In Unity, gratitude is a spiritual attitude that we do our best to practice every day of the year, striving to live with a grateful heart. We tune in to the energy of gratitude to acknowledge the abundant blessings in our lives. We center ourselves in gratitude as we practice affirmative prayer. Expressing gratitude should be as natural as breathing. However, often we find ourselves struggling to feel grateful in the midst of challenging experiences.
Gratitude Is Not Just For Thanksgiving
Have you ever found it difficult to feel gratitude in the face of a health crisis or relationship challenge? Perhaps, you have experienced financial limitations, and found it difficult to be grateful for the apparent lack in your life. There are many areas of our lives where we might struggle to feel gratitude, but those are precisely the times when we should be practicing everyday gratitude with a grateful heart.
Thanksgiving is not just a reactionary emotional response to something good happening in our life. Nor, is it just a holiday we celebrate once a year. Thanksgiving, or gratitude, is a causative, creative energy. It has the potential to transform our lives in seemingly miraculous ways, if we consciously practice it everyday.
Many times we may practice gratitude out of a sense of obligation. Someone does something for us, or gives us something, and we feel obligated to respond with grateful appreciation. We may feel that we also owe it to God to give thanks for all our blessings. These are good practices, which can bring about a high-level wellness to our experience. But there is so much more potential for the practice of gratitude in our lives. We should express gratitude everyday in all circumstances, not just at Thanksgiving, or when we are giving thanks for someone else’s expression of gratitude to us.
God Doesn’t Need Your Gratitude, You Do
Will God be disturbed if we do not give thanks for our blessings? No! It doesn’t make any difference to God if you give thanks or not. But, it makes a world of difference to you. Gratitude is not for God. However, giving thanks to God is important to you and the quality of your experience. Gratitude is an essential state of consciousness to maintain, because it keeps you in an awareness of your fundamental oneness with the divine flow of creation.
A truly grateful heart needs nothing to feel gratitude. Feeling grateful should be as spontaneous as breathing. If it were, being happy would be automatic. Practicing everyday gratitude keeps us spiritually fit, so that it simply flows forth from within, becoming causative creative energy in our lives. If you wish to practice everyday gratitude and cultivate a grateful heart, here are a couple of strategies to consider daily.
In All Things Be Grateful
The apostle Paul gave some advice that has been puzzling to many people over time. He said, “In all things give thanks.” But, how can we be grateful for the current state of our world? Can we give thanks for a personal financial crisis? Or an illness? Indeed, any kind of challenge or obstacle we perceive in the world. These kinds of experiences can be a challenge to practicing everyday gratitude with a grateful heart.
But note carefully, Paul didn’t say, “Give thanks for all things.” He said, “In all things, give thanks.” In other words, despite the problems a lack consciousness perceives, or even because of them, practicing gratitude allows us to re-center ourselves in the awareness of the ever-presence of divine creative substance.
Paul is stressing the importance of an actively grateful heart. Expressing a grateful heart is more than simply expressing gratitude for things or people in our lives. A heart that is proactively grateful is capable of creative greatness! The proactively grateful heart expresses gratitude in all things, and actually opens the way for the fullness of divine, creative flow. This kind of gratitude becomes an attractive causative power, willingly receiving every great thing necessary for its fullest expression.
Bless Everything All The Time
If you want to live with an expectation of abundance in your consciousness, bless everything all the time! This also means bless everyone all the time…no exceptions! This second strategy helps us to develop a proactive sense of expectancy in our lives, because we are paying it forward, so to speak. So, we live with an expectation that as we give, so do we receive. We give and receive in the awareness that the universe wishes to deliver us greater things than we can imagine for ourselves.
For example, when Jesus fed the multitude of 5,000 people with a small boy’s lunch, he demonstrated the creative potential of thanksgiving and gratitude. Before he performed this amazing miracle, Jesus did a strange thing. He mindfully blessed the available supply of food, and expressed his deepest gratitude for its presence.
After Jesus blessed the food, it was distributed to the multitude in such abundance that when everyone had finished eating, there were 12 baskets full left over. Let us also practice blessing all that we have in the same way Jesus did. Bless all that comes into our minds, through our thoughts and feelings. Bless even the enemies and challenges that come in to our experience.
Do so, while being consciously aware that to bless means “to confer prosperity upon.” Every time you bless someone or something, you are conferring the energy of prosperity and abundance upon them, and also upon yourself. Since we are always projecting some thought or other, toward everything we have or don’t have, don’t let those projections be unmindful, negative thoughts.
Take a lesson from Jesus that actively blessing what we have has miraculous, creative power. Jesus demonstrated that this causative energy of gratitude can be used by any one of us. “What I can do, you can do, and even greater things than these shall you do.” So, bless your home, your work, your money supply, your family, your friends, your health, even your challenges and your enemies. Bless is all, all the time! Confer prosperity upon everyone and everything. As you do, you will be creating a dynamic, creative consciousness for yourself, one that expects abundance and expresses everyday gratitude with a grateful heart.