Gratitude gets you Zen

When I was taking some time from my past relationship, I noticed I would feel bad when I tried to not think about her. I felt that this was not an effective method to help me deal with the changing shape of our relationship, for as we know what you resist persists. So I sat there and tried something different. I sent her gratitude for the amazing person that she is, for all the good times that we had and the lessons that she taught me. I immediately felt better and I wasn’t sure why until this moment and this is the lesson that I learnt about part of what gratitude’s power is.

Gratitude keeps us in the present.

Being present is the most important thing. The power in the Now.  In the present moment, the problems and patterns of the past have no avenue to creep in, and they have no way of imposing themselves on the future. When we are in gratitude it is impossible to be in any other moment but the present. Gratitude is an active state of being. It must be consciously acknowledged for it to be gratitude. If we don’t do it consciously it is being “taken for granted”.

We can feel joy unconsciously, like when we are eating something and it makes us feel good. However we can go through the meal without truly appreciating it, without truly being conscious and aware of the meal. That is why we suddenly finish and think, I can’t even remember eating that meal. That poor meal was taken for granted.  Once we acknowledge something and give it thanks, we are living in the present moment of now, and then we are truly living.

Gratitude is the most powerful mediation.

Gratitude is the quickest and easiest way to reach a truly meditative state. The true meditative state is when you can be completely present in the moment. The best way to be present is through appreciation, because you are not limiting anything. You are being completely accepting. Through this unadulterated acceptance, it opens you up to an even greater experience and expression of life. Gratitude is the in-breath of love. When we breathe in, during meditation, and give thanks as well, we are doubling the focus and meditative power of being present. It is for this reason that we can immediately find ourselves in a place of harmony. Harmony occurs not only in our bodies but also with the world around us. The Institute of HeartMath, a research group in California, has conducted studies on the power of using gratitude with breathing meditation.  Their results have been astounding. Through the use of gratitude, it has been shown that many of our biological systems have harmonized finding a physiological resonance that creates a form of visceral symphony. Our heart, lungs, hormones and even our brain all our working to the driving beat of the gratitude playing in our hearts.

Gratitude transforms fear

Unconscious joy is an opportunity lost but not as much as when we are in fear, which is true unconsciousness. Fear results in a true lack of appreciation and a true lack of consciousness. In fear we have no way of being present, instead we are truly locked in the patterns of the past and future and not “being in the present”. Our fear is similar to a fog that we are lost in. When you think of an experience that you are saying no to, that you are resisting, that you say is wrong, you feel it in your body and get lost in a spiral of thoughts.

Thinking those fear thought spirals, perpetuate cycles and reoccurring themes in your life. This is because you fall into the patterns of the past that you experienced when you were younger and your mind takes you down that road trying to protect you. It is inbuilt to humans to have this inclination towards the negative. It evolved for our protection and is referred to as the ‘negativity bias’. The negativity bias means that it is easier to think about the bad things and process them more quickly than the good things. This is so that if the bad things happen we will know what to do quicker to protect ourselves. That is all good and proper when we were cave men but the problem is that now we live in a World where dinosaurs and monsters don’t exist. But our bodies still think they exist so it is constantly trying and create them.

I’ll use horror films to explain this. Isn’t it interesting how in horror films the monster is so much scarier when we don’t see it, but finally when we the monster is revealed, we think, “Is that all?! That’s so fake!” It’s because our minds are programmed naturally to think the worst of the scene and the more we resist it and say “No” to the monster the scarier it gets. But the second we look at it, it immediately loses most of its scariness. The reality of the monster has taken form and thus collapses the infinite possibilities of scariness into only one possibility. It is because of this reason that we also recreate the patterns of our past, because “better the devil we know”. We know how story is going to end when we continually replay the same story and we know that while the monster is scary because we know what form it takes we are more inclined to deal with that monster than the other millions of monsters that can exist out in the world. But if we take a plunge and step into the darkness and unknown we may find that we slay the dragon and find an ending that better suits us.  So a powerful way of navigating through the unfamiliar territory of this new story is send the scary scene “Thanks”. Find all that you can be grateful for in the scene. Be grateful for all the amazing outcomes that can and will happen as you work through the darkness and you will give yourself a light to guide your way to a scene of something that you can love. You can even invite your fears to come along with you and work at your goals together. By doing this you know longer are denying the existence of your fears, which is the best way to let them go because what we resist persists and what we look at goes away.

Use your attitude of gratitude and you will find your way through any dark spot.