Meditation can be a powerful tool for increasing gratitude. It quiets the mind and cultivates peace and insight. It is also an avenue into the subconscious. Attitude of the mind, body and spirit shifts with meditation. If your mind is clear, calm, and has the ability to think rationally, you will be able to understand gratitude on a deep and meaningful level. The core of gratitude is an open mind with clear perception, and an open heart. Many spiritual traditions begin meditations and prayers with expressions of gratitude.
Your meditation can be in your actions – choosing to do something helpful each day to show your gratitude – or as a more formal meditation. Any meditation could include gratitude. Lighting a candle and sitting silently for six minutes is enough to contemplate gratitude. Look into the flame and quiet those thoughts that say you are not good enough, or you don’t have what you need, or that your life choices have been wrong. Quiet the ‘should of, could of, would of’ that blocks gratitude. When you begin to have any of those negative thoughts, correct them and say, “Every day in every single way I feel better, every day in every single way I am a useful part of this community, every day in every single way I am helping myself and others.” For the rest of the six-minute meditation, think about what in your life inspires gratitude.
Another meditation to combat negative feelings of not being worthy or somehow ‘less than’ ,is to close your eyes and imagine the negative thought or voice as a shape or a form. Now picture yourself standing there with a bow and arrow. You put your hand over your shoulder and take out a single golden arrow. Fire it straight into that negative thought and let it explode and disappear right in front of you.
A meditation can be solely about giving thanks. Relax your body and breathe deeply. Clear your mind and think about people, places, things and situations you are grateful for. Start saying the phrase, “I am grateful for” or “I send gratitude to,” finishing the line with “my parents,” “my friends,” “the opportunity I have to work,” “the trees and flowers in the park,” “love,” or even “the illness that taught me compassion for others.” The choices are endless. There is always enough gratitude in your heart to apply to whatever you wish to acknowledge. After your mind has sent out the gratitude, sit in silence for a few minutes and allow yourself to feel grateful for the meditation itself.
To connect with gratitude and send it out to the world as a gesture of service and grace, take a deep breath and as you’re exhaling close your eyes for one minute. Allow your mind to go still and quiet, and then send good thoughts to all the people in the world who are suffering. Deliver to them a piece of light and goodness from your heart. End by saying, “May all the beings in all the world be happy.”
by Derek O’Neill
An excerpt from Gratitude: Yes Please