What Is An “Attitude of Gratitude”?
Gratitude is a feeling, it’s an attitude, and it can’t be forced or manipulated.
It’s fine to do gratitude lists, they do affect perspective and experience, but if it’s only on a thought level it’s not going to do anything else but maybe help you feel “good” (or better) right then and there.
And to just repeatedly write things you’re “suppose” to be grateful for in order to please a God so that he will give you your desires is futile and spiritually immature.
Some people even strain to “feel grateful” for something difficult or challenging in their lives without really going beyond the level of thought.
By viewing any challenge from a ego perspective and ‘give thanks’ for the challenge only leads to a sense of repression (as in “I’m suppose to feel grateful for my misery”-type of attitude) and that kind of perspective never opens a person up to look deeper into the real meaning behind things that happen in life.
Thinking that the challenge itself is something they should feel grateful for only brings suffering and frustration, a sense of inferiority and littleness.
If someone can’t actually see the higher view of things, then gratitude is not authentic and to put on a smile pretending you’re not frustrated or angry is unhealthy and will only lead to more frustration.
Gratitude is a natural outcome when we see things through the eyes of our true self.
There is no God that will get disturbed if you’re not grateful and it doesn’t make any difference to the universe (it doesn’t need your forced praise), but it does a difference to you, because it changes you.
Gratitude is spontaneous and should not be forced or strained as if to please someone (usually “God”) outside of yourself.
It should not make you feel repressed or resigned – Gratitude is a “happy feeling”, but sometimes people forget that.
“You should be grateful for what you have” is something many of us have heard at some point in our lives but that kind of thankfulness is not lifting up our spirit – it’s making us feel small and repressed, like we should not want a different kind of experience and that we should settle and “be happy with what we have”.
That’s not gratitude.
Gratitude is about being in the center of awareness of a higher view, it’s a power that lifts our spirit, it’s about having a grateful heart and not simply giving expressions of emotionless thanksgiving. (Accompanied with a sense of resignation).
I know that many people read and learn a lot (intellectually) about spirituality but not many people actually implement the things they learn and read about.
It’s great to learn and grow intellectually, but wisdom comes from living and doing/experience and not from what we fill our heads with.
This posting is an example; those who actually did what is suggested felt the wonderful feeling and experienced the flow of love, while those who merely read it and thought that ‘yeah, that’s a nice thing to do’, but didn’t actually do it, they didn’t get the experience and thus nothing changed within them.
But to actually do and feel and not just vaguely think about people to “send love to”, that’s what it means to get into the spirit of it. (That goes with everything in life, if our heart is not in it it’s dull and lifeless).
It’s a wonderful experience to actually do this and not only read and vaguely think that ‘yeah, I’m beaming love to mom now, beam beam’, and then in the next second go and do the dishes or something. There is no power in that at all.
Actually do. Feel.
It’s the same when praying for someone; check with yourself if you’re actually praying for them or just mumbling or repeating some words for yourself thinking that now you’re praying.
It’s all about getting into the spirit of it and to do that we actually have to feel and not merely write lists of things we’re grateful for, or create prayer-lists or whatever, because it rarely invokes any authentic feelings of gratitude or love at all when we’re only doing things on a surface level – or merely intellectually.
Some may say that their situation makes it impossible for them to be grateful, and if that’s really how you feel, then okay – lets look at that too from a deeper level of being.
We can always voice the desire within ourselves that we want to be grateful, that we want to have the spirit of gratitude.
I believe that there’s so much power in our willingness, even if we think we can’t do something, our willingness and desire to move towards a higher perspective opens up our hearts and minds to experience that something that we think we can’t.
Here’s something you can do;
Invoke the spirit of gratitude right now; close your eyes and feel gratitude.
Not for anything special ‘out there’, but the feeling of gratitude for its own sake.
Don’t pay any attention to thoughts like “I would be grateful is I just had ______) and don’t try to invoke the feeling by trying to think of something to be grateful for, but simply tune into the feeling of gratitude itself.
Do it now.
Close your eyes and feel gratitude.
This is what I mean by actually doing.
If you had only read what I wrote but not done it, you would not have felt gratitude as you just did.
And you didn’t need anything from the outside to ‘make you feel grateful’.
You came into alignment with the spirit of gratitude within you by allowing it and desiring it – and that’s something we all have within us.
It’s natural for us to feel gratitude, it’s in our nature, but we have become blinded by so many things on the outside that we think only those things (a job, more money, a better partner, etc) will give us the feeling, but that’s not how it is at all.
Things work so much better in life when we’re in touch with the spirit of gratitude, it’s a wonderful way to live.
Life feels like a blessing in itself and becomes so much more enjoyable.
And now when were in the mood, we might as well bless our lives right now!
