When it comes to happiness and joy, there is nothing that is more important than our experience of gratitude. Feelings of appreciation bring us closer to one another and make everything in life feel richer and more vibrant. When gratitude permeates our being, annoyances become comedy and frustrations transform into trivial inconveniences. Often, even the most significant setbacks can become areas for growth and acceptance. While appreciation may feel like a subtle experience that happens within us, it is one of the most important elements that determines our well being.
It’s always a great idea to cultivate gratitude, but the holiday season offers a special reminder of all that there is to appreciate and cherish. There are endless ways to cultivate gratitude, and one of these is through meditation.
This week we wanted to offer a special gratitude meditation to help you nourish the energies that appreciation brings us. We suggest that you read through the meditation guidelines one or two times before trying it all on your own. It’s quite simple, so once you’ve read through it you’ll be able to close your eyes and start your meditation.
Close your eyes and bring your attention to your heart center. Take slow, deep breaths into your heart center. Know that your heart is an important source of emotional wisdom, just as your brain is a source of intellectual wisdom.
Inhale, then exhale. Continue to breathe slowly and deeply as you pay attention to what lies within. Then, try to recall three things about your day that you’re grateful for. They can be small things such as a smile, a conversation, or a sunset. Whatever comes to mind for you is perfect.
Once you have three things you’re grateful for, start to breathe the energy of these things into your heart center. As you inhale, imagine your heart filling with the joy that these things have brought you. As you exhale, create space.
Continue to breathe, and as you inhale, start to imagine those three things being planted in your heart like seeds in the earth. As you exhale, you create space. As you inhale, you plant positive experiences in your heart, like a gardener tending a garden.
Once you’ve planted those seeds, turn your attention to them and do an “inner smile.” An “inner smile” is a smile that isn’t to the world around you, but to yourself. Imagine yourself smiling at the seeds you just planted. (It’s okay if you smile to the world also.
Continue to inhale and exhale as you smile at the things you’re grateful for. You can imagine your inner smile as sunlight and water that you’re giving to the seeds within your heart.
As you continue to water your seeds and send them sunlight, imagine your seeds starting to blossom. Within your heart, the things you appreciate are blossoming into beautiful, radiant flowers or other plants that give you joy. You can imagine your seeds blossoming into whatever you like, just as long that they bring you joy.
You can continue doing this meditation for any other things you feel grateful for. Perhaps you can plant seeds of love for friends or family members. Or, maybe you want to plant a seed of appreciation for your health. There are no limits when it comes to what you’re appreciative for or what you want to cultivate.
Here’s a quick recap:
Breathe slowly and deeply into your heart center.Think of three things you’re grateful for.As you inhale, plant those three things in your heart like seeds in the earth.Continue breathing and smile to your seeds. Imagine your smile to be sunlight and water that you’re giving to your seeds.Imagine your seeds blossoming in your heart, bringing you joy and happiness.
Now that you know this gratitude meditation you can do it whenever you want to. Some people choose to make this part of their daily routine. Just like anything, the more you practice gratitude, the easier it is to experience on a consistent basis. As this meditation teaches, your own internal feelings are like seeds in a garden. The more you water the beautiful flowers and give them sunlight, the more vibrantly they’ll blossom when they’re ready to sprout.
Feel free to share this meditation with friends or family members. It’s a great way to create positive connections and share loving experiences with those in your life. Again, don’t forget that the entire year is a great time to cultivate gratitude, not only the holiday season.