Awareness of God's Presence

Gratitude and Gratefulness Doorway

I intentionally put gratitude first in the list of doorways.

Practicing gratitude can naturally move your consciousness to your heart. It can melt the protectiveness of ego and provide a personal, real and heart-felt perspective on your life. It does not rely upon any set of beliefs, but simply requires that you take a little time to give the practice of gratitude a good try.

Everyday ego functioning has a way of glossing over what is good in our lives. The practice of gratitude and gratefulness is a way of finding and cultivating and giving due appreciation for that good.

Here are some practical ideas for developing gratitude that I read today and that I want to share with you. They come from Raymond Dougherty, Spiritual Care director for Kaiser Permanente in Marin and Sonoma counties of Northern California:

How do you get started?

Research shows that there is power in writing down the things we are grateful for. At all my (Dougherty’s) presentations, I pass out small blank journals and we start right there on the spot. I can feel energy in the room change as everyone writes a few things they are grateful for, people are softly smiling as they write, breathing deeper and easier, relaxing just a bit. It’s remarkable to experience.

It’s recommended that you practice around the same time every day. Some people do it first thing in the morning; others do it at night before falling asleep, to help them let go of the burdens of the day. You can use a paper and pen, a smartphone app, or you can start a file on your computer.

How do you keep this practice going strong?

Be specific and detailed in your gratitude. Instead of writing ‘I am grateful for my job,’ you might write about a specific aspect of your work that you are grateful for today. Surprise and novelty increase gratitude, so also include bad things that you feared but did not happen or when someone does a small, unexpected act of kindness for you. You’ll notice that if you take the time to write down what you’re thankful for, then being grateful will naturally begin to spill into your day, and into your other activities and your relationships.

I like to remind people that you don’t have to feel grateful to be grateful. Research shows that the people who feel the least grateful or happy before doing a gratitude practice actually benefit the most. So don’t wait until you feel warm and fuzzy, jump in any time!

1 https://lookinside.kaiserpermanente.org/practicing-gratitude/


 

 

This page was added October 13, 2017.

 

 

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