Gratitude as Meditation

This morning I couldn’t sleep so at 5:30 I was running around the high school track behind our house. I marveled once again at a divine request granted as I loped not only without pain but with some measure of excitement for the whole activity. It hadn’t even occurred to me to ask the blessing (after 40 years I just accepted that difficulty) until recently and it has made such a tremendous difference in my life.

With each step I began tapping out a rhythm in my mind, speaking as if I were typing, naming every time I could think of that a divine request had been granted. It occurred to me that we can want something so desperately at the time and then when we receive it we are immediately relieved, momentarily thankful, and then forget the whole incident as we move to the next thing we want.

With each memory of each boon granted I remembered also the situation in which I found myself at that time. What an amazing journey that 20 minutes at the track was! If I had any question that the heavens were aware of my existence, it was extinguished. Not only was I filled with an immense sense of gratitude, but my trust in my faith grew, my sense that I would be helped in future circumstances was strengthened, my understanding of the workings of the God I worship were deepened, and a profound sense of calm and self-confidence settled over me.

I remember once hearing a speaker say that if we wanted to be sure to receive an answer from God we could do a simple 2-part activity. First, establish a time when there are no external demands on us, find a solitary place, and pour out our souls in gratitude for specific blessings we have been given, not stopping until our minds are truly emptied, even if it takes hours. Second, quietly ask what God would like us to know with the full intention of acting on it. I can tell you that it works and it works immediately because I have done it.

Gratitude is more than a feel-good activity. Gratitude is common in all faiths and a primary component of many psychological treatment systems. It is a profoundly mind-expanding, anxiety-reducing, depression-lifting activity. Meditation is as essential in my day anymore as eating or sleeping. Combining the two in a mind-focusing activity is an amazing way to start the day.