Spiritual Transformation Article: Gratitude and Living With Gratefulness
Spiritual Transformation Article: Gratitude and Living With Gratefulness

Gratitude and living with gratefulness

Practicing gratefulness regularly is a really easy way to enhance your own life and the lives of those around you. Gratefulness brings happiness and a deep knowing that life is beautiful.

In this article we share how to practice gratitude—5 easy steps to practice daily gratitude and transform your life.

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What is gratitude / gratefulness?

When we want to know how to practice gratitude, we can begin by understanding what gratefulness is. Being grateful is a sense of appreciating how much we have—when we are not taking our blessings for granted.

When a person has very little but feels they have so much, that is gratefulness. It’s like when a person has only a few coins in their pocket, and they get a free meal, they just feel grateful. They don’t have to practice being grateful in that moment. When food somehow appears so they can fill their tummy, they will automatically be full of gratitude in that moment! 

For a person who has a lot, it can be harder to feel grateful. Because if your belly is always full and then somebody gives you a free meal, it may not mean so much to you.

So when we don’t take things with this feeling of gratefulness, when we don’t see life as such a blessing, it’s generally because we have so much and we take it for granted. We are missing contentment.

If someone gives you something and you receive it without gratitude, who is the one that loses? You! Because gratefulness makes you feel beautiful. It’s very heart-warming, so you feel, “Life is beautiful, I’m so happy.”

Spend time cultivating gratefulness if you want to be happy - happy grateful cockatoo image

Living with gratefulness

To experience the benefits of gratitude, we have to practice gratefulness regularly because it doesn’t come automatically for most of us.

We tend to see ourselves as the body and the mind. For example, we see ourselves in terms ofI’m Vietnamese, I’m Australian, I’m rich, I’m poor, I’m tall, I’m short, I’m fat, I’m skinny.

We generally see ourselves as the body and the mind, and the mind doesn’t know gratitude because gratefulness is of the heart.

If you want to feel gratitude, you have to know how to practice gratitude and you have to work at it. It’s like if you just let the garden go, then the weeds will come and take over the whole garden. In the same way, if you just let yourself go, just let your life be, then you won’t have any gratitude. So, gratitude is a good thing but you have to work at it.

You have to remind yourself every day, “How lucky I am! How lucky I am to be alive, how lucky I am to love life, how lucky I am to have an organic veggie garden, how lucky I am to have children, how lucky I am to have pets to live with, how lucky I am to have a job.” Or, “How lucky I am to not have a job.” Either way, there’s a feeling of thankfulness.

So it takes effort to feel how lucky you are, and if you’re looking for ideas on how to practice gratitude, here are our top 5 daily gratitude practices.

How to Practice Gratitude: Our Top 5 Practices

#1 — 30-second morning contemplation with gratitude

Morning contemplation is a great way to develop a habit of daily gratitude.

When you first wake up each morning, before you do anything, for at least 30 seconds do this morning contemplation:

  • Remind yourself how lucky you are.
  • Don’t wait to see how you feel that morning, because you’re not going to feel goodyou’re going to feel groggy and tired!
  • Just decide that, “I’m going to give it everything I’ve got, to make this day a beautiful day. I’m going to be kind to everyone I meet. I’m going to be gentle and sweet to everyone, even if they hate me. I love my life and I look forward to today.”

Every day, before you get out of bed, remind yourself like this. It’s a great way to start the day, to protect against the ‘weeds’ of negative thoughts.

#2 — Switch off your mind

Gratefulness is of the heart, so anything that helps to switch off your mind will tap into the gratefulness of your heart.

Practice meditation and mindfulness so you can be in the present moment, which is exactly where the heart is. When you are in the heart, gratitude will arise naturally. And not only that—living in the present moment will actually benefit every aspect of your life, from health to relationships to success in business.

If you aren’t able to control your mind, your thoughts will tell you that, “Oh, I’ve got nothing worth living for.” That’s one thought, and then it triggers another thought, “I’ve got no one around me, I’m lonely.” And then another thought, “I’m not sure I can pay the rent this week.” There is just one thought after another, and before you know it your daily gratitude practice is out the window.

So switching off your mind is critical in learning how to practice gratitude.

If you’d like help with your meditation practice, try these healing guided meditations with beautiful nature sounds and energy healing infusions.

#3 — Mealtime gratitude practice

Try practicing gratitude at mealtimes. This is easier when you are eating alone or eating with someone who wants to do the same.

Here’s how to practice gratitude at mealtimes: just notice things to be thankful for as you eat. It’s that easy! 

