At the beginning of each year I encourage my readers to pick one word to focus their attention on and energize it with affirmations throughout the year, as opposed to making a typical list of New Year’s Resolutions (see The Power of Affirmation).
Similarly, instead of simply giving thanks at the table on Thanksgiving, while enjoying a special meal with your loved ones, I’d suggest you make the commitment to be grateful each and every day for all the blessings in your life. Not only does it make a big difference in how you perceive and narrate your life story, and how the Universe responds with more blessings and abundance, but it is also a great way to keep the ego-mind under control.
The ancient yogic practice of pratipaksha bhavana consists on consciously shifting your attention to positive thoughts when the mind is disturbed by negative ones. An extension of this technique is focusing on the positive not just when the mind slides into negative mental patterns, but as a daily and continuous discipline of appreciation. This practice has been used for thousands of years in the Hindu and Buddhist spiritual traditions, and is becoming very popular nowadays in the West to weaken and master the mind. It is a simple yet effective method to gain control over—and dissolve—the false I-sense, or ego.
Let Gratitude Enhance Your Life
Cultivating gratitude is a profound practice. Perhaps expressing appreciation to others and feeling gratitude for what you have comes easily to you; or maybe it requires conscious intention and mental discipline. No matter how it shows in your experience, gratitude connects you to the Universal flow of energy and Divine Consciousness, because it is an aspect of your essential spiritual nature.
Truly felt appreciation for the abundant presence of the Divine in your life generates feelings of love and joy in your heart, bringing you closer to your divinity. There are many renunciate and mendicant traditions in the East, but in the West Saint Francis is a figure that comes to mind when thinking of gratitude. He renounced all material things to enjoy life in its utmost simplicity and was able to perceive infinite abundance and love in everything. Of course, you don’t have to renounce the world to appreciate its abundance; but you need to change your attitude toward life to start perceiving your life story as a wonderful journey of self-knowledge and self-growth.
Change Your Life Story To One of Blessings
Whenever you feel that life is not smiling at you because you are concerned about finances or health or family issues, you can switch your perspective to appreciate everything around you that is smiling and beautiful, no matter how small it may seem in comparison to your problems. It could be as simple as a colorful sunset you watch through the window; or the shapes clouds form in the sky as you’re driving home; or how soft and comfy your bed feels; or the taste of that cup of coffee or tea you love having in the morning.
If you understand that your perception colors your experience of reality—your personal life-movie—you’ll appreciate how important it is to take responsibility for the life you are shaping every minute of every day, because wherever your thoughts go, there follows your creative and emotional energy. Worrying and dwelling on the negative brings you more to worry and be unhappy about, while shifting the focus to the things you can be grateful for redirects the energy toward physical, emotional, and spiritual abundance.
Your reality is not separate from you. As a matter of fact, it all exists in your mind. So as you consciously shift your perception, your life-movie is automatically transformed. Learn to view each day as an investment toward a brighter future with new possibilities instead of believing that any current limiting circumstances determine what your life could become. Be grateful for what you have and for what you can create through the power of your intention and inner resources.
Give Thanks To Be Happy
No matter how hard or confusing life may be, if you stop worrying about it for a minute, you’ll realize that there is so much to be grateful for. Maybe it is being surrounded by family or friends; or being blessed with good health; or having a roof above your head; or enjoying a lovely meal, being warm on a cold day, or having access to the technology to read this and connect with others around the world. I could go on. And I am sure you can find many, many things to be grateful for as well, right here, right now!
When you experience joy from within, from the true appreciation of who and where you are, you actually access the power of Infinite Consciousness. This feeling of joy connects you to your true power, because it does not rely on anything external or temporary: you can find it anywhere, any time, by switching your focus of attention and thus your state of mind. When you tune into this feeling, then you will spontaneously manifest more blessings to be grateful for. So make it a daily practice, and watch the miracles unfold!
Give thanks out loud, give thanks in silence; give thanks in writing; give thanks to others; and give thanks to yourself for being who you are: for your talents and efforts; for your insight; and for your capacity to love and share and appreciate life. And contact me today to harness your true power, with gratitude and humility, to create and abundant life or business you LOVE!
© 2011 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.