The Spiritual Link Between Gratitude and Prayer
Giving thanks and expressing your gratitude is one of the easiest ways to start living a more spiritually balanced life. The more thankful you are, the more blessed you will feel!
The key to experiencing more joy starts with two words: thank you!
As I develop my daily spiritual practice, I have learned that the things I focus on tend to grow and multiply. If I focus on what is working well in my life, things seems to fall into place and I have a greater sense of calmness and inner peace. On the other hand, if I occupy my mind by dwelling on the negative things in my life, those things tend to magnify as well.
It’s a relatively neutral process; life neither gives me too much misery, nor too much happiness. It all depends on what I choose to focus on. The Universe is only responding to what I am paying attention to. Over the last few years there has been a greater awareness of the power that our attention, or as Wayne Dyer says, 'our intention,' has on what manifests in our lives.
Finding inner peace begins the moment we start expressing our gratitude.
The key to calming emotional turbulence and developing a positive outlook on life starts the moment you learn how to say "Thank you" with sincerity and without the expectation of anything in return. You can say thanks directly to the person or organization that you appreciate. Or you can give thanks to your Spiritual Higher Power through prayer or silent blessings.
Noticing what’s right and abundant in your life is far more productive than dwelling on what seems to be going wrong. We are what we focus on and if we focus on what makes us happy and brings us joy, we will naturally see more of that in our daily lives.
The first step to developing an attitude of gratitude is to simply pay attention to your inner and outer dialogue without judging yourself.
How often do you complain about things, even the little things like the weather or a traffic jam? Are the things that you’re upset about things that you can actually control, or is being upset about that thing a pointless exercise? (i.e.; Complaining about the weather won’t change what’s going on in the sky. But it could change what’s going on in your mind.)
If you find yourself complaining about something that you can change, then ask yourself what you are prepared to do to change that thing. If you aren’t prepared to do anything, then strike it off your list and move on. You have the power to decide which things you want to spend your precious mental and emotional energy on.
You can even look at the fact that you have a negative thought about something as an opportunity to transform that negative into a positive. Think of the worrisome or troubling thought as a starting point for welcoming more positivity into your life. If you can notice the negative thought and see it for what it is, all you have to do is flip it around. Spiritual leaders and people who study quantum physicists tell us that everything is made up of opposites, positive and negative, ying and yang.
Cultivating an attitude of gratitude means being open to receiving unexpected things, even things that you don't think you deserve. For example, how do you react when someone gives you a compliment about your hair or your outfit? Do you dismiss the compliment by saying something like, "You think my hair looks good today? It feels like a big mess to me!" ? If you reject a compliment, you are rejecting someone's gift to you. In other words, you are being ungrateful! The next time someone says something nice to you, be gracious and thank them for their compliment. Don't dismiss them. When you dismiss their compliment you might as well tell them you think they have bad taste. Why else would they be giving you a compliment that you (think you) don't deserve?
Give thanks for the people in your life, past and present – even the people who may have caused you grief and heartache.
Every person who enters your life is there for a reason: to teach you something about the world or to challenge your way of thinking. Perhaps they even test your patience and make you angry. If you feel as though someone is bossing you around or trying to control you, you could just get mad about it, feel sorry for yourself or try to avoid that person. Or you could look at it as an opportunity to learn how to assert yourself and improve your communication skills. The choice is entirely up to you!
Nothing is ever too small to appreciate.
We all get excited and feel optimistic when grand things happens to us: a job promotion, an unexpected sum of money lands in our laps, or we meet someone who changes our lives forever. It’s easy to notice those major life events and feel the need to give thanks.
But sometimes the things that are most worthy of your gratitude are not things at all; they are states of being or emotional or physiological qualities. For example, when was the last time you noticed or appreciated the fact that you have relatively strong reading and writing skills? Imagine how difficult it would be to get through your day if you couldn’t read a medicine bottle or the directions on a street sign.
To foster a positive outlook, give thanks for both the little and big blessings you are given in life.
Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.— Ralph Waldo Emerson
September 19th is World Gratitude Day! How would you give thanks on this special day?
© 2013 Sadie Holloway