As I shared in this post part of my practice is the daily cultivation of gratitude. I was inspired to do so by many teachers—not least the Buddha!—and continue to gain inspiration and motivation as I discover new books and teachings online and in retreats and seminars.
One article that I have found particularly meaningful is “Selfless Gratitude” by Phillip Moffitt. I encourage you to read it in its entirety on his website, Dharma Wisdom, but here are a few of the points that inspire me regularly.
Cultivating gratitude, he says, is a powerful form of mindfulness practice. Ways to cultivate gratitude include:
- When a challenge arises, note it, then identify something for which you are grateful.
- Before going to sleep each night, focus on those to whom you are grateful: people you know (family, teachers) and/or those you don’t (individuals who developed a medicine you need or grew the food you ate for dinner).
- Make a list of things for which you are grateful, from the most basic—clean air, fresh water, a roof over your head—to the more abstract, such as the blueness of the sky, a fresh-brewed cup of coffee, the earthy scent of rosemary.
- Throughout your day, keep bringing your attention to the things and experiences right in front of you for which you are grateful: a car to get to work, a pencil to write a note, an interaction with a colleague.
- Consider your gratitude ratio: good things versus bad things. Notice the actual balance and ask if you tend to give more mental weight to one side versus the other.
Beware of short-changing gratitude by getting stuck in problem-solving mode, taking things for granted, or comparing yourself to others.
Ultimately, if you purse a gratitude practice, you will begin to experience the presence of grace. In these challenging times, that is akin to a miracle.