A prayerful life is the key to possessing gratitude. We often take for granted the people who most deserve our gratitude. Let us not wait until it is too late for us to express our gratitude. Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. If I gratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues. To express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven.
Can we walk that thin line between constant change and continuation? And in the middle of this flux, feel gratitude but not hold on? Gratitude greases the joints to let us let go, and at the same time to stop and realize we received something. Gratitude is the most developed and mature of human emotions.
Gratitude goes beyond the 'mine' and 'thine' and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.
In the spiritual life the easiest way to conquer ego is to offer gratitude to God for five minutes daily. If you cannot offer gratitude for five minutes, then utter it for one minute. Offer your gratitude to God. Then you will feel that inside you a sweet, fragrant and beautiful flower is growing. That is the flower of humility.
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. It turns problems into gifts, failures into successes, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. It can turn an existence into a real life, and disconnected situations into important and beneficial lessons. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. Gratitude makes things right.
Nature is another important aspect of nourishing the soul. After a hike in the mountains where we live, for instance, I feel a remarkable sense of gratitude and awe. My mind quiets down and allows me to see more clearly the beauty of creation. And through that gratitude, the beauty of the universe is reflected back to the creator.