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Grateful For All Of It

"Contentment is found in the realization

of how much you already have."

Zen Teaching

As we move towards Thanksgiving Day next week, it can a perfect time to open our hearts to feeling grateful for all of the abundance and blessings that fill our lives. If we are honest however, we can often find ourselves spending a lot of our time focused on what is lacking in this moment, instead of how much we already have. We tell ourselves that we can't possibly be fulfilled until we get, or do something that we think will make us happy. Yet, as the Zen proverb above teaches, the quickest way to feel contentment and satisfaction is to simply recognize the abundance and blessings that already fill our lives.

This can be done by taking time to pause for a moment, look around you and feel gratitude in your heart for what is happening at this moment, not just on Thanksgiving Day. Perhaps it's a beautiful sunset, a bite of delicious food, your favorite song or the breath you're taking right Now. By opening our hearts to gratitude and paying attention to what is unfolding right Now, we begin to feel a joy that is not dependent on anything outside us being a particular way. Science has also shown that, when we breathe this kind of gratitude into our hearts, all kinds of 'feel good' chemicals are released into our bodies, giving rise to even greater feelings of joy and equanimity.

Of course, gratitude is easy when we get what we want, and things seem to be going our way. But true happiness can only be experienced on a regular basis when we are willing to see everything that shows up in our lives as a blessing, no matter how difficult it may seem at the time. Everyone has gone through hardships that were painful, but turned out to be the best thing that could have happened in the long run for our learning and growth. When we remember this, we can begin to fully appreciate, not only the pleasant moments, but also the times of apparent adversity, knowing that everything is happening for our highest benefit.

As we radiate gratitude for everything in our lives, we notice that Life sends us more and more to be grateful for. Then, everyday can be a Thanksgiving Day, filled with the joy of just being here in this grand adventure, radiating Love and compassion, and filled with an appreciation for all of the tremendous blessings that are continuously flowing into our lives.


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