When I invite gratitude into my life, there is an immediate and delicious softening around the edges of my ego. My heart opens. I breathe more fully. The muscles, tissues and cells of my body relax. My mind lets go of its incessant occupation with what isn’t, and quietly eases into the reality of what is.
The experience of gratitude is always here-and-now. I can give thanks, and feel thankful, only in the present moment. Settling into the present moment, I reveal my authentic beingness. I shift from a limited narcissitic perspective into the eternal sacredness of connection with All That Is.
Gratitude seems at first to be very self-centered. I am grateful for what I have in my life, for the gifts and abundance that surround me, nourish and support me. Grateful for the friends I have, the work I do, the opportunities the universe offers me. Grateful for my health or, if I am in dis-ease, grateful for an improvement back toward health. Like Pollyanna, I can find a reason to be grateful regardless of how bleak things may seem. Even the tiniest reason counts.
How can personal gratitude serve as a springboard to spiritual expansion? The act of gratitude itself, the physical, emotional and mental joining that takes place at the moment of giving thanks releases a powerful energy in the circuitry of our consciousness. This release takes place regardless of what we are being grateful for. Even a single moment of gratitude can alter our inner dynamic from a linear vibration of separateness to a circular flow of wholeness and belonging. From separate self to the One Self.
Significant amplification of this process takes place when we give thanks together. The shared energy of a group increases the transformation for each individual. This occurs whether we are giving thanks as a family before dinner, or in a formal ceremony of prayer in a spiritual community.
A love relationship can be a spiritual community of two. Gratitude plays a significant role in this elevation of relationship. Expressing our appreciation for one another is perhaps more important than anything else we do together. When we do so on a regular basis, our relationship is strengthened and empowered. Relationships improve when there is purposeful recognition of the various contributions each person makes – the preparation of a dinner, the mowing of a lawn. To thank another for simply being in our lives is enough to make a difference. When an aura of gratitude pervades a relationship, both individuals are continually renewed in spirit.
The element of gratitude also transforms sexual relations. Sex with a loving partner allows us to experience gratitude in the very depths of our soul. When we expose our bodies to another, when we uncover our hidden inner regions, when we permit another to touch and caress us into a joyous explosion of our sexuality, the pleasure of the release and the resulting glow is heightened by our grateful sense of having been accepted, valued, loved. Not only women, but men too, feel grateful when they open to their receptive yin nature. We yearn to be cared for at this level of intimacy, but are so often afraid to ask for it or admit how important it is to us. Perhaps we fear that too much gratitude might consume or weaken us. But allowing ourselves to enjoy being intimately treasured by another will not take away the strength of our own self-valuation. A relationship that is rich and balanced in shared gratitude is one that allows us to transcend the personal self and enter into the transcendent realm of sacred union.
Every moment of gratitude brings us into a here-and-now presence and enriches our lives.
When we enter into such moments with our lover, we merge together into the core of our being.