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Gratitude

 

Gratitude requires a certain type of endurance.

It takes patience—especially with ourselves. It’s an intentional habit, crafted over time, that enables us to see things, people, places, and circumstances properly, keeping our perspective fresh and our goals and ambitions all the more attainable. Monks know that gratitude is the foundation to a meaningful and happy life.

Initially, gratitude can feel unnatural, and a bit unsettling. 

We might think: how can we be grateful when reality falls so short from our expectations? We might wonder: what if gratefulness is merely a mental sugar pill? A trick, hindering our progress and making us complacent?

These doubts are natural, but often, they are the result of fear clouding our vision. 

What we focus on tends to grow. And when we choose to celebrate what’s in our life, instead of focusing on inadequacies fueled by fear, we begin to notice the goodness that can be discovered in everything. We see opportunities in challenges. We see hope in disappointment. We see joy, and in turn, we experience joy. 

This is not oblivious naivety. Some kind of suffering is always inevitable. But, through gratitude, we each have the opportunity to see the creative element hidden within the pain and disappointment in our lives.

Gratitude is a mindset that leads us to freedom, allowing us to see the beauty all around us. When we lead with gratitude, we allow the layers of our fears to slowly peel away, pushing us to be fully present, fully ourselves, and fully alive.

WAYS TO INCORPORATE THIS PRACTICE

THEMES 

Humility • Acceptance • Let Go • Choose Joy 

HABITS 

Write down three things you’re grateful for everyday for thirty days. There’s just one rule: do not repeat anything you’ve previously written. 

Everyday, when you wake up, let the first words that come out of your mouth be thank you. Repeat this practice again right before you go to bed. 

Every time you eat a meal, take 30 seconds to consider and express gratitude for all the people who contributed to that meal, from the farmers, to the truckers, to the cooks. 

“Through gratitude, we each have the opportunity to see the creative element hidden within the pain and disappointment in our lives.”

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