When we first start out, we can be grateful for the great kindness or great beauty that we experience. And also when we start out, we might have a hard time feeling gratitude because the negativity in our lives might seem to outweigh the good by a large margin. This cannot be immediately changed, because we are not yet sensitive to gratitude.
Therefore, the One Sun Way cultivates gratitude through practice. Gratitude isn’t a thought. It’s not just thinking “thank you for this and that”. That’s more like a social etiquette or social obligation. Gratitude is an awareness. It is a sensitivity to the tremendous beauty that exists in life, no matter what else may be going on at the same time.
As a sense, it’s not something that we can force. Like you cannot suddenly force yourself to become aware of all the subtle flavors of wine on your first wine tasting trip. Filling your head with thoughts of wine and their descriptors does not make you a sommelier. Only through practice and experience can you cultivate that sensitivity.
But once cultivated, gratitude grants one a tremendous resilience against negativity and obstacles in life. Gratitude becomes a light that protects us against the darkness while illuminating the beauty of our shared existence.
Gratitude lights up the One Sun Path for you on this journey of self-actualization.
It is not easy to express the peace and wonder one feels when one experiences gratitude in its entirety. But it is something that can be reliably cultivated with simple gratitude practices.
- When you finish using anything you own: thank it (in your thought, or out loud)
eg. “Thank you car for helping me get to my friend’s house!”
eg. “Thank you TV for letting me enjoy the new episode of my favorite show”
eg. “Thank you yoga mat for helping me become healthier”
- Place the item back in where it belongs, back in its home.
Just as you long to return to the comfort of your home at the end of the day, so do your things.
- Repeat with everything
- After you’ve interacted with or communicated with someone, thank them in your thoughts.
eg. thank you friend for helping me make this decision.
eg. thank you roomate for helping make my rent affordable (even if you are so messy!)
eg. thank you family for caring about me.
- Repeat with each person that crosses your mind.
- Think of a nice thing that happened in your past.
- Thank that event for helping you in some way.
- Think of a not nice thing that happened in your past.
- Know that that event has helped you become the person that you are today.
- Know that today, you are someone on a path to becoming better.
- Thank that event for how it helped you to get to this point in your journey.
- Perform once each day
Having practiced gratitude, you might feel that life is a little bit more wonderful that you previously thought. You might also notice that you feel a lot more gratitude towards certain things and certain people than you do towards others.
That is a sign that you are becoming more aware of what resonates with you. You are becoming more aware of how to fill your life with the type of beauty that you appreciate.
Congratulations! You are moving closer to understanding yourself.
Take a moment to appreciate the journey you’ve taken thus far. With the insight and sensitivity you gained, you can now start to see the life that awaits you. This awareness sets the stage for the next guiding principle, honesty.