feel into how you are doing and whatever is there, just letting it be.
I would be willing to bet that if I hooked you up to a brain scanning machine while you did the practice above we’d see a shift in activity to your left prefrontal cortex. What is that associated with? Resiliency.
Gratitude is a practice. May this be a springboard for you to cultivate this sense of gratitude and lovingkindness, which even though it may come with some uncomfortable feelings at times, can be a source of much psychological healing and feelings of well-being.
I deeply thank all of you who have been following the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy blog posts and for interacting below as your posts truly create a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.
Red rose photo available from Shutterstock
Goldstein, E. (2013). Make Gratitude a Practice, Really. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 22, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindfulness/2013/04/make-gratitude-a-practice-really/