A reader sent this email:
I’ve been practicing the morning meditation for a month or two and it really functions great. My days are more aware, my reactions to situations that in the past would make me nervous or stressful – now are surprisingly quite peaceful reactions.
I wanted to ask you about mixing gratitude in the morning meditation. Just wanted to check with you and also to give you some feedback.
Thank you for writing and asking a question. I’m grateful
Attuning to gratitude is a powerful practice. Incorporate it into your morning meditation and recall it throughout the day. As you attune to the feeling of gratitude, you’re giving your consciousness a massage. The places that are tight, tense, and constricted begin to loosen and relax and open – to receive the blessings that are ever-present.
You’re surrounded by beauty.
As you enter into the feeling of gratitude, it becomes apparent that you’re surrounded, embraced by the beauty, bounty, and boundlessness of Life. You’re like a fish in the ocean – only you’re immersed in an Ocean of Being, a boundary-free Sea of Awareness.
Every possible experience is here.
Love. Health. Success. Wisdom. Everything. It’s all within the Ocean and available when you open and allow it in. Life is absolutely gracious in this regard and will never intrude. Life will never force you to have more happiness than you’re willing to enjoy.
It is as though all the great sages and saviors are standing at the door of your house. They’ve brought gifts of wisdom, compassion, loving kindness, and freedom. But unless you open the door and allow them in – they’re stuck outside.
The door opens on the inside.
In the same way, the fullness of Life resides at the threshold of your consciousness. There’s a door between your current level of fulfillment and the unbounded Ocean of Life. But Life won’t rush in uninvited.
Life might slip notes under the door.
“I’m here. Please let me in. It will be so much fun!!”
Life might wave at you from outside the window, “See I’m smiling. Open up, my friend.”
Life will send you reminders of the possibilities and the richness that’s available. But the door opens from the inside. And the degree to which it opens is your choice.
A closed door feels safe.
There’s a certain security living behind a closed door or just opening it up a crack. There’s a feeling of being in control and of managing things your way.
But there’s also an unresolved longing. By protecting yourself from what you can’t control, you’re denying yourself what you most deeply long for. Opening the door pulls you more fully into life. It’s what your soul wants.
Still, there’s a tendency in the mind to hold back. To only let in those experiences that conform to the past. To keep you barricaded within the rooms of your personal history. So how can you open the door and begin to live more fully and more creatively?
You don’t have to open the door directly.
You can simply attune to gratitude. You can forget about opening the door and making yourself vulnerable to the unknown. Just attune to the feeling of gratitude and let that feeling do all the work.
Your attunement can start with the known.
In your history there are experiences that connect you with the feeling of gratitude. Start there. Remember a puppy, a smile, a sunrise – and allow yourself to feel grateful. Breathe in the sights, sounds, and energy that is encoded in those memories. Breathe it all into your heart and let the memory of that beauty organically open your heart.
Memories of beauty and blessings incline the mind towards gratitude.
That’s why you begin with the known. With what’s already inside the house of your history. The goodness, the blessings that you’ve known activate the mind of gratitude.
Then you shift the focus of awareness from the memory to the feeling.
As your attention becomes more and more absorbed in the beauty of the memory – allow your mind to shift from focusing on the content to resting in the feeling of gratitude. Let go of the sights, sounds, and particulars. Just breathe the feeling of gratitude.
Without content or memory allow your attention to become more and more absorbed in the feeling of gratitude. Let it permeate your body, mind, and heart. Rest in the quality of gratitude. This will open the door of your consciousness.
Because the grateful mind perceives that Life is good, friendly, and beautiful.
The grateful mind readily opens wide to explore, embrace, and realize ever-deeper states and experiences. So you don’t have to force openness. As if that’s even possible! All you need to do is cultivate the feeling of gratefulness.
As you attune to gratitude, the defensive postures of consciousness relax. The cells of your body and the petals of your mind open to receive the ever-present blessings of Life.