Ancient Greek philosophers considered gratefulness to be the highest of all virtues, but in the mayhem of today’s fast-paced life, how often do you stop and think about what you have to be grateful for?
When was the last time you said thank you to life? Yes, ‘to life’ because this expression of gratefulness transcends all beliefs and non-beliefs. That’s to say, whatever you believe or don’t believe, you can still express gratitude to life itself, after all you are here, alive, and part of an unfolding mystery of infinite possibilities. Saying thank you to life is a humbling and transformative practice, because by doing so you are affirming there is something greater than you, that there is a power or energy greater than us all.
So when you wake up in the morning, sit upright in bed, take a deep breath in, and say ‘THANK YOU’ to life as you exhale. Say ‘THANK YOU’ out loud three times each morning without allowing your mind to wander. If you continue this as a regular daily practice, you will begin to recognise your life as a blossoming opportunity rather than an obvious, predictable and inevitable journey. Perhaps you’ve just recovered from an illness, or received unexpected good news, or had a stroke of luck. Say thank you.
Be thankful for all you have here and now, for you have so much. Be thankful for this moment without getting caught up in the ego-inflated expectations of the future, and you will begin to realise how fruitful and abundant your life already is.
When you move beyond desiring things, people, money, esteem and power, you begin to acknowledge and sense presence, the presence of your Soul. The secret treasure of your Soul is waiting within you, but it’s not something you can just download. You have to work at it. A regular practice of gratefulness is one way of creating a real connection with the divine serenity alive within you. When you do touch that place of knowing within you, you will sense the presence of inner joy and feel complete, alive and whole.
So what do you have to grateful for? Well, the list is probably far longer than you realise. Perhaps it’s the more obvious things like a loving partner, family, friends, and good health, or just having enough to pay the rent, food and a roof over your head. So many of us take these basics for granted when they are not readily available to everyone, so take a few minutes each day to be thankful for those things you already have.
The deeper we go into the question of what we have to be thankful for, the more universal the answers become. Have you ever thanked life for your body and your mind? Have you ever thanked life for the world we live in, for the planet which supports and sustains you or the atmosphere which makes it possible for you to live and breathe? Have you ever looked up at the stars at night or a stunning sunset and said thank you? Without the abundance of nature here on our planet, human life would be impossible. Did you know it takes about eight adult trees to create the oxygen you need every single day? So say thank you to the trees, you owe them big time.
Here’s a simple exercise for you to try. On a sunny day
-Go into a garden or your local park and remove your shoes.
– Close your eyes and take a few slow gentle paces.
– Feel how safe and supported you are by the ground beneath you.
– Feel the connection of your feet with the Earth and the expansion of your lungs as they fill with fresh air. It’s all free! How very lucky you are. This is a divine gift, an earthly treasure we so often overlook or take for granted. Say thank you to the earth, the plants, and the trees that are all part of the amazing symbioses at work on our magical planet.
You can practice thankfulness inside your home too. When you look in the bathroom mirror, say a big thank you to life for your eyes, your teeth, your hair, your eyebrows, and your nose whatever you consider you have to be thankful for. This is not an exercise in vanity or desiring perfection, but in appreciating what you have. As these are all parts of you, then being regularly thankful becomes a powerful tool of acceptance, wellbeing and transformation. Be gentle and kind and love yourself for what and who you are.
While I was writing this article, a close friend revealed to me he has a very aggressive form of cancer, and he will have to undergo major surgery. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are ongoing, and the surgeon will begin working on him by removing his nose in order to remove as much cancer as possible. He will be in hospital for months and plastic surgery will only begin the following year if the cancer is under control. Now, do you see what I’m getting at? If you have an imperfect nose (as most of us do) – just be thankful you for what you have.
Say thank you to people around you, your family and friends, communicate with those you love and appreciate by saying a little ‘THANK YOU’. If you can do this in person, it is so much more impactful than a text or call. And the result is mutually beneficial, for you will feel good about yourself for following the natural code of your Soul. When you give authentically and transparently, you gain so much more than you realise. When you act in harmony with the wisdom of your Soul, you remember who you really are.
When you appreciate someone authentically by saying thank you, then the giving is naturally reciprocated, so that both parties feel they feel an enhanced sense of being. When you give in this way, you are not simply giving something away, but sharing the essence of what we all are. When you give openly, honestly and in an emotionally balanced way, the receiver and the giver both receive a real sense of nourishment and expansion.
So say thank you to life, take the time to say thank you to those you love, and directly communicate your appreciation and gratitude to those around you (when it’s genuine and appropriate), for then your life will become filled with an expanding sense of peace, love and gratitude. And that is when the strange, wonderful and magical take place……
J.M. Harrison (Jonathan) is a MoreToLife Elder, Spiritual Mentor and Award Winning Author who began writing following a mystical death experience in 2007. He has taught alongside Barbara Marx-Hubbard, Esther Hicks, Caroline Muir, Lynn Andrews, Dr. Bruce Lipton and others.