Click the player below for the PODCAST (audio only).
In Step 1 of the 10 Steps to Bliss, we discussed how to connect to the Present moment or how to be “present”. In Step 2, we will build on that foundation and take things to a higher level of awareness. If you don’t feel great about Step 1 yet, go back and give it one more look before moving on. If you’ve done that and still need help, please reach out to me and I’ll do everything I can to help.
Step 2 of the 10 Steps to Bliss – Experiencing Gratitude
Let’s first start with a clear definition of the word Gratitude. Typically, the word gratitude is usually synonym for thankful or grateful. However, there are certainly different levels of gratitude. For example, you might be grateful for Television and also grateful for being alive. Those are extreme ends of the spectrum of gratitude, but it illustrates for us the clear reality that there are different levels of gratitude that we experience.
The good news? ALL levels of gratitude will enrich your Soul! Even if you only experience a smidgeon of gratitude, it can do amazing things for your body-mind and for your spiritual evolution. Of course, the deeper your sense of gratitude, the deeper the effect will be. As you progress and grow your spiritual practice, I believe you can increase the amount of gratitude you experience for even the smallest of things. I also believe you can continue to grow your overall feeling of gratitude in general. This is an area I have not yet “maxed out” as I continue to experience higher and deeper levels of gratitude for all the things in my life.
Why is Gratitude so powerful?
When we experience gratitude, it has tremendous powers. Not only does the Ego get out of the way, but any negative thoughts or feelings you are harboring will also subside. You can’t be angry and grateful at the same time! You can’t be grateful and fearful at the same time either! The list goes on and on… There is only ONE thing that can eliminate so much negativity and bring with it so much positivity all in one swoop. If you think about it, gratitude is the ideal state of mind. If you were grateful 100% of the time, you would be in a total and complete state of grace! I believe we can work towards this and gain ground every single moment in which we experience gratitude of any magnitude. It’s quite possible that gratitude is the #1 key to unlocking the True Self. If you find a quicker and easier way to connect with your Soul, please let me know.
Here’s an interesting twist. You can also experience gratitude or be grateful for things that you don’t normally consider to be “good” on the surface. For example, when you find yourself caught in traffic, it’s easy to get upset, frustrated or even angry. Most of the time, we can’t stop thinking about how we would have arrived at our destination sooner had there been no traffic. But instead, we can make a conscious choice to focus on how lucky we are to be traveling by car on a road built and maintained by someone else. No matter which way you cut it, even in traffic, we are still traveling in an extremely efficient manner. So, you can take something like traffic and turn it into an experience of gratitude. When you get to this level, your life has dramatically changed for the better. In this state of mind, you are actually looking for all the things that surround you for which to be grateful. Now that’s a great space to occupy!
There is one tool that I use which helps me experience this type of gratitude on a regular basis. I learned about this concept reading the Dalai Lama’s book “How to See Yourself as You Reall are“. It’s a concept called dependent arising. In short, this concept helps us focus on more than just the physical items we see and experience. Dependent arising tells us to look deeper at the situation to the origin of everything we see and experience. For example, when I’m in the radio studio and I look at my microphone, I don’t just see the microphone. Instead, I see all of the following:
– The time, energy and effort it took someone to design this microphone.
– The time, energy and effort it took someone to come up with microphones in the first place.
– The company which makes the microphone and how many people were involved in it’s conception, creation, distribution, etc.
– The founding of that company and all the people who invested money in the company to begin with.
– The earning of all the money that was invested in this company and all the hard work, dedication and energy which made that possible.
It goes on and on…When you consider dependent arising, it leans us toward gratitude because you are able to see how impressive all these little things are which we typically take for granted in our daily lives. You can do the same thing with plants, animals, people, or objects. It has taken Billions of years for us to get here. Each moment we experience had Trillions of variables fall perfectly in to place in order for us to experience it. Going all the way back to the Big Bang! When you can see each moment in this way, it not only makes being present easier, but brings gratitude to the forefront of your consciousness. Try to decipher dependent arising with the next few things you see and I’m sure you will find gratitude as simple as that.
Happy Meditating & I hope it helps! 🙂