A Morning Gratitude Practice
The New Year is a great time to remind ourselves of things that are great to do to promote peace of mind and happiness. Things like a morning gratitude practice. Gratitude is, as Pema Chodron says, 'a magical golden key to being alive in a full, unrestricted and inspired way'.
I have written much about gratitude and consider it one of the most important foundational practices for happiness, resilience and peace of mind. Gratitude can help us heal feelings of sadness. It can also help us to feel uplifted and to find the blessings in a difficult situation and turn a so-called problem into an opportunity to learn. For example I can be grateful for the grumpy person ahead of me in coffee cue for reminding me to be patient.
Many years ago I was introduced to a morning gratitude practice. It is wonderful way to start each morning and certainly sets a positive mood for the day. When I wake up I bring to mind my amazing life and all those in it and be thankful for it all.
I go through being thankful for having woken up, and all those who are helping to make my amazing life possible. These can include, having a house to live in, family, friends, and loved ones, my work and those I work with, and all the resources I have, shelter, money, food, clothes, etc. I can also bring to mind gratitude for all those people I don’t even know that make my life possible, including farmers who grow my food, workers who make all the appliances, gadgets and clothes I use, public transport drivers and road construction workers who help me to get around, and health care workers and police. While I have given many examples here even just a quick contemplation on few things that we are grateful for each morning is a great morning habit to develop.
Lama Marut calls this simple morning gratitude practice part one of the ‘two-part morning loll’. He suggests we don't get up straight away but instead loll around in bed contemplating our amazing lives and being grateful for all those people who make our lives possible. We can also keep a gratitude journal where we list the things we are grateful for each morning. Adding to it during the day keeps us mindful to be grateful.
The second contemplation we can do following the gratitude part of the morning loll is to think about impermanence and that none of us know when our lives will end. The purpose of this is not to be morbid but rather to help us prioritise what is important in out lives and to motivate us to make the most of each precious day. Lama Marut suggests we bring to mind these two things when we wake and contemplate them while lolling around in bed.
These two simple daily habits open up a sense of joy and get us in touch with what is important in our lives. They are a great way to start each day!
With love and my very best wishes to us all