EXERCISE 16: The Practice – 5: Thankfulness:
Try to develop an attitude of ‘radical gratitude.’ See what happens when you start being thankful for everything you have.
- After you have stilled yourself and centred, take a moment to step back and recognize your richness, your wealth. I don’t mean money. Try health, comfort, safety, intelligence, sight, hearing, love, friends, family…
- Recall moments in your life that have meant something significant to you, things that you have found beautiful, that have given you life.
- In the first instance, simply try out an attitude of gratitude. Then, on the basis that if God is anything, God is love, try being grateful to God for God’s gifts.
- See now if you can now become thankful for hardships, for challenges, for failures, for critics, for enemies. Thankful for the lessons you might have learned; thankful for the skills you might have acquired in the process.
- Now try again, this time being thankful to God. How does that feel? Can you, at the same time avoid an image of a god who punishes, or who lets bad things happen to ‘for your own good,’ or who’s trying to ‘teach you a lesson’? Maybe you can imagine a God who walks with you through whatever happens to you and tries to comfort you and suggest ways in which you might learn from it.
Just TRY it! See if you can experience a slight difference in the way you see things after a while.
As you perfect your daily spiritual practice, you will include an ‘Awareness Examen,’ which is essentially a review of the day from the point of view of what you are grateful for, and then, what you are not grateful for. This daily practice allows you to begin seeing the hand of God at work in your life.
Don’t forget to journal all this!