I came across this term – ‘gratefulness’ a couple of years back when I was going through a rough patch in my own life. I could never really fully understand it until very recently.
Gratefulness is a practice of expressing gratitude for everything that you have in your life.
Surprisingly, we as human beings are extremely quick to blame people, circumstances or even the universe for all our troubles. We don’t even spare ourselves.
There is no range of such problems or things we blame for. It may be a missed meal, or a missed flight or anything else. We always have someone or other to blame.
I remember reading somewhere that the people who were not killed in the World Trade Center incident were only saved by such tiniest of problems. Someone missed their train to work or someone’s shoe lace opened and he stopped to tie it. Things like these happen in everyday life.
The question arises that why cannot we think for a moment that maybe all these problems or struggles are for our own good. Also, why do we focus so much on one problem that we forget about everything else that we have.
If Einstein’s mother would’ve believed his school teacher and disregarded the boy as dumb, the world would have missed on a great scientist as well as the discoveries associated with him.
In yoga, there is a practice called ‘Aparigraha’ or ‘Detached Attachment’. As per this practice, one should be emotionally involved and yet detached enough to have a perspective. An example would be a loved one in hospital. If the family members only remain emotional and start crying and cursing their lives instead of taking the required steps for the treatment, we can well imagine what will happen.
In a similar manner, rather than thinking ‘why me’, we should focus on the other things that we have in our life which we love and are positive. We need to be able to open our heart to the situation at hand. For example, if one is extremely sick, he/she can still be thankful for the support of friends and family (even pets) while fighting with the disease. Or if one is struggling with an emotional issue, he/she can still grateful for their physical health.
The idea is to be able to find something on a daily basis to love and be grateful about and express it. ‘What goes around, comes around’. If you thank enough for all that you have, you’ll have more things to be thankful for on a daily basis.
How to develop a gratefulness practice:
1. Write a journal: writing helps clarifying the thoughts and you can start with writing about things you like in your life. It can be as simple as the sunlight you are receiving today (it may sound funny but there are many people who crave sunlight).
2. Develop a habit of being grateful for at least 3 things as soon as you wake up and before going to bed at nigh -one of them could be as simple as being alive.
3. Practice mindfulness. The more you are ‘aware’ of your surroundings, the more responsive you would be. Simple things like food, clean air to breathe and water to drink are privileges in some parts of the world.
I hope this article stimulates you brain cells and lets you look at life from a different perspective. Be thankful that you are able to read this even if you didn’t like it. Many can’t.
Dedicated to my dear friend – Upasana Tripathi. Get well soon darling.
Stay fit. Stay gentle. Live consciously.