Simply focusing on what you have and being grateful for it will transform your life,
“If the only prayer you say in your entire life is thank you – it will be enough.” Perhaps take a moment to read that again.
Is renowned German philosopher Meister Eckhart suggesting that just by watching our ps and qs everything will be OK? Or is he reminding us that by simply recognising what we have in life can create a perfect platform for all that we need and more?
Religious and philosophical text has always told us that ‘living in the moment’ is the true path to sustained inner peace and happiness, but is this practical with today’s busy lives? Even if we make a conscious effort we have to make plans for the family, juggle our time and divide our attention across many areas – all of which seemingly takes us further away from the present moment.
Being grateful for what we already have refocuses us on the moment; it negates the need to concern ourselves about what might have been or indeed what may or may not come along in the future – it helps us recognise all that we have now. Gratitude is a true healing balm for the modern age; it gently eases the pain of needing more to be happy while softening the effect of regret for something in the past. So how canwe develop a sense of gratitude in to our everyday lives or find a way to gently refocus our mind towards a positive aspect within a particular situation?
A wonderful place to start is to develop a simple practice of morning gratitude – the adage of getting out of bed on the right side fits perfectly here.As you wake up take just a few moments to clear your mind before your day starts, and begin to think of things in your life that you are grateful for. Don’t worry about how simple the process is; in fact the more basic we can be in recognising what we actually have in life the better.At first, choose people or things for whom or which it is easy to be thankful – friends, family, your health, safety and security. Go on! Allow yourself a smile as you welcome the day and quietly appreciate all that you have in life (and that’s before you’ve even got out of bed!).
Look to subtly change your focus each morning, and if for whatever reason some days it just doesn’t flow then go back to basics; will you step out of your warm bed on to soft carpet? Will the tap produce clean flowing water at a single turn? Does the morning sun gently bathe your room? Are you free to offer someone a caring, genuine smile expecting nothing in return at perhaps just the moment when they had lost all faith in kindness from another person?
Just a few minutes spent each morning feeling grateful for all we have in life doesn’t just brighten our day, it changes our life!
However hectic or busy our day has been we usually have time at the end of it to reflect on how it’s gone – this is another ideal opportunity to focus on finding positive elements within any situation.Begin with recalling things that have happened that bring a smile to your face, and, as you relax, recognise that warm, happy sensation as your ability to feel gratitude towards this person or event has become part of your life.
Every day things will also come along to test us in some way. It normally suggests that something or someone hasn’t quite met our expectations or the outcome isn’t how we had envisaged it would be. However, quite often we actually end up relieved that things didn’t progress as we had hoped – in fact there have been occasions when I was desperate for a particular outcome only in hindsight to give thanks for a completely different conclusion.
As you take a moment at the end of the day to reflect on such things, look to develop a gentle understanding that there is an opportunity to learn and grow from everything that comes into our lives and that actually such fortune enables us to become a better, happier and more grounded person.It’s the simple things in life that really seem to work. Strip out the unnecessary layers and we get closer to who we really are. Does your happiness depend on something that may or may not happen in the future? Or can you truly give thanks for what you have right now? Does something from the past that has gone forever still hang heavy with you, or are you able to liberate yourself by being grateful for the cherished memories or experience gained and move on?
There is a wonderful irony to developing a grateful outlook on life – perfectly summarised by bestselling author Eckhart Tolle: “If you want abundance, you need to find that sense of fullness first, which is inseparable from the present moment”. So give thanks – and as you begin to realise all that you have, the universe responds and shows its gratitude in ways that will amaze you!
Ian Tucker gives talks and runs workshops that encourage us all to develop a simple, caring outlook on life. His forthcoming book Your Simple Path will be available soon – for more information visit yoursimplepath.co.uk. To find out more about Annie B’s work go to annieb-art.co.uk
At any point during your day you can use this very simple but powerful exercise that sees you draw a heart on a page
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