Mindful Gratitude: You Need Both for Spiritual Growth.

The Bridge to Greater Awareness

Mindful gratitude is the idea that gratitude can’t exist in any meaningful way until you have the power to direct your mind to observe specific things in your environment.

"The act of noticing is a crucial part of gratitude; you can't be grateful if your attention is scattered." Source: Thanks a Thousand

Can You Recall a Time When...

I  am sure that you have expereinced, at some point in your life, a time when a slight shift in your focus brought everything into sharp detail.

Can you recall one of those times right now?

These moments can be a gentle unfolding of awareness to something in our environment or a forced or sudden perilous event. 

When the car in front of you suddenly stops and you have to slam on your breaks, you become very away of the backend of that car, its color, its lights flashing on. The amount of room between your car and the one in front.

Suddenly you notice them when just before that moment you were only vaguely aware of that car as you tried to sort out in your head, how you were going to explain to your boss why you can’t finish your project on time.

In moments like this, we are literally forced into present time and to noticing our immediate surroundings.

Your gratitude immediately kicks in during these situations. 

“Thank god, I braked in time.”

or:

“I’m grateful the traffic wasn’t moving faster.”

The More Gentle Awakening

I think mindful gratitude happens in those moments of awaking from your dream.

For me, this morning, as I worked busily to hang my laundry on the line, I happen to look up and noticed the beautiful blue of the morning sky.

As I became mindful of the blue sky, gratitude swelled quickly within me.

I felt this rush of gratitude for the blue sunny sky, the green palms swaying in the breeze, the warmth of the day. How wonderful it was to be alive appreciating the moment.

Those are the real moments of transformation when you come out of yourself, your spinning mind into an acute awareness of life.

Everything snaps into vivid detail.

Gratitude can shift our perceptions of time and slow it down. It can make our life's petty annoyances dissolve away, at least for a moment."

Practicing Mindfulness as a Way of Increasing Gratitude

When we fully embrace gratitude as a state of being, then we’ve transcended many lower survial levels of emotion.

We are now in the realm of what Joe Dispenza refers to as the higher emotions; higher vibrational states of which gratitude is the first. 

To me, one of the simplest practice of mindfulness is to go for a walk. The purpose of the walk is not to get lost in the jumble and tumble of your mind, but to become aware of your surroundings.

As you notice these things, a tall tree swaying in the wind, a bird hopping from branch to branch in a shrub, the way the light changes the color green.

This simple practice pulls you our of the past, or your concerns about the future and focuses you in the present moment, the eternal now.

As a result, when that happens you experience mindful gratitude. 

You can’t avoid that upward surge in spiritual vibration.    

“Gratitude for the present moment and the fullness of life now is the true prosperity.”

The Benefits of Mindful Gratitude

Sometimes people don’t pay attention to their mental state of health or to their physical state of health until some crisis hits

So many people that been introduces to the benefits of mindfulness and gratitude only when their doctor gives them the bad news. 

“You need to change or else.”

Don’t be one of those people.

The benefits of Mindfulness, gratitude, and meditation have been well documented and researched.

Here is just a brief list of what taking that mindfulness walk everyday will do for you. 

That’s just the shortlist. Why wouldn’t you want to prevent many of the modern stress-related illnesses by being proactive about your health by doing a few simple mindfulness and gratitude practices?

“Training your mind to be in the present moment is the #1 key to making healthier choices.”

Mindful Gratitude Exercises

Living in gratitude is not a difficult task. It is a matter of doing some simple and pleasant things over and over.

It’s not just about maintaining a gratitude journal,  It’s about noticing, about awareness, and just being.

Here are a couple of  suggestions to start your practice.

  1. On waking up simple say thank for the opportunity  to enjoy another day.
  2. Walking. This can be for ten minutes or thirty. As you walk notice what is around you. Note colors, sounds, sensations, Walk up to a tree and touch it. How does the surface you are walking on feel? The note how what your are noticing uplifts you. 
  3. Take a moment to go to this blog post and try the exercise at the bottom of the page. A Sjmple Mindfulness Exercise

 

Summary

Before you can truly practice gratitude you need to notice things to be thankful for. 

If you rush around your day in a continuous state of stress and time pressure you won’t spare time to really notice you environment.

Resolve to slow down, take a deep breath, look around you and notice something you can be grateful for.

It doesn’t have to be anything more than the blue sky.

But by doing this you will live a healthier, happier and more grateful life.

After reading this article what id one thing you can do to increase your state of mindfulness and thus your state of gratitude?

© Nicholas Grimshawe

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