Power of Therapeutic use of Gratitude

We have been trained to look at the negativity around us; problems in others, our lives or ourselves; at our limitations and our unfulfilled desires. This problem orientation makes us sad and vulnerable. This may have had some purpose when we were living in a highly dangerous environment in primitive times and may have helped us to keep us safe and striving to fill the lack, however, now this tendency to focus on negativity has sever negative consequences. If we only focus on what is wrong, it makes us feel unhappy, frustrated, angry or sad. On the contrary, being grateful for what we have and what is good in our lives creates a sense of satisfaction, happiness and joy.

Through the ages, people from all walks of life have shared their wisdom about their virtues of gratitude. Also described as thankfulness and appreciation, expression of gratitude include a “Namaste Mudra” (hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest. This gesture is also called Añjali Mudrā or Pranamasana), a bow, a handshake, a kiss and a gift. Gratitude is something more than an outward expression; it is much deeper and has far-reaching repercussions.

Gratitude is definitely the most powerful “intellectual process” that we have. If it takes away the pathology of mind, the desire to control and egocentric attitude, then naturally all kinds of distress or any other insecurity will vaporize – for the simple reason that gratefulness consists of a few fundamentals of psychic awakening. One of those is that your existence is a contribution of various people, things and this entire universe, which gives a sense of belonging and meaning. Our greatest need is to be needed. We must realise that not only human beings but also the trees, the moon, the sun and the stars all need you and are doing something or the other for our existence. Though we are very small, almost nothing for this cosmos but without a defined purpose we would not have been here and not taken good care of. Thus we feel connected with the divine and our purpose of being here. Without you there would be a gap which nobody else could fill. “You are irreplaceable”.

The most interesting thing is that we get this without doing anything for it. We get this love, care and respect just for being a part of this beautiful existence.

“We may deserve it or we may not, but it is simply the nature of existence, its overflowing joy, its overflowing love, its overflowing nourishment and its playfulness. It goes on giving without asking anything in return. Its greatness, its vastness; our smallness, our nothingness…. Its abundance and our nobodiness immediately create a deep, heartfelt feeling of gratitude”. Osho

This feeling of being loved, desired and grateful brings immense refinement to us. It brings beauty, sense of dignity and sense of freedom. This simple feeing, that you are nothing and the whole universe is available with all its treasures to you, is enlightening and overwhelming. The best that we can do in return is be “thankful”. If you feel a deep gratitude towards anything, you are clean and washed towards that, you are just what you are with strings attached. This is the end of all sorts of neurosis.

Our neurosis is a result of our insecurities, our perception of threats, our feeling of loneliness- in short the shadow of our ego. In gratitude the ego disappears and thus the shadow disappears automatically. The alchemy of gratitude is that it evaporates your ego. It turns loneliness into belongingness, insecurity into security and threats into opportunities.

If you remain mindful about this state of gratitude, gradually it will penetrate through your body and soul. Then you may not need to practice it consciously, it will simply be there like breathing and heartbeat. When you will be full of the feeling of gratitude, it is then you will arrive at the desired. You will be able to feel true happiness and bliss. Now you are not just a part of this existence, but “you are it”.

When you practise giving attention to what you love, appreciate your experiences and emotions that benefit your whole body. Experiencing genuine gratitude can help manage stress, calm your nervous system, improve your immune function and even prolong your life span. The practice of appreciation is also said to speed up recovery from illness and boost your attitude to life.

So let’s express our gratitude to the supreme existence, to the almighty by thanking him or her for giving us the opportunity to be in this world and unifying with it. Also, reflect about how you feel after and what thoughts come to your mind. You can recite every day the following version of this serenity prayer written by an American thinker Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) –

Dear Almighty, please grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as you design;
This beautiful world as it is, not as I would want it;
trusting that you will make all things right
if I surrender to your design;
that I will be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with you forever in the next.

BE CONFIDENT THAT YOU CAN DO IT ALL!!!!

About the Author

Dr Ashutosh Srivastava
Director of Psyuni Institute of Psychology and Applied Psychology.

Ashutosh Srivastava is a Practising Clinical Psychotherapist with over 15 years of hands-on experience in the sphere of Behaviou

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