This week in the United States, we celebrate Thanksgiving. Although we collectively set aside one day a year to give thanks, we can choose to give thanks every day, and cultivate gratitude as a spiritual practice.
I first came across Jack Kornfield through his book A Path with Heart. His writings taught me about the Buddhist practice of Loving-Kindness.
Years later, I sat with him and deepened my practice in days-long meditation at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Northern California.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year in the United States, I would like to share with you one of his meditations on gratitude and joy.
In the midst of the hustle and bustle activity that many of us often find ourselves in the holiday season, my intention is that this meditation offer you a space for reflection, restoration and renewal.
Gratitude provides an opening for you to connect with your interior space.
When you expand into a greater state of gratitude, you begin to realize the infinite ways that you are loved and supported.
My suggestion is that you read each sentence, either quietly or out loud, and then allow some moments of silence to let the words sink in. If you’d like, you can repeat the sentence.
Let the words expand your awareness of the interconnections of all of life.
And when you are finished, simply breathe and be open to receive.
Whether or not you realize it, life continues to bestow its blessings, and all you need do is open to receive.
Abundant Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving.
A Meditation on Gratitude and Joy by Jack Kornfield
Let yourself sit quietly and at ease. Allow your body to be relaxed and open, your breath natural, your heart easy.
Begin the practice of gratitude by feeling how year after year you have cared for your own life.
Now let yourself begin to acknowledge all that has supported you in this care:
With gratitude I remember the people, animals, plants, insects, creatures of the sky and sea, air and water, fire and earth, all whose joyful exertion blesses my life every day.
With gratitude I remember the care and labor of a thousand generations of elders and ancestors who came before me.
I offer my gratitude for the safety and well-being I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the blessing of this earth I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the measure of health I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the family and friends I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the community I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the teachings and lessons I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the life I have been given.
Continue to breathe gently.
Bring to mind someone you care about, someone it is easy to rejoice for. Picture them and feel the natural joy you have for their well-being, for their happiness and success.
With each breath, offer them your grateful, heartfelt wishes:
May you be joyful.
May your happiness increase.
May you not be separated from great happiness.
May your good fortune and the causes for your joy and happiness increase.
Sense the sympathetic joy and caring in each phrase.
When you feel some degree of natural gratitude for the happiness of this loved one, extend this practice to another person you care about. Recite the same simple phrases that express your heart’s intention.
Then gradually open the meditation to include neutral people, difficult people, and even enemies until you extend sympathetic joy to all beings everywhere, young and old, near and far.
Practice dwelling in joy until the deliberate effort of practice drops away and the intentions of joy blend into the natural joy of your own wise heart.
Joselito is a spiritual life coach helping people create a purposeful, spiritual path to career and financial freedom.
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