by Ross Bishop
If you are looking for a powerful spiritual practice, you might consider gratitude. Practicing gratitude will make you feel better, be happier, more connected to others, improve your relationships, be less depressed and believe it or not, actually lengthen your life!
Want to be more compassionate? Work on gratitude. Want more inner peace? Practice gratitude. Want more patience? Get into gratitude. Want to reduce your stress? Want to heal more quickly? You get the point.
Gratitude changes the lens through which you view life. It pulls you out of the morass of your struggles and reminds you that you are not alone. It also protects you from the destructive influences of envy, resentment, greed and bitterness.
The best way to experience the power of gratitude is to keep a daily “Gratitude Journal.” Every morning, log at least five blessings and why you are grateful for them. Doing this daily is important, and it is best if you write it out longhand.
As you Journal, pay attention to every thought that comes to you. Don’t edit anything out, because a very interesting thing will happen when you Journal about your gratitude. The process gently, but powerfully, also raises an awareness of your wounds. It surfaces your frustrations along with the gratitude. Your frustrations will likely surface rather starkly, so be prepared. Even the purest of hearts it seems, are not above “cusswords” when it comes to the Gratitude Journal.
For example, you’ll be writing about your gratitude for your partner and suddenly your resentments toward him will surface. In one class, a woman was writing about her sincere gratitude for her children, and immediately the thought came, “The noisy little bastards!” Underneath her reaction was her own hurt inner child who became insecure and threatened every time her real children acted out. Although disconcerting, this awareness provided an opportunity for this woman to do some very important healing work. It gave her the opportunity to resolve the fears that had limited her happiness up to that time.
If you have trouble with the Journal or if you start one and quit, look into your resistance. Your unresolved inner issues are interfering and winning! This “failure” is a warning that something inside needs attention. In Journey to Enlightenment I show how to use the shamanic journey process to work with and resolve the issues that the Gratitude Journal process surfaces. Although the process can be bumpy, one thing I can tell you is that it has been deeply enriching for those who have stayed with it.
To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant,
to enact gratitude is generous and noble,
but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.
Johannes A. Gaertner
Copyright©2009 Blue Lotus Press