How do we cultivate an attitude of gratitude? How does it work? Every morning I begin my meditation practice with a few minutes of gratitude. It happens the moment I wake up – BEFORE I even open my eyes!! As I slowly become conscious or aware that I am no longer sleeping, I silently ask myself, "What am I grateful for?"
And this is the important part — I don't answer. I just repeat that question over and over 50 times like a mantra. Then I sit for a minute and just fill my mind and my heart with everything I am grateful for. Experiences, opportunities, people, the miracles that unfold each day – both profound and mundane.
Then I open my eyes, RPM (rise, pee, meditate), and I have ten minutes of gratitude rippling through me before I've even brushed my teeth!!! Remember that where attention goes, energy flows. Whatever we place our awareness on blooms and blossoms and grows... and what we drift our awareness away from withers, diminishes and dies.
And by placing my awareness on gratitude before I have even absorbed one ray of sunlight, gratitude becomes the trajectory of my morning, my day, and my week! Every seed I plant throughout the day is planted in the fertile soil of gratitude.
Some of the greatest heart-based teachers such as Osho, David Simon, and Pema Chodron have stressed that enlightenment cannot be achieved by meditation alone. If our heart is heavy, that heaviness will stand in the way of bliss. If our heart is heavy, then our meditation will be more of an intellectual exercise and we want to move out of our head and into our heart.
Starting our day with gratitude ensures that we move through the day with grace and ease. And that's the space that I choose to live my life from. I am not always so graceful or so easy, but my morning gratitude practice starts me off on a sweet, forgiving, compassionate, grateful path. It's up to me to stay on it or find my way back when I've strayed throughout the day.
What a magnificent journey to be on! I invite you to join me every morning as we start the day in gratitude. It doesn't guarantee that the day will unfold perfectly or as predicted, but it does guarantee that as each moment unfurls its miracle, I am right there – only a few heartbeats away starting from a space of gratitude.