The founders of the world religions and greatest spiritual traditions all encouraged us to live our earthly lives with gratitude and appreciation, because they knew its importance in achieving our true Soul Purpose and Life Calling. If you only had time to adopt one spiritual principle or practice in your life, I would recommend making gratitude your first and only choice. Being more grateful will change your life.
Charity is not about lending a helping hand; it is about celebrating all that we have, and to share our joy and appreciation. Research has demonstrated an indisputable connection between gratitude and spirituality. It is no coincidence that gratitude is regarded as a much cherished and valued quality by most world religions, including the Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu Jewish, and Christian traditions. When reviewing the large body of research done on the subject, gratitude seems to play a much more noteworthy role in our happiness and well-being than most other emotions and personality traits.
Another study has shown that grateful people have a greater sense of control over their environment, life purpose, personal growth and self-acceptance. Grateful people also tend to cope well when facing life challenges; they just seem to deal better with problems in general and are much more successful at navigating life transitions. Grateful people also exercise more frequently, sleep better and are even more resistant to viral infections!
It is interesting to note that one study reported major increases in people’s ‘happiness scores’ after they participated in an exercise of writing down their thoughts and feelings of appreciation in a gratitude journal. In fact, the increases in their happiness were so significant during the short experiment of one week that many of the participants chose to continue keeping a gratitude journal.
If you only had time to adopt one simple life strategy or lifestyle technique to apply in your life, I would recommend making gratitude your first choice and main aim. Even if you had to ignore everything else, do make an effort to be more grateful. It will change your life.
Gratitude is no doubt encouraged as a popular religious or spiritual sentiment because of its precious ‘side-effects’. The Prophets, Ascended Masters, Teachers and Founders of the diverse world religions brought us messages of encouragement to live our earthly lives with gratitude and appreciation, because they knew its importance in achieving our true Soul Purpose and Life Calling.
And then you can set out to build an incredible sand castle to the delight of all the children that pass by, or use the ‘sands of time’ to exfoliate the protective organic miracle that is your skin, while you smile at the comical antics of the seagulls fighting in the distance over a piece of food. Don’t forget to bask in the warmth of the sun, which is perfectly balanced by the coolness and fresh smell of an occasional breeze from the magnificent ocean. Then take a deep breath in deep appreciation and sincere gratitude for this amazing experience that is your Divine Life.
Counting your blessings go way beyond holiday season. Johannes A. Gaertner said, “To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven”. So much to appreciate, and so little time. No need to say ‘thank you’ at this year’s Christmas dinner table. Just live a thankful, grateful life every day of the year.
Excerpt adapted from the book Divine Living: The Essential Guide To Your True Destiny.
© 2012 Anthon St. Maarten