He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has." – Epictetus
Today I felt gratitude towards the robin that followed me around the garden, filling the air with his beautiful song. I appreciated being able to stop and just watch and listen and marvel at the beauty of this small creature. Wherever I went he followed and I felt a wonderful connection with him and nature as I completed my tasks.
There are so many things in life that we can be grateful for, and many can so easily be missed if we are too busy to notice.
Experiencing and expressing gratitude is an important part of my spiritual practice. It opens the heart and activates positive emotion centres in the brain. Regular meditation and/or practice of gratitude can change the way our brain neurons fire into more positive automatic patterns. The positive emotions we evoke can ease stress and change our thinking patterns so that we develop a clearer view of our lives.
Gratitude is an emotion of connectedness, which reminds us we are part of a larger universe and at one with all living things. The following are some of my favourite quotes guaranteed to help you feel more gratitude for things you have in your life.
- “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” — Albert Schweitzer.
- “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks”. — Unknown.
- “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” — Marcel Proust.
- “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” — Epictetus.
- “You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach.
- “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” — Thornton Wilder.
- “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein.
- “Take full account of the excellencies which you possess, and in gratitude remember how you would hanker after them, if you had them not.” — Marcus Aurelius.
- “Real life isn’t always going to be perfect or go our way, but the recurring acknowledgement of what is working in our lives can help us not only to survive but surmount our difficulties.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach.
- “We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” — Cynthia Ozick.
- “We can be thankful to a friend for a few acres or a little money; and yet for the freedom and command of the whole earth, and for the great benefits of our being, our life, health, and reason, we look upon ourselves as under no obligation.” Seneca.
- “Whatever our individual troubles and challenges may be, it’s important to pause every now and then to appreciate all that we have, on every level. We need to literally “count our blessings,” give thanks for them, allow ourselves to enjoy them, and relish the experience of prosperity we already have.” — Shakti Gawain.
- “If the only prayer you say in your life is thank you, that would suffice.” — Meister Eckhart.
- "Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough." -- Oprah Winfrey
How to Bring Gratitude into Your Life
To begin bringing gratitude into your life, you can set aside time each day to meditate on all the things in your own life that help you or give you pleasure. You can also write a journal, recording memories and pictures, writing about the things you feel grateful for each day. Send thank you cards to anyone who has made your day more pleasant by their attitude.
Gratitude can lead to feelings of love, appreciation, generosity, and compassion, which further open our hearts and help rewire our brains to fire in more positive ways.