Contemplation:

Gratitude

October 28, 2020 by Mark Power

There is a lot of neuroscience research about gratitude these days. The sciences are taking a deeper interest in what contemplatives, artists and poets practice as foundational to their crafts: deeper understanding of life and reality, beauty, and creativity. Whatever inspires us toward gratitude, whether science, personal development, or art, we have to do our own research–we have to uncover gratitude for ourselves. I say uncover because that’s how I experience it. I don’t create gratitude, I rediscover it, uncover it, again and again.

Start by becoming still. 

  • Bring your attention to whatever you’re feeling right now: sensations in your body as well as any emotional feeling.
  • Now guide your attention to your senses and briefly notice something about each of your sense perceptions: sight, sound, smell, taste, touch.
  • Take a few full breaths and as you exhale see if you can release a little of whatever is keeping your mind busy in the moment. You know that feeling when your shoulders release as you let go of stress–it’s like that! 
  • Return your attention to your senses, one at a time, and ask the question, 

“What is it about my ability to (see, hear, smell, taste, touch) that I’m grateful for?

  • If your mind answers quickly, that’s fine. But don’t stop there.
  • Take another moment to respond to the question with your whole being, be fully present. 
  • Briefly hold the question with your full-relaxed-attention.
  • Notice what arises, or perhaps nothing noticeable arises. Either is just right.
  • What is your experience of “gratitude” right now?

Options for further exploration

Try writing about gratitude: what you’re grateful for on a particular day; persons you’re grateful for; places and natural beauty that inspire your gratitude. Be attentive to your sensations, senses and feelings. The current research says that 3-minutes a day makes a measurable difference in our quality of life. How does your research compare?

References

To stimulate your curiosity here are some resources for further investigation.

  • Greatergood.berkeley.edu
  • Positive Psychology – positivepsychology.com
  • Center for Healthy Minds – centerforhealthyminds.org
  • Rick Hanson – rickhanson.org
  • TED – talk by Brother David Stendl-Rast
  • Gratefulness.org

Here’s a simple practice to aid your research!

Visit Mark’s website for other resources. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram @markpowercoaching. I offer weekly reflections and short guided practices on FB Live Wednesdays at 12ET –Poetry and Presence–for the remainder of 2020. Join me for a brief respite in the middle of your week!

Return to Additional Resources
Contemplation: Pause-Relax-Reflect
Contemplation: Compassionate Presence