I am sure you have heard of the word gratitude many times from different places. So what is gratitude? For me gratitude is being thankful for what you have and grateful for how things are at the present moment. Many spiritual teachings and Religions talk about the importance of being thankful for what you have. I believe gratitude is an important practice to incorporate in your daily routine. Being mindful to what you have presently each day allows you to notice that what is already there is enough. We are taught by society that we need to constantly seek more and more of something. We rarely focus on what we have at the moment. How many times a day do you think about what you don't have? I do this too. We are often fixated on getting more and don't notice the gifts that lies before us.
There are many ways people practice gratitude. You can have a gratitude journal and make a list of the things you are grateful for each day, or you can verbally speak/pray and give thanks to what you have. Another way some people practice gratitude is writing brief letters of thanks to an object, a situation or a person that they are thankful for. So for example, if you are thankful for having eyes, you can write a brief letter to your eyes saying thank you and write down why you are thankful.
I started to practice gratitude a couple years ago by writing 5 things each day in a journal. When I started to become consistent with my practice, I started to notice more of what I already had rather than what I didn't. Being consistent in focussing on what you already have allows your mind to focus more on the gifts that are in front of you. You start to see things as gifts rather than seeing things as just ordinary things that occur in your day to day living. So for example, when I receive a discount on a product that I purchase, I say thank you for that because I feel I have become more financially richer by saving some money. Another example of gratitude can be if you are at a restaurant and not happy with the meal that was served to you, give thanks for the mouth and hand you have that is functioning and allows you to hold food in your hand and taste it. When you consistently practice gratitude, you almost start to build "new eyes" and begin to see things differently and decrease your desire to want more. There are always things to be grateful for.
When little infants begin to see and notice that they have hands, fingers and a face, they start to look at the parts of their body in complete awe. Have you ever seen an infant staring in complete awe at their fingers or hands or another person's moving hands? They stare as if it is the best thing at that moment. They are completely in the moment and appear amazed at what they see. So let us be like an infant, and be in amazement to what stands before us. Let us build "new eyes," and see the gifts that were always in front of us, only waiting for our attention to appreciate it.
"If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough" -Meister Eckhart