“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” — Meister Eckhart
What does it truly mean to say ‘thank you?’ We say thank you so often that it becomes an almost automatic reaction. Much like the casual ‘how are you doing?’ we throw around, but never really intend to find out how the other person actually is doing. We may say the words thank you frequently, but how many times do we truly feel the gratitude that is intended to go with the words? There are three different types of gratitude. First, there is gratitude for what has already happened. This is the gratitude we feel when we passed a test or found our soul mate or recognized the kindness someone has shown. It is a powerful practice to take time in the evening to reflect and write a list of things to be grateful for. For several years I kept a gratitude journal and each night before going to bed I listed at least three things I was grateful for that day. The practice made me more aware throughout the day as I was constantly on the lookout for things to be grateful for that I could add to my list. When we say thank you for what we have been given or what we have experienced, that is past gratitude.
The second type of gratitude is future gratitude. This is where we give thanks for the blessings that are awaiting us. Giving thanks in advance is one of the things Jesus demonstrated. Before healing or performing any of his miracles, he always looked up and thanked God. He always did this before he took any action. While it is easy to give thanks in advance for the meal that we are preparing to eat when we see it on the table in front of us, it is not as easy to be grateful for things we have yet to see. Giving prayers of future gratitude for the new job opportunity or the perfect home in the perfect location when it doesn’t seem to be a reality at the moment is not easy. Being able to use the power of imagination to envision whatever it is we want to be thankful for when it hasn’t yet come into reality is sometimes a stretch, but getting on the vibration of the gratitude shifts our perception.
The third kind of gratitude is present moment gratitude. Right now take a deep breath and then feel grateful for the breath that enters your body. Thank your heart for pumping, your eyes for reading this your body for giving you the gift of life. Then be quiet and feel the sensation of gratitude. We truly have a choice in this present moment, despite what circumstances may be swirling around us, to be grateful. As Albert Einstein said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Gratitude wakes us up to the miracles that we so often miss in our daily lives. THANK YOU!