Photo by Tim Bogdanov
Gratitude. The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Having gratitude is the foundation of good life choices. It calms our expectations and allows us to see the good in most situations. Ambitiously striving to build a better future is an evolutionary trait we all possess. However, gratitude for what we have, savoring the gifts that come our way, frees us from the bondage of always wanting more, or wanting something we perceive as “better” than what we have right now. Celebrating what we have now, rather than waiting for the next level of accomplishment, enables us to be more gracious throughout the turbulent and uncertain moments of life. There are no secrets to a happy life, but it begins with being grateful for the harvest of the present moment. The conditions we are afforded here in North America could always be worse, as it is for many around the world who are not as privileged as we are. The little things we take for granted here are often considered a treasure to others who would love to trade places with us.
No one can escape the grounding reality of the present moment. The truth of the present moment is all there is, and it’s our choice to receive its lessons, fruits, or burdens gracefully, with gratitude, or begrudgingly accept with resentment. Gratitude paves the way for receiving the lessons and gifts of life that will take us further into our unique path, bringing out the greatest version of ourselves. Often, we are our worst enemies, focusing on all that isn’t going well in our lives, building obstacles to our personal development.
Photo by Jake Blucker
We can only step forward into the future as far as our heart will allow. When the heart is closed off from the source of our creative abilities, we weaken our capacity to create and chose the life we want. The present moment is where any possibility can occur. Our mind, which works with the heart, can be a distraction to the gift of the present moment. Gratitude is the springboard that launches one into a higher state of consciousness, where lower states of mind cannot disturb what is manifesting and evolving in the present moment. Gratitude, underrated, and taken for granted, the lack of it, no matter how difficult the situation, can lead to an even more detrimental circumstance. To be grateful is to be at peace with the universal laws that brought one’s set of circumstances into being. Without an appreciation and understanding of the learned causal factors, one cannot move forward and navigate swiftly. When we miss the mark on our expectations, we forget that the final outcome could have been worse. We forget about all that we’ve taken for granted, and that which is vital to our current level of comfort in the here and now.
All is energy and vibration, from thoughts to physical forms. The future unfolds from the reality that is before it. When our reality is clouded by desire and/or lack of appreciation, it sets the tone for the following vibration that will manifest from that moment. It’s easier said than done, but developing gratitude begins with letting go of judging a situation as good or bad and instead staying neutral, and having a conscious awareness of the benefits received from our everyday comforts that are taken for granted. It also helps to understand the situation of those who have it worse than you. Having gratitude for not being in the same circumstance will most certainly shed light on that which you under-appreciate.
Gratitude is derived from the Latin word “Gratus”, meaning, beloved, dear, pleasing. That which we love and pleases us, such as friends, family, and material objects of desire, inspire gratitude when we acquire or connect with them. Yet, after becoming used to them, we take them for granted and our appreciation for them dissolves into a lack of presence, brought on by the many distractions of society, as well as the fears, worries, anxieties, and desires of the ego. Even the most fundamental things that keep us alive, like the air, water, food, and shelter, are often taken for granted, yet all of these things are truly very dear to us. Underappreciated, they fall below the threshold of what is beloved and pleasing, yet they are so fundamental to our needs. When gratitude is the center of our thoughts, emotions, and actions, we step into spaces that function only on that vibration. When having arrived in that space, all other vibratory states of mind, below the bar that has been raised by the cultivation of one’s gratitude, will only hold one back and drag one down to the lower realms of being.
“Where the mind goes, energy flows.” Where we spend our time and attention is key to our personal development. Practicing daily gratitude is an essential component of the blossoming of our consciousness. As the flower is grateful to the sun, earth, and water, with no desire other than to grow and evolve. Our consciousness when functioning in the same manner, rooted in gratitude, keeps itself grounded and open to receive light. The seed grows out of darkness, only because it appreciates the dirt that covers it. Whenever we are frustrated with a circumstance, it is best to dissolve those frustrations into a space of gratitude. Focusing on and appreciating what is abundant, rather than what is lacking, is a vital step towards co-creating with the great mystery, the source of the All, the unchallengeable Will of the universe.