I have never been one to have a gratitude jar, or a journal where I list all things I’m grateful for. I know people who do this as a practice and love it, and it got me thinking about how the idea of gratitude fits in with our twice-daily meditation practice. The mind is always searching for greater and greater happiness. It is its nature to do this, so as soon as we get what we “want,” the spike in happiness immediately normalizes, and we’re left wanting more. The practice of gratitude inverts this process. It turns the awareness around from that ever-reaching, ever-grasping attention on what we don’t have, to recognizing what we do have. It’s similar meditation in which our attention, which is normally in object-oriented awareness and directed outward through the senses, goes inward effortlessly towards the field of Being which is the source of fulfillment. The ever-happiness-seeking mind finally finds what it has been looking for all along. Through meditation, rather than consciously putting our awareness on what we are grateful for, we are naturally and effortlessly in a “gratitude consciousness state” where gratitude is simply one of the currents ever-present in our awareness. In this consciousness state, our gratitude evolves out of a dualistic kind of gratitude to something all encompassing. Instead of being grateful just when things go “our way” versus "not our way" or for what we have as opposed to what we don’t have, we are grateful for what is, whatever is.
Gratitude seeps its way into the cracks of even the darkest moments. We see it all as a beautiful story, and find gratitude in every situation because it all presents an opportunity for connection.