You might be grateful for the taste of the food and the nutritious ingredients you see in the meal. You can feel gratitude for the sun and the earth that provided the food, and the many people involved in the growing and transporting of the food.

Then you might notice the sound of a bird or a dog in the background, and you can feel grateful for animals. You can be mindful of the people you are with or the people you are not with, and you can feel grateful for them, for how they love you or how they challenge you.

The possibilities are endless for how to practice gratitude in this way and it’s a great way to develop a habit of daily gratitude.

#4 —  Practice kindness and selflessness

When you are kind and giving to others this connects you with your heart, that fountain of gratefulness. Nobody escapes challenges in life, but as long as there is love in our heart the challenges become a delight to encounter and gratefulness can arise.

So, the fourth tip for how to practice gratitude is to practice kindness and selflessness, or to cultivate love. This is perhaps the most powerful spiritual practice you can do, as well as being the easiest.

When we serve others, it awakens the remembrance of our true nature—which is love and compassion. When we help others selflessly, we begin to lose our ego. We dwell more within the heart and less in the mind and thoughts.

Do kind deeds for others whenever the opportunity arises. The kind deeds don’t need to be grand, but can be as simple as standing on a bus to let an elderly person take a seat, helping a stranger carry their shopping, or interacting kindly with the staff at the supermarket. This then becomes a daily gratitude practice, bringing joy to yourself and others.

Truly the secret to bringing joy into our lives is to bring joy to the lives of others.

#5 —  Find inspiration

To progress in any field, you need inspiration. If progress is a car, then inspiration is the wheels. Without the wheels, the car is not going to move forward. So if you’re struggling with daily gratitude, find inspiration that makes you feel that life is beautiful.

We are like sponges—whatever we witness, we soak in, and that will become our experience. Try to witness kindness and compassion and love in action. Spend time with people who are happy and grateful, and spend time in places that nurture your spirit.

Watch movies or documentaries that show people who are innocent, heroic, honest, honourable, peaceful and loving. Read inspiring quotes and read blogs about love, peace and overcoming challenges. Learn how to connect with your inherent divine power.

All these things will inspire your heart and encourage feelings of gratefulness to arise.

Penguins loving life, grateful together

Can we feel grateful when we are suffering?

Yes! And gratefulness will actually help you to face your suffering from a different perspective. If you can practice daily gratitude amidst suffering, you will experience a life of happiness and beauty.

Let me share something with you—in this world, no human being became a great, beautiful human being when their life was just easy, with no suffering.

It is the suffering in life that makes us more real, and helps us to develop courage to just be ourselves—it doesn’t matter if the whole world doesn’t like the way we are. We might be financially poor, we may not be educated, we might have a resume that shows nothing but failures, but we don’t hide that, we don’t cover it up. We’re just comfortable as we are.

Suffering will make you tired of pretending—you haven’t got any more energy for acting and you don’t feel comfortable acting. It will destroy all your pretension, your acting, your bluffing, and it leaves a grounded person, a fearless person.

And suffering can actually help you to feel more grateful.

It was only through the suffering in my life that I came to love humanity. My mother died when I was three years old. My father was a fisherman who went out to sea working, so I hardly saw him. I spent a year as a child in a refugee camp in Malaysia, then came to a new county with nothing in my pocket. I lived a life of financial poverty—always just enough to eat, to survive, but financially poor. And it made me love people. When somebody gives me one little thing, I feel, “Wow, what beautiful kindness.”

Because of my suffering, I was grateful for even the little that we did have. I remember feeling so grateful when I was eating my first Big Mac and vanilla milkshake in Australia. The others eating there at McDonald’s were acting like it was nothing special, but I just wanted to eat and drink really slowly so it didn’t finish quickly! I was so grateful.

So we should embrace suffering, we should not be afraid of it. To go through this life trying to avoid suffering—that is not the way to live. Because nobody can escape the events and circumstances that can cause suffering in this world.

It’s up to us to decide if we let the suffering turn us into something beautiful or into something bitter. But suffering certainly has the potential to make us real, make us down-to-earth, make us grounded, make us transparent, make us gentle, make us humble, make us strong—make us happy.

Summary

Gratefulness is a great tool to enhance your life—daily gratitude is like medicine for the heart and soul, bringing more and more happiness and wellbeing. Even if you are going through hardship, you can find things to be grateful for, and practicing this will transform your life.

There are many easy things we can do to practice daily gratitude, and here we’ve shared our top 5. Use these practices and enjoy the immense benefits in your life!

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