Many of us walk around this planet feeling pretty frustrated and full of angst most of the time. When it comes down to it, life can be challenging. With all the responsibilities that one has between home and work, not to mention a social life, unless you find a way to care for yourself, and in that, connection to a sense of gratitude, living can be pretty unbearable.
Frank Jude Boccio pens this recent Yoga Journal post on how to take daily stock of one’s life through meditation. The purpose isn’t to judge, but rather to see things how they are without attachment. His exercise guides a person through a series of three questions. The first is below.
What have I received today?
Be specific and reflect on as many things as you can recall. It can be something as simple as your partner’s smile, the sound of a bird singing at dawn, the driver who let you merge into the crowded freeway. Remember, the motivation or attitude of those who gave you something is not the issue. Maybe you were offered lunch because you showed up at lunchtime, not because your friend made a personal effort to make you lunch. The fact is, you were fed, and you can feel gratitude for that. The mere fact that you benefited from someone’s actions is all that is needed to cultivate gratitude.
Notice which of these things you did not appreciate as they happened. Can you recall what was taking your attention when one of these acts of grace occurred? Were you stuck in problem-solving mode, thinking of your to-do list, or making judgments?
We often live as if the world owes us. As you reflect on what you have been given today, you will likely see that, if anything, you owe the world an insurmountable debt. This insight is more than merely humbling; you may find yourself feeling a deeper sense of gratitude and a natural desire to be generous in serving others.
Read Boccio’s full exercise on how to practice gratitude and non-attachment through meditation here.