Gratitude: The Essential Key to living in the world our Hearts Know Is Possible.
For those of us to love to enter the kingdom of the imagination and create a vision of what we would really like, it is necessary to involve the whole being, the mind, the senses, the emotions.
It is not enough to just think the thoughts on the surface of our minds because the subconscious mind, which creates the patterns by which we live, will not notice them or live them out.
To impress the subconscious mind, we have to give it the emotional experience of whatever it is we wish to manifest in our lives already being a reality.
The emotions register an imagined experience into the subconscious mind which then creates the patterns by which we live.
Gratitude is one of the most powerful transformative emotions available because through the experience of gratitude, we are saying ‘thank you’ for that which has already been received.
Gratitude registers the imagined experience as already having been received.
Therefore the patterns within the subconscious, which form the design by which life will unfold, are already in place as a blueprint to make the manifestation of the vision inevitable.
Much has been written about the power of gratitude and it is often suggested that we keep a ‘Gratitude Journal’ and list ten things we are grateful for every night before going to sleep.
The purpose of this is to start to create new grooves, channels within the mind to induce the habit of feeling grateful, seeing life with grateful eyes.
This makes it easier to deliberately evoke the emotion of gratitude when we want to use its power for manifestation.
At the most basic level, this practise helps us to move from a potentially ‘down’ mental state , to realising that in fact there are many things around us for which we can feel grateful and feeling grateful feels good!
We don’t have to look far.
We can start with looking within our own bodies. We can look deeply and fully appreciate the wonderful nature of our eyes, the images in front of us that are transmitted to our brains, interpreted by our minds. Or our hands, to fully take in the wonder of the power and precision with which they can move.
Throughout my life, my mum’s mantra has been ‘just keep saying thank you’ and I witnessed again and again the magical transforming nature of gratitiude- especially when everything seems to be going wrong.
To return again and again in surrender to ‘Thank You ‘ and trusting that in some way, this, that is unfolding right now which seems to be so wrong, so bad, inconvienient, scary, can actually be something that is just what I need, something that turns around to have the completely opposite effect to that which we had initially intepreted.
Sometimes, writing a list of ten things we feel grateful for can be quite mechanical and not evoke the emotions at all.
Evoking the feeling of gratitude, and its emotional companions, awe and humility, are what is required.
I invented a practise I call ‘The Travelling Gratitude Practise’ which I find to be very effective in generating the emotional feeling of Gratitude. Awe and humility come too, hand in hand.
I invented this on a journey from my home in France to an event in London.
It is particulary suited to a situation that might be a bit boring, like a long journey or the washing up or hoovering.
Whenever you use it, it will transform this moment of your life.
Here is my travelling example.
I am sitting in a coach driving slowly around unattractive parts of London.
I have already been travelling for six and a half hours.
Two hours to the airport, two hours to wait until take off, one and a half hours of flying time, another hour to get through Gatwick. Then I have to catch a bus.
There is a massive queque of people and for some reason the buses aren’t turning up. Traffic problems in London.
By this time I am tired, and although I am looking forward to my event, I am fed up with travelling .
Sudddenly I remember being at Yashodara Ashram in Cananda where I lived for a year in my twenties.
We had just done a visualisation of an enormous Buddha. Huge, huge, huge. I had climbed onto his lap, and he gave me a gift.
At the end of the visualisation Swami Radananda who was teaching, said ‘So this is how you could use your imagination while you are waiting at a bus stop, or on hold on a telephone call’.
I laughed, realising the possibilities for turning a boring situation into a really fun one.
So traveling slowly through traffic and road works, at last on the final leg of my journey, I applied my imagination and evoked a feeling of gratitude.
An ugly, boring lampost:
I say, ‘Thank you for this lamp post.’
‘Thank you for the material that made it’.
I ponder ‘Where did it come from?’
I think about the people who must have been involved with this boring, ugly lamp post.
The people who got the material out of the earth, those who transported the material to the factory, the people who work in the factory, the people who built the factory, the people who built the machines in the factory!
I think about all their families, each one of these individuals living in their own world, yet intimately connected to those around them
‘Thank you for the people who extracted the material out of the earth’.
I include all their family and colleagues in my thank you, knowing that they are supporting his life .
‘Thank you for this curbstone’.
Where did the material come from?
‘Thank you to those who extracted the elements of it from the earth’.
I imagine again, the intricate relationships that must surround this individual I have pictured and thank them too.
What about the people who transformed the raw materials into the finished product?
What about their families?
‘Thank you for them’.
I imagine wives and children, grandmothers, grandfathers, I imagine their homes, I imagine them there together.
I imagine their neighbours who they see daily.
And inside of their home, their families.
And on and on.
What about the people who transported this concrete curbstone to where it is now, the people who actually put it in place? The people who worked here by the side of the road where I am now in whatever weather, with the traffic going past. ‘Thank you’ I say , ‘for your contribution to this world of today’.
So the journey goes on, I thank as fast as I can every small detail that catches my eye.
I mentally thank the earth, the materials come from the earth, the people involved in the whole process of material extraction, manufacturing, transporting, laying the material in place.
I include all the families of all those involved, their neighbours, and colleagues and their families too.
I think about the food they eat that sustains them all.
Where does it grow? Who grows it, who transports it, who sells it, who prepares it?
The clothes they wear- the same, homes they live in- the same, the cars they drive- the same.
I see how many, many people are all involved with this curbstone and how somewhere, somehow they will connect to me.
I see how the earth, the food, the rain, the sun and the clouds are all intimately connected to this curbstone and I feel awe and wonder at our inter- relatedness how we are all connected creating a web of interaction, known and unknown.
I see how we all contribute to the experience of each other.
As I continue on and on, my awareness of our connection grows exponentially like a web on spreading around the whole earth and out into space, up to the sun.
This mental journey affects my emotional state until I am almost crying with the awesomeness of being part of this picture of life on earth and I feel a deep desire to contribute as best I can. I feel an immense gratitude and compassion for all of us involved here together.
Each one of us in our important lives of serious issues.
I feel a huge sense of connection to other people and the planet, that can be evidenced in the smallest details of this ordinary world when looked at deeply enough.
A boring journey is transformed into an uplifting experience of gratitude, awe and humility.
It is a good journey.
I leave the coach feeling uplifted, kind, compassionate, energised and humbled.
I have enjoyed my experience immensely and eagerly look forward to other opportunities to do it again it. I have gained so much from my traveling gratitude practise.
Much more enjoyable than if I had sat there worrying about the event to come, or resenting the long journey I had already taken.
Really good. So I wanted to share it with you.
This is a way to become emotionally involved with the cultivation of gratitude rather than mechanically involved, and this is the crucial difference.