We’ve been focusing on GRATITUDE all month at the Lighten Up Meditation classes because, well, it’s November, so it’s timely, right?
Gratitude is the kind of thing that’s so easy to give personal lip service to. It’s very easy to be all, “Yeah yeah yeah I’m grateful” and just brush it off and move to the next thing, without really reflecting on it, and MEANING it.
To be grateful isn’t just to hold a thought in your head – though that’s definitely a good start!
To be grateful is to take action.
This doesn’t have to be a big soppy mess of emotional expression towards the people in your life; it doesn’t have to be an “I wuv you” fest. (Though it can be!) Instead, it’s an orientation of humility.
Being grateful is a recognition that, a) we don’t have long to live, these lives are short, and precious, and b) the things of wonder in our lives are not really our own doing.
Who can take credit for the fact that we live these lives of abundance? Sure you work hard, and you care deeply, but do you REALLY take advantage of the opportunities that pass you by to express this?
One very beautiful way to do so is to pay close attention when you’re out in the world to people who may need a hand. If you encounter a homeless person, stop. Talk to them. Ask their name. Offer them a little cash if you can. Acknowledge their existence. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Just take a moment when someone who is less well off than you crosses your path.
This is the simplest gesture you can have yet it can be very powerful. We only have what we give away, right? If you have a roof over your head and you are not in any doubt about where your next meal will come from – if you have the great good fortune of a live that allows you to explore spiritual practices, and you were healthy and safe enough to have a chance to meditate today – then wouldn’t it be lovely to spread that around a little bit? When you interact with that barista at Starbucks or the checkout guy at Target, take a moment to ask how their day is going. Look up from your phone. Notice the beauty of the real people around you. Each one is a walking bundle of Awareness and Light – how awesome is that! To not notice it is a shame. To pay attention is a start of a very unique way to live a life that will surprise you all the time.
It’s not an “attitude of gratitude” that matters, though that does have a punchy little ring to it. It’s ACTING on that. Making it real in this life that we’re living. Bringing gratitude into your awareness and using it to cultivate a mindset of offering to the world where you can.
Doesn’t have to be a big deal, but it will change you.
We’ll be talking more about gratitude at the Lighten Up Meditation classes next week – join us if you can! (We’re having a little food drive for the community, too.)