It’s amazing how much things can change in a few short weeks. A month ago, we lived a “normal” existence, and now life is anything but normal. With the many reports we’re hearing of deaths, disease, medical insufficiency, and an expectation of this trajectory to continue, the idea of gratitude might not be hitting the radar. In the frighteningly grim existence that we now find ourselves, should we be giving thanks, as the Bible verse suggests?
A few weeks ago, before the world changed, I went for a hike on a beautiful trail in northern Arizona. The sun was warm, the trees were majestic, and the giant boulders seemed contemplative. The longer I hiked, the more profound my thoughts became, until finally, I arrived at a deep sense of gratitude. I found myself expressing love and appreciation for every tree and boulder I touched. This went on for a while until my heart seemed to overflow, and an intense feeling of tenderness overtook me. Have you ever been overwhelmed with joy by a simple experience?
“. . . One who forgets the language of gratitude can never be on speaking terms with happiness.” – John Robbins
According to a very long list of studies done on gratitude and assembled and reported by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine (https://greatergood.berkeley.edu), the expression of gratitude has many benefits. These studies show that an individual expressing gratitude can benefit from lower blood pressure, better cholesterol levels, feeling more socially connected, experiencing less anger & anxiety, and better sleep. Bonus: some studies show that more gratitude also results in less materialism. Have you experienced benes from expressing gratitude?
In the documentary What the Bleep Do We Know?, you may recall the water experiments done by Dr. Emoto’s team. Water from a single source was encapsulated in different vessels & “given” messages. The water that received messages of hate & other negativity resulted in crystals that were ugly, but the water that was exposed to messages of love and gratitude were absolutely beautiful. Makes me think about the response of the water in our cells to expressions of appreciation from both ourselves and others.
“Everything in life is vibration.” – Albert Einstein
You may have heard the idea that whatever you focus on increases. According to cell biologist Bruce Lipton, PhD, author of Biology of Belief, “Quantum physics acknowledges that the observer is a participant in the creation of (her/his) world.” Worrying or focusing on negativity reduces our personal vibration, which then infuses our creations with low vibes, resulting in unhappiness and unhealthy experiences. Researchers at the HeartMath Institute (https://www.heartmath.org) have proven that the regular practice of expressing sincere gratitude raises our personal vibration. Which is followed by a much more desired outcome of higher vibrational creations and experiences.
Although it can be tough to switch into gratitude mode right now, maybe the verse “In all things give thanks” was given not as a religious edict, but as a practical way to bring light and hope into dark and difficult times. Express gratitude for the personal benefits. For your family. For your community. For the good vibes you can bring into our suffering reality. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”
Blessings for Gratitude,