This week, we celebrate Thanksgiving (at least here in the U.S.). For many, it is just a day to relax and abuse ourselves nutritionally. Others, however, remember the meaning of the day. It is…
A day to express thankfulness and gratitude for the people and things in our lives.
It is a great concept, of course, but it has a problem…
It is only one day. I strongly believe that one of the core fundamentals of true success is a routine and heartfelt expression of gratitude. It shouldn’t be just one day…. it should be a daily habit.
Without gratitude, you are never wealthy. Wealth is not a measurement of your material possessions.
Think about it for a moment… if you don’t appreciate what you have, then you always have this built-in scarcity in your mind. You will focus on the glass half-empty. You do not allow yourself to be wealthy because you have a vacuum which you don’t allow to be filled.
But, what is this thing – gratitude?
On first glance, it is just an expression of thanks for what you have. This is a form of gratitude that we’re often taught as children. We express thanks for our homes, our health, our possessions, a car, your family, etc.
This gratitude is good, and is certainly better than having a scarcity-driven mindset. However, I feel that this form of gratitude isn’t really meaningful enough. After all, it is easily forgotten. It is easily given lip service. It is sometimes used as a mental justification for not having more…. almost like “Well, I’m thankful that my life isn’t worse than this.” I could easily say, “I’m thankful for my car.”, but then the next day, totally forget about it.
I think most people operate on this level of gratitude, which is why a day like Thanksgiving is often seen as “turkey day” and nothing deeper. People just go shopping the next day and forget all about it.
Gratitude can and does go deeper than that. While it is hard to put into words, I’m going to try…
Deeper Into The Rabbit Hole…
Have you ever been engaged in some experience that you enjoy, and while you’re doing it, you mentally move outside of what is happening and simply appreciate the experience?
Let’s say you are out sailing. The water is streaming by the haul…. you’re moving at a pretty decent clip. You look up and see the sails…. they’re nice and tight as they should be. You can hear the waves breaking on the waterline, the flutter of the edge of the mainsail, the roar of the breeze as it goes by your face.
You’re actively engaged in doing it, but for a moment… you simply change your viewpoint. You remove yourself from the details of the moment and just look at the entire situation as an observer rather than a participant.
It is beautiful!
You just appreciate the world, with all the wonder and aesthetics within.
This is a higher plane of being. One where you can literally become exterior to the world you’re operating in and – enjoy the experience.
When you’re in this mindset, the details are all secondary. With practice, you get good at being in this state alot. See, as a spiritual being, you’re literally imbuing the world around you with beauty. When they say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, that statement is true on a much deeper level than many people even realize.
This level of gratitude is a two-way street.
See, on the first level of gratitude, you are “grateful for….”. It is a reactionary form of gratitude.
On the deeper level I’m talking about, you are simply grateful.
Gratitude is something you ARE.
It is part of your existence.
It is 2-way because you’re not simply expressing gratitude for things which are; you are instead actively determining this state and creating it. You are actively creating the beauty of your own world. You are causing it.
I encourage people to really think that through. It can require a real change of viewpoint for many people. We’re so used to thinking of ourselves as mere products of our environment that we’ve forgotten the truth…
That our environment is really a product of us.
In Everyday Life…
At this point, some might be thinking, “OK, Dave. Sounds good and all, but how does this translate into the real world?”
Just take it in baby steps. To start out, one most definitely wants to express gratitude for the things they have.
The baby steps, though, come in doing it on a routine basis.
Many have said in the past that they routinely create the emotion of gratitude for themselves. For some, this means making it a daily ritual (perhaps in bed before going to sleep) to think of all the things you are grateful for. For many, this simple act has helped to facilitate a deeper level of gratitude over time. It gets to be a habit. And it develops.
Whatever works for you, do it. Do it long after Thanksgiving is over.
Once you’re creating that deeper gratitude I talked about above, you’ll notice how your life has changed. You’ll notice how the circumstances, relationships and opportunities that show up in your life will align with your goals.
You might think they just happened… that you just hit a string of good luck.
But, no – you will have created it.