“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein
Gratitude is not a thought. You can’t think yourself into being thankful. Gratitude is a conscious feeling and knowing in our breath, nervous system, and whole being.
Gratitude is said to be not only the greatest of the virtues, but the parent of all others, which empowers us by reminding us to focus on the things that we do have. Patanjali wrote that santosha (contentment, or appreciation for what you have) leads to unexcelled joy, while other yogic texts say that this sense of appreciation is the “supreme joy” that naturally leads to the realization of the Absolute.
Gratitude has been said to have one of the strongest links with mental health of any character trait. Numerous studies suggest that grateful people are more likely to have higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress and depression not only for the individual but for all people involved.
Thankfully, through our yoga practice we can learn to cultivate deep gratitude. The mindful cultivation of gratitude is an extremely potent form of mindfulness practice, especially for those students who tend to look at their glass as half empty, which many people do. Human beings seem to be programmed to notice what goes wrong more often than what goes right.
Many people have come to equate gratitude with obligation. Gratitude is not the same as indebtedness.
Gratitude for what we have, even if it is not necessarily what we want, opens space for us to attract more of what we soulfully want to us.
You, with all of your imperfections, have been chosen for this opportunity to consciously participate in the symphony of life, to know it for what it is. This conscious life is a gift for which the highest form of gratitude is to know it in all its depths.
Make a commitment to share your gratitudes on the mat with us at Wilmington Yoga Center in any of our extended practices on Thanksgiving and the days following!
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