Step 2: Gratitude
“May I be Grateful for Life’s Easy and Difficult Gifts
Questions to Stimulate Contemplation and Journaling
When we examine the teachings of the world’s contemplative traditions we begin to see concurrence regarding specific mental attributes to be cultivated in the practice of gratitude. Here, I have listed seven of these as a foundation for your journaling and contemplation. These are remembrance, thankfulness, trust and faith, devotion, prayer, offering, and sacrifice.
For each of the mental attributes I have included a series of questions to stimulate your journaling. The following questions are posed to stimulate your journaling. Your journal writings will help you formulate your own personal contemplation focus for this step.
In this step of our meditation, we remember with profound gratitude some of the people and ideals that help us to develop sustainable health, happiness, purpose, and meaning.
- Who and/or what are those people and principles that truly help you to develop deep and sustainable health and happiness?
- What are the positive aspects in your life and your relationships for which you can be grateful?
- What are the elements of nature, the earth, and the universe that give you life, and sustain and enliven you?
- What are challenges in your life that can help you to deepen your wisdom, patience, compassion, and life perspective?
- Who are the teachers, exemplars, and role models (either contemporary or historic) whose teachings have enriched your life and giving it meaning?
- What are the teachings, the principles, the truths, the perspectives that give reason, meaning and purpose to your life?
A completely sincere and explicit attitude of thanks refines our internal mental environment. It creates the mental foundation wherein the objects of our gratitude can be internalized, embodied, or integrated. Therefore, having first remembered those beings and things that help us to achieve sustainable health, happiness, wisdom, compassion, and spiritual direction, we now give sincere thanks to them from depths of our mind and heart.
- For what and to whom are you most sincerely thankful?
To endure and overcome the obstacles we need abiding faith that the goal will be worth the effort. Now, having remembered and given thanks to those that help us to live a happy and healthy life with meaning and purpose, we generate and renew our trust and faith that these will help fulfill our goals.
- What individuals, principles and ideals do your trust as the source of health, happiness, transformation, and wisdom?
In order to achieve our personal goals and ideals, we must be very devoted to them. Devotion is a profound and practical mental quality that fuels the commitment, perseverance, patience, and energy we need to actualize our highest ideals. At this stage, we bring forth a deep and sincere devotion to actualize and sustain those ideals and practices in which we have placed our trust and faith.
- What are you devoted to the will achieve your life’s most profound possibilities for yourself and others?
The word “prayer” connotes the most sincere and fervent wish that a human being can make. It signifies our humble openness to receive the blessings from that which we consider the source of divine wisdom, love and ultimate fulfillment. Whether prayer is directed to another being, to the depths of our own consciousness, to God, or to a universal power, we are evoking a deep personal wish that is far more profound than the mundane desires that generally occupy our minds. Prayer activates the potential of our essential being to actualize our most profound and benevolent aspirations for ourselves and others. The efficacy of prayer can be measured in our sense of peace, in our steadfast determination to achieve even the most difficult tasks, and our capacity to help comfort and heal others.
- What is your prayer of gratitude for the most profound gifts in your life?
A material, mental, or virtual offering is a powerful way to seal and prove our commitment and devotion to our highest ideal. It is a powerful psychological intention to actualize the teachings of those to whom we are grateful.
- What are you willing to offer in order to live your life in alignment with the teachings and ideals of those to whom you are grateful?
- What are you willing to offer to achieve your highest life goals?