November 21st, 2013

On Gratitude

By Manduka Ambassador, Brian Hyman

“Thankfulness is the soul of beneficence.” – Rumi

My favorite way to express gratitude is to recite a gratitude list each evening before I go to sleep. I begin by thanking the universe or God for allowing me one more day to be a son, brother, friend, student, and teacher. Next, I give thanks for my senses, which may sound something like this:

I express gratitude for my eyes. Thank you for green trees, pink flowers, and brown mountains. Thank you for blue skies, white clouds, and red earth. Thank you for smiles on the faces of those I meet.

I express gratitude for my ears. Thank you for birds singing and children laughing. Thank you for dogs barking and hummingbirds buzzing. Thank you for ocean waves kissing the shoreline.

I express gratitude for my nose. Thank you for the smells of flowers, coffee, and chocolate. Thank you for my breath.

I express gratitude for my mouth. Thank you for the opportunities to eat, speak, and smile. Thank you for the ability to chant, sing, and teach.

I express gratitude for my skin. Thank you for the sensations of warmth when being embraced by friends. Thank you for the heat of the sun upon my face and shoulders.

I then give thanks for all things that brighten my day, like when my three year-old niece says, “I love you, Uncle Bwyaan!”; thanks for things that make me think about life in a different way; thanks for people who challenge me to grow spiritually; thanks for my yoga practice; thanks for my mother, a guardian angel; thanks for foods that sustain me; thanks for second (and third, and fourth…) chances; thanks for the power of forgiveness; and thanks for the wind, sun, stars, moon, and animals that I observe with wonder.

I give thanks until I come to the present moment, lying in bed. I finish the list by giving thanks for one more day that I was able to share experience, strength, and hope with others. Then I turn off the lights and go to sleep.

Gratitude – alongside yoga, prayer, and meditation – is an integral part of my daily spiritual practice. Gratitude helps me be less selfish and more selfless; less self-centered and more other-centered; less scattered and more grounded. Gratitude teaches me deep lessons about humility, integrity, and interconnectedness.

A list is one of many ways to explore gratitude. Other suggestions include offering a smile to a stranger; saying hello to someone who seems sad; cleaning trash at the beach; writing a letter of appreciation to a favorite author or teacher; and sending a card or flowers to someone who seems lonely.

Also, you can thank yourself each day for being an amazing mother or father; a terrific employee or employer; and a generous friend or lover.

How does gratitude play a role in your life? Share your “attitude of gratitude” below in the comments section, we would love to hear from you! Namaste.

On Gratitude

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