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Channel Your Inner Contentment

Channel Your Inner Contentment
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BY MARY JANE HORTON

Gratefulness meditation helps you make the best out of whatever you have.

Gratitude or gratefulness isn’t situation-dependent. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, you can be grateful if you want to be. And you know what? It will always make you feel better, no matter what is going on in your life.  We can all get bogged down in the negative: we don’t have all the money we want, our kids are difficult or don’t talk to us enough, our work isn’t going just right, we have health issues. Gratitude meditation practice cuts through all of that and lets you be peaceful with what you do have.

Robert Emmons, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of California, Irvine, and the author of Thanks! How the Science of Gratitude Can You Happier (Mariner Books, 2008), says gratitude is, an important aspect of joyful appreciation, or mudita. He and his colleagues have done research that suggests that gratitude does quite a bit to pump up a person’s subjective wellbeing. He has found that gratitude:

–Enhances positive emotion

–Blocks negative and toxic emotions

–Protects against stress

–Enhances your feelings of self worth

How to get the feeling

Gratitude meditation is a very popular type of relaxation that helps people to lget in touch with their gratefulness, love themselves, and to be in the moment. As with all meditation, you can either think of a word or a phrase or clear your mind of all thoughts. With gratefulness meditation, though, start by reaching into your heart and thinking of all of the good things in your life. Even in the lowest of low moments, you will be surprised with all of the good you can find if you focus on it. Jack Kornfield, an American author, teacher, and Buddhist monk, always has a way of making meditation easier and more relevant. Here is his “prescription” for what to think about in a gratitude meditation:

With gratitude I remember the people, animals, plants, insects,
creatures of the sky and sea, air and water, fire and earth, all
whose joyful exertion blesses my life every day.
With gratitude I remember the care and labor of a thousand
generations of elders and ancestors who came before me.
I offer my gratitude for the safety and well-being I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the blessings of this earth I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the family and friends I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the company I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the teachings and lessons I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the life I have been given.

– Jack Kornfield, “A Meditation on Gratitude and Joy,” The-Wise-Heart (Bantam, 2008), 399-400

Another way to approach gratitude meditation is freeform – sit in a quiet place and think about all the things and people in your life you are grateful for. You can start in your house and then go outside, in your mind’s eye, look around and pick out the highlights of your life. Perhaps focus on one thing and keep repeating it as a mantra. Ask yourself questions about what you are especially grateful for and answer yourself. If you aren’t this disciplined, as with everything in our modern world, there is an app. You can get a guided gratitude meditation from the Chopra Center for Wellbeing to help you along:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/chopra-center-for-wellbeing/id299546684

After doing this kind of meditation for a while, you will be surprised about how it will spill out into your life and make you feel more content on an every day basis.

 

 

 

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