Gratitude or appreciation is an intentional focus on the positive, on what you already perceive as good. When you appreciate someone, you are focusing on her source-like qualities. According to the principle of one power, source is the only truth and reality of her. Anything else that you seem to see, anything that you perceive as un-source-like in any way, is ultimately only your own mistaken projection.
Moreover, when you appreciate another, you are expressing the source-like truth of yourself, as a being of love.
Understood in this way, gratitude is the practice of being and seeing only the truth — in the belief that if you practice being and seeing only the truth, you will eventually be and see only the truth. And when you are being and seeing only the truth, you will feel only gratitude.
Today, practice being grateful for everything you possibly can. Actively look for things and qualities to appreciate. Whenever it is appropriate, you might even choose to openly express your gratitude to others. But in your mind, direct your gratitude to source itself. Appreciate the lovable things and qualities you experience not so much as separate realities in themselves but rather as expressions of source, of the infinite creative potential for well-being — expressions which your own appreciation is allowing you to see clearly. Be grateful not so much for the particular form, but for the unchanging, ever-present love that is eternally expressing itself in your experience as your consciousness of these ever-changing forms of well-being.
And also be grateful for the fact that you can recognize and appreciate these gifts of source, because your ability to do so fills your life experience with beauty and grace.
It can be very helpful to keep a gratitude journal to reinforce the process of appreciation. The more you practice extending thoughts of appreciation, the more it will become your habitual way of relating to the world. Plus, whenever you are temporarily lost in negative thoughts, looking at your journal can help you remember your way back to love and happiness.
Who in your life do you feel critical of now? Make a list and address them one by one. Every criticism is a withholding of love, which is ultimately a withholding of your own experience of well-being.
The next time you find yourself in the midst of blaming or criticizing another, see it as an opportunity to do yourself a favor and shift your awareness to love. Extend love to the other, regardless of whether you think they “deserve” it or not. Become the extending-forth of unconditional love.
This is a meditation for deeper self-awareness. Set aside a quiet time without distractions. Become aware of yourself as a being of love now on all levels: the eternal expansion of love at the level of the oneness of Being; extending forth unconditional love to others at the level of relationships in the world; and extending forth of unconditional love to yourself.
What mental obstacles do you encounter when you try to shift your awareness to love? How and why are you withholding love now? What judgments of others or of yourself are holding you back? Let go of those judgmental thoughts now. Become love.
Afterwards take some time to write down whatever you discovered about yourself in the course of this exercise.
Reprinted with permission of the author.
Published byAlight Publications. ©2010.
This article is excerpted with permission from the book:
The Happy Mind: Seven Principles to Clear Your Head and Lift Your Heart
by William R. Yoder.
The Happy Mind offers an alternative way of thinking based on seven simple principles. This new way of thinking enables you to undo the limits and distortions of your current way of thinking, and thus allows your mind to experience deep and lasting happiness. Your happy state of mind is the single most effective tool for discovering your true desires, and realizing and manifesting them. And your own happy and peaceful state of mind is also the most healing gift you can offer to another.
William Yoder has doctorates in both philosophy and chiropractic. He has taught Eastern and Western philosophy and religion at major universities. His studies personal study with the Option Institute, and with such teachers as Ram Dass, Michael Hatncr, Gail Straub and David Gershon, Wallace Black Elk, David Spangler, Brant Secunda, and Thich Nhat Hanh. He and his wife have taught workshops in both the private and the corporate sectors on the topics of health and healing, human potential, self-actualization, and spirituality. Visit his website at http://thehappymindbook.com/