Happy Thanksgiving guys!
It’s been 6th years since I was first introduced to Thanksgiving as a holiday and it became one of my favorite days to celebrate. Not just because of the turkey and sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie (even though, I do love them) but because it is an entire day devoted to acknowledging everyone and everything that makes our life so beautiful.
We live in a very abundant time by historical standards and it makes hard to appreciate little things. Barely 100 years ago very few people could afford a separate family house, 3 meals a day, or to stay warm during the winter. Our life would be considered luxurious by our ancestors’ standards. Now, we take it for granted. Our health, intelligence, family, an ability to breathe, see, and walk are rarely noted as well. We pay attention to it when it is lost not while it is present. This ignorance and lack of awareness might be a reason that the richest society on earth has the highest rate of depression. Things don’t make us happy, acknowledging the fact that you have something and being grateful for it does! Gratitude has the power to make us happy in a very deep and meaningful way. It feels amazing to wiggle toes and fingers after a deep relaxation being fully aware of how precious our ability to move is.
Experiencing gratitude is a skill and as any skill, it takes effort and practice to master it. It is worth learning though because living with a sense of gratitude is one of the easiest ways to true happiness. Max Strom said: No matter how many vinyasas we do, no matter how much wheatgrass juice we drink, no matter how many kirtans we attend, we will not have a happy life unless we are free of anger and resentment. An individual who learns to live with a sense of gratitude will be a happy one, as gratitude can’t coexist with anger or resentment in one’s mind.
The easiest way to appreciate something is to imagine your life without it. This will make you aware of all the things that you might have been under-appreciating: your body that moves and allows you to enjoy life, your breath that keeps your alive, your family who supports you… The list can go on and on. The more things you can list and send a mental thank you note to, the more likely a smile will appear on your face as you realize how lucky you are.
Another powerful way to learn gratitude is to start with a person that invokes a deep sense of gratitude in you. It can be your parents, teachers, or loved ones. Create a mental picture of that person and let your mind completely fill with a sense of gratitude. Think of all the good things they’ve done for you. The more sincere the feeling is, the more powerful the practice will become. True gratitude often leads to a sense of humility and sometimes even joyful tears. Imagine that you are thanking that person with your emotions not words. Let those good emotions grow inside of you and completely feel your consciousness.
These 2 practices can be a good way to start off your day. Do one of them for 5 minutes in the morning and it will ensure that you will leave your house with a big smile. They can also be powerful instruments in reducing anger or resentment. Since we can’t experience opposite emotions at the same time, creating a positive feeling of gratitude can easily push anger out of your mind. The next time you feel angry, start thinking about the person that you are grateful to and observe your mood shift to a very peaceful state.
Hope today will be an inspiration for you to start giving thanks every day!
PS: Thank you Tara and Mike for creating Strala community and being great teachers, Thank you to all the students for keeping an open mind and staying committed to your yoga practice and Thank you to all the blog readers for your continuing interest in learning and exploring!!!
What are your thankful for in your life?