Gratitude is the simplest, most accessible doorway home.
As those of you who have done retreats with me know, gratitude is the cornerstone of my spiritual path. Being grateful for the Present is always a winning strategy no matter what is going on.
Here are three powerful ways to use gratitude:
1) If you’re like me, you often find yourself caught up in useless thoughts about past or future.
At that moment, you have a choice. You can judge yourself for having been distracted once again or you can be grateful for the gift of awareness. If you choose gratitude, you’ll be right back in the Present.
In that moment of gratefully coming back to the Present, it truly doesn’t matter how long you’ve been away or where your attention has been. You are always welcome Home. This principle is beautifully illustrated by Jesus in the parable of the prodigal son. (Luke 15:11-32 )
2) After exploring a ton of different methods for dealing with painful emotions, I’ve found gratitude the most powerful tool.
When a painful emotion is triggered, our immediate response is often to want to get rid of it of get away from it. This generally isn’t very effective since what we resist persists.
When I’m able to meet painful emotions with gratitude, my resistance to them dissolves. Gratitude relaxes my mind and body, so the emotion can move through.
As Michael Singer teaches in The Untethered Soul, emotions are like water; their natural tendency is to move. It’s only our resistance that keeps them from moving through us like a river flowing downstream.
Perhaps you are wondering how you can be grateful when a painful emotion comes up. Here’s one simple way:
When an emotion arises, it doesn’t come out of nowhere. It has been held unconsciously in your mind and something (an event or even a thought) has triggered it into conscious awareness. Recognize that you have a golden opportunity to meet it in the light of awareness and become more free.
3) Gratitude can be a very direct way to move out of separation into oneness.
Bring your attention to something you are grateful for and relax into the feeling this evokes in your heart.
Then, ask “Where is the one I am grateful to?” Feel the answer in your heart.
Next ask, “Where is the one who is grateful?” and again feel the answer in your heart.
You can go back and forth a couple times if you wish.
Perhaps you will notice that there is only one field of grateful awareness. When you relax into it, you can feel it everywhere.
During the Thanksgiving season, millions of people are focused on gratitude. The power of this collective focus makes it easier to tap into the energy of gratitude. If you resonate with the methods described above, this is a great time to experiment with them.