The first month of the new Wisdom Heart Community is wrapping up. We’ve been focused on establishing a daily meditation practice—gently, gently cultivating that consistency!
This month we’re examining how to apply meditative awareness to reactivity and karmic patterns.
Today’s post is inspired by a Wisdom Heart reader’s email:
I’ve been practicing the morning ritual 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.
(Note: you can send your questions about meditation & spiritual practice here and I’ll respond in a newsletter or blog post.)
First, thank you for writing and asking a question. I’m grateful.
Attuning to gratitude is a powerful and highly recommended practice.
Incorporate it into your morning meditation. As you attune to the feeling of gratitude, it’s like massaging your consciousness—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 blessings.
As you enter into the feeling of gratitude, it becomes apparent that “you” are surrounded and 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 —the boundless Sea of Consciousness.
Every possible experience is here.
Love, health, success, wisdom—everything is here and available to you, including blessings you can’t imagine.
But, the blessings will only infuse your life when when you open and allow them in. Life— Spirit, the Divine—is absolutely gracious and will never intrude.
Life will never force you to have more happiness than you’re willing to enjoy.
Symbolically speaking—the Buddha could be standing at the door of your house knocking and knocking. He’s got a gift for you.
Being the Buddha, he’s there to bring you wisdom.
But, unless you open the door and allow him in—he’s stuck outside the door.
Buddha won’t practice breaking and entering.
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 fulfillment available to you—within the 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 to you— through people, teachers, teachings, and events.
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.”
Which is actually the problem.
Because you’re not here to protect and defend.
You’re here to open to the blessings. As long as the door is closed there will be an unresolved longing and a gnawing sense that by protecting yourself from what you can’t control, you’re also denying yourself what you most deeply long for.
Still the mind can hold on.
While opening brings greater blessings and fulfillment, there’s a tendency in the mind to hold back. To only let in those experiences, those states of consciousness, that conform to the past. There’s a tendency for the mind to keep you locked inside four walls of your personal history.
So, how can you open the door to live more fully and more creatively?
Gratitude opens the door.
Gently, joyously, and…indirectly. You don’t have to focus on opening up. It’s simpler than that. All you do is attune to gratitude and the door to the ocean of blessings opens on its own. It’s simple.
Your gratitude attunement can start with the known.
In your history there are experiences, people, animals, events, that connect you with the feeling of gratitude. Start there.
Remember that puppy, that smile, that sunrise—and allow yourself to feel grateful.
Breathe in the image, the sounds, the energy that is encoded in the memory. Breathe it into your heart and let the memory of that beauty organically open your heart.
Memories of beauty and blessing incline the mind towards gratitude.
That’s why you begin with the known. You begin 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. This is the key.
Just breathe the feeling of gratitude.
Without content, without memory, allow your attention to become more and more absorbed in the feeling of gratitude. Let that feeling, independent of history, imagery, or content, permeate your body, mind, and heart. Rest in the quality of gratitude.
This will open the door of your consciousness.
The grateful mind perceives Life as good, friendly, and beautiful.
Thus, it readily opens wide to explore, embrace, and realize ever-deeper states and experiences.
So, you don’t have to force openness. (Ha!! Like that’s even possible.) All you need to do is cultivate the mind of gratefulness.
Albert Einstein said that the most important question a person can ask—and answer—is this: “Is the Universe friendly?”
What makes this such a critical question? Because, how you answer determines the degree of openness of your “door of consciousness.”
“If your mind perceives the Universe as unfriendly—it will contract and defend the borders of identity from all “foreign influences”—including wisdom, health, love, and joy.
But, as you attune to gratitude, the defensive postures of consciousness relax.
The cells of your body and the petals of your mind to receive the ever-present blessings of Life.
You realize you’re surrounded!
What a blessing.
Grateful for your presence,
The Wisdom Heart Community isn’t open to new members at the moment—but it will be. You can get on the early-bird list here.
Author: Eric Klein
Image: Original illustration by the author
Editor: Renée Picard