Gratitude is something that I try to cultivate on a daily basis, especially in my yoga practice and in my practice as a kinesiologist. It is often said that through the mindfulness practice of gratitude, one is able to rejoice amidst all life’s suffering.
The Buddha taught that every human birth is precious and worthy of gratitude. In one of his well-known analogies, he said that receiving a human birth is more rare than the chance that a blind turtle floating in the ocean would stick its head through a small hoop.
The practice of gratitude does not deny the challenges we face everyday, especially as we live in troubling times, and so many of us have experienced many challenges, uncertainties, and disappointments in our life.
I recently read an article by Phillip Moffitt who says that ‘having access to the joy and wonderment of life is the antidote to feelings of scarcity and loss. It allows you to meet life’s difficulties with an open heart.
The understanding you gain from practicing gratitude frees you from being lost or identified with either the negative or the positive aspects of life, letting you simply meet life in each moment as it rises’.
It’s a similar concept that is touched upon in Kundalini Yoga where we are taught the theory of our 3 minds. We have our positive mind, our negative mind and then we have our neutral mind. Do we need them all? Absolutely.
Our positive mind is the creative and adventurous side to our personality that helps us see the brightness in life. Our negative mind warns us of impending danger or alerts us to the lack of synergy in our environment so that we are protected.
Our neutral mind however is just that. Neutral. Neither emotional or analytical. It assesses the situation by being still and quiet, and taking both the negative and positive mind into consideration before making an informed decision that is mindful.
Coming from a neutral perspective means that we don’t define things in a way that is either good or bad. Things just are. Stuff simply happens. It’s not what happens to us that defines us – its how we chose to deal with it that develops our character.
I stumbled on a website called http://thxthxthx.com/ recently, and the concept of it reminds me of a 21st Century Pollyanna who is actually a creative director and writer at an advertising agency.
Leah Dieterich’s mother always told her to write thank you notes. So she does. To everything. thxthxthx is her daily exercise in gratitude. This is an example of one of her notes.
It inspired me to write one recently when my bag along with my phone and wallet were stolen 2 weeks ago. I incurred the first world problem of having to replace everything in a small space of time, and despite the challenges the incident brought up, the overall lesson was a beautiful one.