Gratitude is oftentimes a overlooked aspect of the human experience. Simple gratitude towards life.
What does that mean?
Do you just go around saying thank you to existence? It could very well mean that, in fact, that is the mantra which the non-dual master Mooji sometimes prescribes for seekers of truth.
Gratitude can mean many things, or put in another way, you could be grateful for a lot of things in life, especially when you take a moment to stop and consider them. Some of these things that would initially seem counterintuitive to be grateful about, like for example negative things, painful occurrences, moments of sorrow and grief, could nonetheless become objects deserving of gratitude.
With that being said, if you’re feeling stressed out, anxious or a little bit on the depressed side, here is an exercise that I’ve used many times to relieve myself from these states.
It goes something like this:
An exercise in gratitude
- Find a place you can sit, stand or lie down comfortably.
- Become aware of your body and the waves of breath coming in and going out.
- Proceed then by taking a moment to contemplate on those things that you are most grateful for. (It could be anything really)
- Become aware of the energetic changes (feelings, mood, grace) that take place in your mind.
- Stay present.
- Finish off with three deep breaths and a concluding thought of gratitude towards the whole experience.
A couple of remarks on the exercise
One thing you can think about is casual stuff that you’re perhaps taking for granted, these are definitely things that could be objects of your gratitude. In fact when this exercise is done “properly”, its most often the little things in life that one ends up being thankful for.
For example I find myself end up thanking life for the availability of fresh drinking water and a decent healthy meal to keep my body healthy and strong. When you consider these simple things and show gratitude towards them, negative energies like stress, anxiety and depressive feelings/thoughts tend to dissipate into oblivion. At least they have shown to do so in my experience.
Another thing to mention that I’ve found quite fascinating is that when this exercise is done earnestly it can in time contribute to an expanded sense of gratitude, not only for immediate things like having a family, friends, water and food but possibly also things that seem more remote to your immediate experience. Heck, I’ve found myself being grateful for having the chance to see mountains from a distance or the stars at night or the crescent moon shyly gleaming down at me.
In other words you’ll find plenty of things, if not most things, to be grateful for the more you practice the art of being thankful.
This is indeed the goal.
Thank you mantra
While we’re on the topic of exercises in gratitude I thought it would be worth it to mention Mooji again, whom I briefly touched upon in the introduction and his so called “thank you mantra”. This same mantra which he considers to be the best mantra that he would prescribe to any individual wishing for a deeper sense of fulfilment and joy.
How to do it
Easy. Simply sit, lie down or walk around saying the words “thank you” in your preferred language. You don’t need something specific to thank as you can direct your thanks to existence itself. You’d be surprised what serenity may come over your mind when doing this simple exercise.
Another thing about the thank you mantra is that it can’t be enacted by arrogant individuals. I say again, an arrogant person cannot perform this mantra without in some real sense losing a sizeable chunk of that arrogance. In other words the mantra not only brings relief to your busy mind but also has the power to dispel arrogance in your heart.
My own experiences of gratitude
I remember the time just before I left my apartment in Gotland, Sweden. It was an intense experience of gratitude towards that place because I had realized that it had been a sort of modern cave which I had used to retire to in order to sort out personal discrepancies, problems while simultaneously growing wiser in a spiritual sense.
Even though I was on the island for 9 months to study the liberal arts, I ended up spending most of my time there in deep meditations for many hours at time.
I was almost obsessed with finding something stable in my consciousness, having realized that all things are subject to change and transformation, for good or for worse.
I ended up finding that which I was looking for, or rather found where I was looking from as St Francis would put it.
When the time had arrived to move back to Stockholm, I spent the last couple minutes walking around in my apartment on the island with prayer hands uttering the words: Thank you, thank you…
Gratitude is not to be underestimated. It could be used as a way to find relief from stress, anxiety or depression just as well as a powerful spiritual tool for deeper explorations of consciousness.
Do you have any experiences with conscious gratitude? If so feel free to share your own experiences below!
Daniel Seeker is a wandering dervish and lifelong student of the past, present and future. He realized deep relaxations of the psyche when meditating in his hermit cave on the island of Gotland. His writings are mostly a reflection of that realizaton. Daniel currently studies history and philosophy at Uppsala Universitet, as he is currently writing his B.A. thesis in history which explores how Buddhist and Hindu texts were first properly translated and introduced to the western world in the late 18th and 19th century.