It is our natural response when we receive something of value.
This acknowledgement occurs in various areas of life:
Mental. We acknowledge that we have received a valuable
object. And we strive to perceive the giver of the object
(although the giver might be an unknown person, or an
inscrutable deity). In contrast, an ungrateful person does not
acknowledge the value nor the giver. Gratitude is primarily an
experience of the emotions, while the mind is
experiencing "appreciation" and "significance."
Emotional. Gratitude is a response of happiness and warmth
when we receive something of value. But the emotion does not
occur only within us; we also seek to evoke that
happiness with the giver -- perhaps by smiling, and saying,
Physical. It is a sense of commitment to give gifts
in return. Gratitude is a bonding among fellow humans in a
world where our material needs are fulfilled by one another.
Spiritual. Gratitude is our childlike thankfulness for the
miracle of life and for the amazing capacity of life to satisfy
our needs. Because we enjoy this flow of life, we are grateful
for the things which we receive, and we are also grateful for
opportunities to give. Gratitude does not occur simply
because we gave or received a material object; instead,
gratitude is ultimately based in the joy of participating in
life. Thus, we can be grateful to someone even if we paid for
the person's service; this gratitude is toward life itself, as
it satisfies our needs through this person. In gratitude, we
transcend the material transaction, to experience spirit
The benefits from
Gratitude generates a pleasant sensation within us. When we
are grateful, we experience happiness, fulfillment, peace of mind,
and a flow of love (which is the literal "flow" of spiritual
substance from us to the other person or object).
Gratitude offers a means by which we can counteract unwanted
psychological states, such as these states:
Greed and envy. Gratitude helps us to achieve emotional
satisfaction in the ownership of our current possessions;
gratitude is a type of "savoring." If we do not achieve
emotional satisfaction with our current possessions, we
futilely try to achieve that satisfaction with the mere
ownership of more possessions; thus, we experience greed
and envy. But we will never feel contentment with regard to our
goods until we savor them, through emotional actions such as
Worry and fear. Gratitude helps us to be more aware of the
many gifts which we receive; therefore, we do not worry as much
about the flow of gifts which will occur in the future. When we
are grateful, we dwell on the present moment, and the goodness
of the past, instead of the uncertainty of the future.
Grief. As we recognize the many gifts which we receive, we
enhance our ability to release the things which have
disappeared from our life, and to turn our attention to the
Vanity. Gratitude reminds us that we do not live alone; we
survive only because we are constantly receiving goods from
people, from nature, and from spirit. We experience humility as
we view the awesome movement of goods into our personal world.
Gratitude helps us to perceive ourselves as a part of a
benevolent system. We become more conscious of the many things
which we receive from other people, from nature, and from other
sources. And we notice the times when we give within
this system. As we pay attention to the giving and receiving,
we realize that we are not alone, but rather that our lives
depend on the perpetual giving of others -- and we might feel a
deeper responsibility to give more of ourselves, to contribute
to the process. Albert Einstein said, "A hundred times every
day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depends on the
labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert
myself in order to give in the measure as I have received and
am still receiving."
Depression. In depression, we have difficulty in seeing the
value in the world around us. Gratitude can minimize the effect
of depression by reinforcing the goodness.
Repression. Repression occurs when we refuse to view
particular conditions because those conditions cause
discomfort. In contrast, gratitude introduces a pleasant
sensation into our experience, so that we allow ourselves to
perceive the conditions, even though the experience is a
mixture of the pleasant and the unpleasant.
Gratitude helps us to see the positive value in circumstances.
In unpleasant circumstances, we can be grateful for an opportunity
to learn a difficult lesson, or to balance a "karmic" condition
(which has been the result of the previously implanted elements in
our archetypal fields). Even if we do not perceive a positive
value in these circumstances, we have faith that life is
ultimately good -- and we are grateful for that goodness. Many
people are unhappy when they pay bills; other people are
happy, because they dwell on their gratitude for the things
which they have purchased.
Gratitude increases the possibility that we will receive more
goodness in our life. We can see this effect upon various aspects
People. When we express gratitude in actions and words
(e.g., "thank you"), people are rewarded for their generosity;
thus, they are more likely to be generous again.
Spirit. In our expression of gratitude, there is a flow of
spiritual substance from us to a person or object. Whenever we
increase that flow, we increase our life in every way: more
energy, more awareness of intuition, etc. Because we understand
this dynamic, we can express gratitude for things which we have
not yet received; we know that our gratitude helps to increase
the flow (which is likely to include the thing for which we are
Techniques of gratitude.
Self-talk. For example, "I appreciate all of the good
things in my life." "I enjoy thanking people for their
Directed imagination. We can visualize ourselves receiving
valued items, and then smiling, or saying, "Thank you."
Energy toning. We generate the energy tones of joy,
delight, pleasure, etc.
The "as if " principle. We act as if we are grateful when
we receive items of value. The actions might include a smile, a
hug, and particular words (e.g., "This is a wonderful gift!").
Intuition. When we receive a valued item, intuition can guide
us in our response (including the particular words). Intuition can
also determine the item's value to us, in terms of its enhancement
of our life.
We can develop our ability to perceive the goodness in our
life. Throughout our day, we are continually giving and receiving
-- often without noticing these occurrences. If we decide to have
an "attitude of gratitude," we become aware of more of the people
and the subtle events in our life.This creative "game" can be
played during stressful times, and also when we might otherwise be
mentally bored -- while driving, while standing in a line, etc.
We can offer gratitude in various aspects of our lives.
We can be grateful to many things: a person, a
deity, nature, life itself.
We can be grateful for many things: our home, food,
comforts and pleasures, well-being (material, emotional,
mental), physical health, sensory delights (e.g., delicious
food), friends, clothing, life itself.
We can say, "Thank you," when someone gives something to us.
And we can write "thank-you letters" to people. We express can
gratitude for the gift, and for the person who gave us the gift.
We can acknowledge holidays which are focus our attention on
gratitude. For example, in the United States, the citizens
celebrate Thanksgiving, and Veterans' Day (when we express
gratitude to veterans who have defended the nation).
We can "say grace" before we eat a meal. From a materialistic
viewpoint, saying grace is illogical; we have no reason to be
grateful for a meal for which we worked to earn the money -- but
the idea of saying grace is to acknowledge that our own efforts
might have come to fruition only because of the supplemental
factor of spiritual "grace" (which is the unearned goodness in our
life). We can say grace before every event, not just meals.
We can make a list of things for which we are grateful. We can
even have a "gratitude journal," in which we note each day's
We can develop our self-esteem. We cannot feel gratitude if we
do not feel that we are worthy of the gifts.
We can review our unpleasant memories, to find factors for
which we can be grateful. In retrospect, we might realize that the
circumstances were a necessary part of our education in life.
We can achieve a balance in gratitude.
We can be grateful for the things which we possess, while
still working toward additional goals. For example, we might be
grateful for a "B" grade on a difficult exam, but we still
strive for an "A" grade on the next exam.
We can be grateful for the things which we receive, while
still being discriminating. For example, we would not be very
grateful if an employer pays us $1 for a full day of work. We
naturally respond to the value of the object, particularly if
we exerted an effort to obtain that object and we expect
something of equal value. We can be objective about the objects
which we receive, while still appreciating various other
We can appreciate the attempt of the person to give what
is meant to be given (even if the person's greed or other
dysfunctional archetypal-field constellations block the flow
of materiality and spiritual substance to us).
We can appreciate our opportunity to participate in
life, while we (and other people) explore our intuitive
perception of spirit's dynamics by which we all distribute
the goodness of spirit itself in the realms of mind,
emotions, and physical existence.
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