Gratitude – Cracking Open My Mind

In my yoga community we talk about “switching the angle of the mind” when we want to look at something in a new and more positive way. This often takes daily effort, but the other day it was sudden and unexpected and fun!

I read a new-to-me quote from the 17th Century Matthew Henry:

“Thanksgiving is good,
but Thanks-living is better.”

Wow! I felt my mind crack open in a new place … it was subtle and profound at the same time. Thanks-living. I wondered what it meant, then asked myself what it would mean to LIVE my thanks. I was definitely having a Wow! moment and it felt amazing.

I was in that place Buddhists call “no-mind”, where we wait for answers to questions our minds would answer in a flash if they had control at that moment. But instead of giving it over to our busy-mind, we sit in wonder and allow the no-mind answer to emerge. It’s almost always simpler and often a wonderful surprise. The no-mind answer comes from intuition, God, Light, Source, Universe, Creator… and is pure grace.

You probably experience this when you practice guided imagery, when you meditate, when you open yourself to someone else’s healing hands and energy. You put yourself in an open state, ready to receive knowledge or healing. The answers you get, the results you experience are gifts from the Universe.
So there I was, with my mind not in charge and cracked open in the most delightful way. My usual thoughts about living with an attitude of gratitude floated past my inner eye… how it lifts us out of our selfish concerns, helps us believe in a positive future, how our immune system perks up, and how we feel generally better and happier and more loving toward others.

And on that day, wondering what it would mean to LIVE my thanks, I was taken with a new idea. What if whenever I feel thankful, whenever I feel gratitude, I turn around and GIVE to someone else. Automatically, every time, right then.

That was my Wow! And as it sank in I realized what a beautiful practice this would be.

Live Your Thankfulness

  1. Start by noticing whenever you feel thankful. Of course, this will heighten your awareness in every moment and you’ll feel gratitude way more often because you’re looking for it all the time!
  2. Allow your gratitude to flow through you… feel it, speak it, paint it, write it, sing it. Whatever you like to do, according to who you are 🙂
  3. Here’s the NEW part, to me at least, and you don’t have to finish step two before moving on with this, in fact the sooner you do this the better! Look for a person, group or any being you can give to in some way.

Your gift doesn’t have to represent anything and it doesn’t have to be huge. It might be a compliment or an expression of appreciation or that special smile you have. You’ll know. Do this every time you experience gratitude. Seriously.

There you have it. There’s my Wow! turned into a daily practice, my attitudinal twist on “paying it forward”. For health, for peace, for pure joy. In the beginning it will be deliberate. One day, after continued practice, the cycle of gratitude and gifting will be such a well-worn path it will be perfectly continuous and without thought. Enjoy!

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