Giving thanks is a way to remember that our situation in life is in some, or in many ways, privileged. It will probably not take long for us to find countless examples of other people who may be in more challenging or difficult circumstances in their lives. Being grateful is a way to express our appreciation for the gifts we have received. In other words, expressing gratitude reminds us that we are constantly participating of the interconnectedness of life, that is, we are not alone. I feel that this is reason enough to feel comfortable and happy.
Many of us feel that meditation is a very complex and esoteric practice. However, meditation is just a way to experience who we really are, right here and now. Here is a simple and easy gratitude meditation that can help experience the happiness and joy of being alive.
- Sit in a comfortable position, if possible with your spine erect but not rigid.
- Close your eyes.
- Allow your breath to flow at its own pace.
- Listen to your own breath for a few rounds of inhalation and exhalation.
- With each exhalation let go of whatever is not part of this moment.
- If you notice any tension in your body, for instance in your shoulders, face or anywhere else just let go of it as you exhale.
- As you feel ready, ask yourself if there is anything in your life to be thankful for. You don’t need to think too hard or concentrate too intensely, instead let the question resonate with your whole being.
- You may find that some reasons start emerging into your consciousness without effort. In case nothing seems to come to mind, notice if there is anything in your immediate life that you appreciate, such as the ability to breathe, sleep, smile, feel, taste, laugh, love. Feel the sensation of gratitude and remain aware.
- Remember to also give thanks for obstacles, challenges and difficulties, because they provide us with opportunities to learn about ourselves and about others.
- Each time you give thanks, draw a gentle smile on your face.
- Allow your gratitude to expand gradually out into the whole universe.
- For the last few seconds immerse completely in the sensation of gratitude.
Notice how you feel. You might feel relaxed, renewed and more in contact with yourself and with the world around you as you practice this meditation. You can practice this meditation for just a few minutes or longer if this feels appropriate. If possible, I would suggest trying this meditation for 2 weeks, just for a few minutes each day, and noticing its effects throughout the day. You can also take short ‘gratitude breaks’ during your day by pausing for a few moments to express your gratitude as it feels best for you.
I hope you find this practice helpful and enjoyable.