Cultivate Gratitude

17 Jul

Gratitude is strengthening because when we are grateful we establish a figure-eight flow of love from our heart to the heart of God.  And when we send love and gratitude to God, light and blessings return to us.  If we don’t take a moment in our busy day to feel and express our profound gratitude to the spiritual Source that continuously gives us breath and life and opportunity, we are not tapping the tremendous resource of energy that is available to use at any hour of the day or night.

Sometimes we fail to make the most of the blessings we have been given because we dwell on the negatives instead of noticing the richness of our life.  Something beautiful happens and all we can think of is the one thing that went wrong.  Gratitude can help us gain back our heart perspective–the perspective that whatever is happening in our life, it is an opportunity, even a gift, that can help us open our heart and grow.

When we consciously cultivate gratitude, we get into the habit of seeing the positives.   We don’t take things apart before they’ve even had a chance to breathe the breath of life.  We are naturally more balanced and at peace, and therefore we criticize less and we blame less.  We make the most of what we have, and we enjoy life more.

But listen to me: for one moment, quit being sad.

hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you. God.

-Rumi

When we have gratitude, we see with our heart.  One of the ways we can consciously cultivate gratitude and begin seeing with the heart is to look for opportunities to appreciate others–to show them how grateful we are for them.  When we appreciate others, we share in their blessings.  “Appreciation is a wonderful thing,” Voltaire said.  “It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”

gratitude Image

Cultivating gratitude is learning to treat each other as we so often treat children, cherishing their every effort and cheering them on.  No matter how crude a child’s offering, it is always pure.  It doesn’t matter what they’ve drawn or what they made, their work is beautiful and they need us to appreciate their effort.  When a child sees that we are grateful for that effort, he or she will make another effort and then another.  When someone is sincerely grateful for something you’ve done, doesn’t it make all the difference?  Doesn’t it make yo want to do i again and again?

Love is to learn from everything, to see the gifts of God

and the generosity of God in everything.

-Sheikh Muzaffer

Not only is gratitude and appreciation empowering, but it is healthy.   Researchers at the Institute of HeartMath have shown that emotions like anger and frustration put a strain on the heart and other organs.  Emotions like love, compassion and appreciation, on the other hand, have been shown to create harmony in the body, leading to enhanced immunity and improved hormonal balance.  “Scientist discovered a dramatic demonstration of love’s transforming power when they looked at the difference between the effects of love and frustration,” writes David McArthur and Bruce McArthur.  Frustration creates a chaotic pattern in our heart rate variability, which is the speeding up and slowing down of our heart rate.  In contrast, they say, a deep heartfelt feeling of sincere appreciation produces a balanced, ordered pattern that is generally associated with efficient cardiovascular function.  “It is a dynamic example of the transforming power of love operating at the level or our physical bodies,” say the authors. “When this pattern is present in the heart, other systems in the body are strongly affected by its order and efficiency.”

Gratitude is so powerful that it can raise up or bring down an entire civilization.  We can talk about everything that brought down the world’s great civilizations, even as far back as the lost continent of Atlantis, but it all boils down to the failure to give gratitude for the Spirit. When we are grateful for something, we acknowledge the giver, we take care of the gift we have been given and we share it with others.  We realize that the true measure of success is not what we have achieved but whether or not we have used our God-given talents to bring out the best in others.  When we have gratitude , we want to give more because our cup is overflowing,

If the only prayer you say in your whole life

is “thank you,” that would suffice.

-Meister Eckhart

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