Meditation on Gratitude – Why it is so Important
The daily rapid vibrations from our fast-paced and sometimes dangerous world may impact us in ways that make unhealthy norms of being. The struggle to feel good enough, to have enough, to be somebody, to keep up with the raging ads about what you need NOW and WHY you need it NOW all stimulate our over-active/reactive minds. Limbic dominance is a very real thing in today’s stressed-out and material survival mindset. Such “craziness” and common greed also impact us by diminishing our true self’s position in the world, at home and at work. The promises of HELP via technological advances have failed to make life easier, and – in fact – make our identity and property up for grabs by the next and the next criminal hacker. Technology has if anything simply speeded up what we are expected to do. Often it adds to our daily stress levels. Such insecurity challenges us for much of the working day. Some of us place 100% of our energies into helping others is systems that are also NOT-SO-HEALTHY, thus having little emotional power to engage in positive ways once the work day is over. Daily mindfulness, meditation, walking meditation, and yoga may help you improve emotional status – even making you happier and feeling safer. One form of meditation that may be very helpful is meditation on gratitude.
Meditation on Gratitude for Helpers
Since I cannot possibly know about all of you, I apologize up-front if the norms I note below are things that you DO NOT have. If you over-focus on things I note that you do not have, do your best to remain on task in this meditation. Try NOT to make story-lines and images about noted entries that you do not have. As you practice this meditation, if you experience distractions do your best to return attention without evaluation to the suggested tasks at hand. If you experience serious discomfort, please stop the meditation.
- Sit in a chair or lay on the floor. Place yourself into a posture that is comfortable. Close your eyes if ok. Take a few cleansing, long, deep, slow breaths all the way into and out-of the lower belly. (Note polyvagal and limbic cautions.) Simply rest here right now. This in itself is something to have gratitude for.
- Now as you relax, loosen muscles, loosen your jaw, and simply pay strong attention to the flowing of your life-breath. As long as you are breathing, you are ALIVE. Give some gratitude for your breath, the breath that keeps you alive during your entire life.
- Pay some gentle attention to your heart and lungs, which also keep you alive. Experience some gratitude for these tireless life-supports in your body.
- If your vision is ok, be certain to note some inner gratitude for your eyes. The eyes that visually open up the world you inhabit.
- If your hearing functions well, give a brief moment of gratitude to the fact that you can hear what is going on all around you. Another opening!
- If your physical mobility is ok, listen for the sign of gratitude for the fact that your limbs are functioning. Lately, as I age, I have noticed that physical movements I have had gratitude for over the year are even stronger. I am sure that as I age, movements may not be so easy tho achieve.
- You most likely were sleeping in a bed in a house before you came here today. Give some gratitude to that reality.
- You know that you can drink water in Vermont; it is cleaner than in some others areas of the country. You also know that you can breathe relatively clean air here; it is cleaner tan in some other areas of the country.
- I am sure you ate something today, or could have eaten if you wished to do so. Having food to eat is another important thing to have gratitude for.
- You most likely have at least one friend or family relative that you can count on for support when needed. If you have a pet, that pet may be your unconditional support being. If this all fits your reality, take a moment to experience inner gratitude for this experience.
- You can know that you are relatively safe here. Safety in today’s world is something that is more and more rare. So take a moment to feel your inner gratitude for the relative safety you feel right now in your body.
- Last, if you have been fortunate to experience true love with another person (even if you have lost it now), take a moment to hold yourself in gratitude for this loving experience and what it has done/does for you.
Let today be the day you NO LONGER take for granted the many benefits you do have. Cherish them and keep having personal gratitude for them.
By Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont
Author of Mindful Happiness
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