Get into the spirit and really feel the words as you say something like:
“I don’t care how things might look at the moment; I bless what I have, I bless my life, my work, my home, my food, the money I have, the weather, my co-workers, my mom, sister, brother, dog, friends and neighbors, I bless them all – everything within me and around me I bless!“
Can you feel how it lightens things up within yourself when you do this? It’s like a light has been switched on inside.
This does not change the situation but it changes you and then the situation changes too.
So you’re not trying to influence something to change, but you’re willing and open to transform and change yourself, so there’s no ‘fake it til you make it’ type of energy to this at all.
There’s no trying to be grateful but actually feeling grateful without any particular reason to feel thanksgiving.
It changes you, your consciousness.
Love wells up inside you and when we bless other people and wish them well it definitely changes our perspective of them too.
It might even surprise you what you come to see in people when you’re in the spirit of love because all people has that something within them that is lovable and that’s what we connect with when we bless them.
Love is always an open and giving kind of energy; as we give we receive, but we don’t give in order to receive.
If we only give so we can receive we have not really given anything at all. What we have done is that we have been manipulative and dishonest.
The same with gratitude. It has to be authentic, it has to be a true expression that comes from our heart.
I love waking up in the morning and hearing the birds wake up, and every morning when I wake up and I open the door I just can’t get enough of the fragrance, it’s very special and I have never lived anywhere where the air has smelled so good, and it does so especially in the morning when the sun has not yet risen.
I just stand there for a few moments and breathe it all in and it’s so wonderful.
It smells of fresh flowers and some kind of tree (maybe eucalyptus?) and every time I open the door and let that in I’m filled with such gratitude that I can’t even explain it in words.
And it’s not only because of where I live.
I had the same feelings when I lived in Scandinavia, I remember in the fall for example when the mornings began to be really crispy and cold and how special that was.
I can even feel the feeling of gratitude as I write this and my eyes are tearing up.
It’s about celebrating and appreciating life itself and all that it has for us. (Both the seen and the not yet seen; visible/invisible).
What we live is an expression of what (and where) we are in consciousness and it’s not determined by the things we have or don’t have.
To use that example;
If someone is miserable and can’t see any beauty at all in life and is desperate to find a way out of that misery, then that person might think that “I have heard that if you’re grateful then you will be happy, so I’ll write a gratitude list!”.
And they begin to write down a few things;
“I’m grateful that …” and “I’m grateful for …” etc.
And they might even include some desires or affirmations in there as well such as;
“I’m so grateful that I’m now a millionaire”. (Or whatever).
But they don’t really feel it (they actually only reinforce the very thing they don’t want), they just think that that’s a technique that will make them feel better.
And it might cause a temporary relief, but to try to change something on a level of thinking is not going to help in the long run.
When we see things from a higher perspective then there’s a natural attitude of gratitude, and to get a higher perspective we need spiritual understanding.
It’s great to realize that you need a grateful heart, but to mindlessly write lists of things you’re straining to be grateful for is not going to help much, it actually more or less only points out the things you’re not so grateful for.. it basically only makes you more conscious of the things you’re not really liking in your life.
It’s better to look at your apparent challenge (maybe even write it down) and ask yourself “what’s positive/good about this?” and then write down whatever comes up.
Then the answers come from a place of authenticity and honesty and there’s a willingness (there’s that magical word again) to see things from a different perspective.
Where there seem to be lack in one area of life (if you’re unemployed for example) a change of perspective might point out that “hey, I actually have more free time than most people and I am free to use it on things that really matters to me”.
Then there can be true and authentic gratitude.
“I’m truly blessed because I have time to pursue that which is of importance to me”.
And then of course use your ability to choose according to your values instead of wasting it on mindless things such as TV or chatting with people about nothing on Facebook and so forth.
Then as you go in the direction of what you actually like and value then there’s suddenly plenty of things to feel true gratitude for.
Don’t fool yourself by pretending to be grateful (that’s just being dishonest with yourself) and don’t rob yourself of the pleasure of seeing the beauty of life that is present right now – it only takes a change of perspective.
The situation might be the same (that you’re unemployed) but your attitude has changed and that in turn will bring you things to be grateful for – because now you can see them.
And new ways open up for you by the change of attitude which in turn can lead you to the perfect job or even a whole new and exciting career for yourself.
Gratitude is not for something, but from a higher level of consciousness (it comes from within and not from what you have or have not on the outside) and it can come about by a correction of your mental state and attitude.
We can curse or we can bless.
We can curse what we don’t (seem to) have and focus on that, or we can turn around and bless what we do have and live from that perspective instead.
Again, the situation stays as it is (for the moment) and anyone with a little bit of logical sense can see in what direction it can unfold depending on our attitude towards it.
I know that anyone can be forever changed when we allow the spirit of gratitude grow in our hearts.
I just took these pictures of some flowers from the area where I live:)
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