An attitude of gratitude, that’s one key to living a life of renewable positive energy. Imagine what it would be like to feel grateful about everything and take nothing for granted: My car started, hallelujah! I woke up alive and well, glory be! I have enough money to buy food and eat a delicious meal today, thank goodness. I have friends who I love, wonderful! I am breathing clean air, hip hip hooray! And on and on goes the endless gratitude list we could create every day.
Why not examine what we REALLY feel grateful for. Not just things we think we should feel grateful for because we were conditioned to think that way. For example, after living in China for five years, and appreciating my life there many more days than I didn’t, when I returned to America, I was overcome with gratitude for the diversity here. I’m talking about all kinds of diversity—from ethnic diversity to the diversity of languages I could hear when walking down the street.
Also, when I lived in China, I began a practice of writing down everything I felt grateful for every night before I went to bed. I was surprised at how many small and large things happened every day that I felt thankful for. Maybe that’s one reason why I loved living in China—I felt grateful every day. I have modified my gratitude journal practice since I returned to America. While I am in bed, I bring to mind all the things I felt grateful for that occurred that day before I go to sleep. It feels good to end my day with saying “thank you.”
Feeling grateful about everything would challenge any sense of entitlement we might have since entitlement leads to expectations of things going our way. The unconscious drill goes something like this: “Well, I am a good person who does good things for others, so I deserve to be rewarded for my efforts with good things and happy happenings. That’s just good karma.” That is a rational explanation of how life “should” work, but does it work like that 100% of the time? What happens when not-so-good things happen? Do we “deserve” those things too? Are we grateful for unpleasant events too? Should we be? So many questions to think about!
Contemplate this quote from Meister Eckhart: “If the only prayer you ever said was ‘thank you,’ that would be enough.”