Gratitude: Focus on all that is good in life
Thanksgiving reminds me that when we direct attention to all that we have, our spirits are buoyed and we are prompted to be more loving and kind to others. We live our lives according to an “abundance” rather than “scarcity” mentality.
We have probably all heard the adage: “the right attitude is gratitude.” Yet most of us do not adopt this view on life. We tend to be so caught up in a frenzied, fearful and unsatisfied existence that we scarcely ever pause and reflect upon all that is good in our lives.
Indeed, Aldous Huxley succinctly stated that “Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.” We tend to live in fearful, egoist state, anxious what the day may bring and always desiring more. We never stop to reflect that we already have so much.
Here are some facts to consider. Most children in the world go to bed hungry at night. If you have any extra money — in the bank, in your wallet or spare change — then you are among the world’s top 8% in wealth. The fact that you have a roof over your head and running water puts you in an elite minority.
Scripture states that “the eye is the lamp of the body.” How we see the world will determine our happiness and well-being. It is our choice to look for what we lack or what we already have. A heart focused on abundance attracts more good into one’s life. A grateful heart is joyful and freely extends love and compassion to others.
A practice I have cultivated for years is the daily inscription of at least three things I am grateful for into a gratitude journal. Every morning I make my entries while at the same time casually glancing over the other additions. This helps bring to my awareness that I am indeed a blessed man, graced with much more than I will ever need.
When we focus on all that is good in our lives, we open the door to receive more good and extend blessings to others. Next time you find yourself complaining, pause and reflect that you are engaged in the most noble and fulfilling vocations in the cosmos and that you will never starve and always have a roof over your head.
“Saying thank you is more than good manners. It is good spirituality.” – Alfred Painter