To begin this mindfulness meditation on gratitude, start with something simple you are experiencing at this moment.
It could be the side of a tree swaying gently in the wind, or the warmth of sunlight on your skin, or maybe the experience of comfort from the chair you are sitting in, or the simple wonder of pausing in the midst of our busy life to engage with this practice right now.
Choose one thing to notice and allow it fully into your experience.
Let appreciation and gratitude arise and fill your body and mind.
Now think of someone you don’t know well but who has supported your experience today in some way. It could be a bus driver, the person who stacked the fruit in the grocery store, or the author of the book that you are reading right now.
Allow yourself to feel how you’ve benefited from the gift of their work. Allow yourself to feel appreciation and gratitude.
Think about the tools that you use that support your work and your life. Your computer, your books, buildings, equipment.
Choose one thing and consider all that was needed for its creation.
Appreciate and feel gratitude that you have access to these tools.
Feel gratitude for people you work and live with.
Think of a particular person whose work or effort directly supports your work in life. Appreciate their contribution, their good intention, saying in your mind to them, “Thank you.”
Now bring to mind someone you care about. Picture them in your mind.
Think about what this person means to you. What you appreciate about them, who they are, what you have an experience together, the experience that they’ve had in your life.
As you imagine them, notice what feelings you are experiencing, what sensations you detect in your body, especially those in the area of your heart.
Let yourself express gratitude towards them. Thanking them for being who they are and for their presence in your life. Imagine them receiving your gratitude.
Now bring to mind something, in particular, you are grateful for today. Feel the appreciation and gratitude for its presence in your life.
As you bring these things to mind for what you’re grateful, allow yourself to rest in the experience.
When you cultivate the practice of gratitude, you may even find yourself able to be grateful for difficult or unpleasant experiences.
If you’d like to bring to mind an experience in your life that is challenging, one for which you’d like to be able to express gratitude.
Offer your gratitude and appreciation. Thank this challenge for what it may offer you. Gratitude for our body, gratitude for our mind, gratitude for the simple fact of being alive at this moment.
Finally, appreciate the opportunity to pause and experience this very practice of gratitude in itself. For all that you have brought to mind during this meditation, for all of the countless gifts in your life, say, “Thank you.”
To all the people, to all that is around you, and part of you. For all that you have experienced in your life, for all of this, thank you.
Allow the sense of gratitude to fill you completely as you breathe in and breath out.
Settling on the breath right here, right now, fully alive and present in this very moment.
Finish with a full deep breath in and a long slow breath out. Gently and slowly open your eyes and return your awareness to the place where you are.
If you’d like to extend the practice of gratitude meditation, cultivate the habit of thinking something you feel grateful for every morning right when you wake up. If it helps feel free to write it down in a journal. You might also try expressing appreciation today to a person for whom you feel grateful.
Simply saying, “thank you”.
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Sean Fargo is the Founder of Mindfulness Exercises, a former Buddhist monk of 2 years, a trainer for the mindfulness program born at Google, an Integral Coach from New Ventures West, and an international mindfulness teacher trainer. He can be reached at [email protected]
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