To Live Gratitude Is To Touch Heaven
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.
Some spiritual seekers tend to be very keen on beating the drum of prosperity, and becoming fixated on the Law of Attraction and manifesting abundance, which is too often merely a thinly disguised obsession with material wealth and earthly comforts. Most of us simply take too much for granted every day. We experience so many blessings of joy, beauty, forgiveness, protection and Divine grace, which we seldom acknowledge in our lives. We always have something to be grateful, or thankful for, no matter how difficult times may be. As a species we are very good at complaining about what we don’t have, but we seem to find it difficult to give thanks for what we do have. We seldom express our gratitude and appreciation towards those we love and cherish, and we hardly ever remember to share what we have with those who have less – not because we feel obligated, but because we feel so much appreciation that we simply want to share our abundant blessings with others.
You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance. ~ Khalil Gibran
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.
Several research studies in recent years have shown that people who have a tendency towards higher levels of gratitude also tend to report higher levels of psychological, emotional and physical well-being. People who are grateful have been shown to be happier, more optimistic and more content with their lives. They also appear to have lower levels of stress and depression, and they are more satisfied with their relationships and social interaction with others. Studies have also shown that increased gratitude increases a person’s tendency towards altruism, empathy, helpfulness, and generosity. Grateful test subjects were, for example, more likely to share their money in a financial game with others. It is therefore no wonder that our modern society, with its noticeable lack of gratitude and appreciation, displays such a disturbing shortage of charity, goodwill and compassion.
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.
When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs? ~ G.K. Chesterton
Living in a state of true appreciation is the key to the expression and fulfillment of your Life Plan. A Divine Life is a grateful life. When you go to the seaside to enjoy a day on the beach, you do have a choice about how you will perceive and interpret your experience. You may choose to focus on feeling miserable all day and complain about the sand in your shoes, the noisy seagulls, the irritating wind, the smelly seaweed and the hot sun; or you can choose to appreciate the unusual texture of the sand between your toes, mindful of the fact that it was created through mechanical weathering and erosion of rocks, mollusk shells, and coralline algae over billions of years, by way of the cycles of the moon and the tides of the ocean. Our planet is indeed a marvel!
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
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anthon St. Maarten is an international psychic medium and destiny coach with clients in more than thirty countries spanning five continents. He is also a metaphysics teacher and podcaster, spiritual blogger and author with a special interest in new thought spirituality, metaphysics, sacred sites, parapsychology, mediumship and psychic phenomena. Anthon is a hereditary psychic medium in practice since 2004 and his services are available by phone or video conferencing.