Gratitude: Your ticket to inner freedom
If we were to pay attention to our inner thoughts all day long, we might notice an estimated 80,000 or more thoughts per day. How many of those thoughts, if we paid attention to the quality of thoughts would be negative? I'm guessing about 90% or more.
Why is it that so much of our thinking is made of up negativity? We could guess that many come from the reptilian part of our mind, in which sensing, seeing and feeling threats paid off., at a time in which threats were "real." Right?, it wouldn't be in the interest of survival humming a tune by Neil Young, when bam, we were pulverized by a hungry lion. It wouldn't be in our best interest to be daydreaming winning the lottery and to fall into a pothole. Therefore, we tend to tune into our outer world to give us information about whether to be prepared for disaster, or any incoming threats that could heighten our survival, and that can be our ego survival.
Our nature of thinking then, can oscillate between thoughts of , "am I safe in this relationship?, am I safe in my job?, am I safe in my body?, am I safe economically?, what will happen if...."
You can see from the nature of thoughts that we think ourselves into future what if's, with most of anxious thinking that never materializes. When we're not concerned with worries of the future, we then visit the past, and worry about the past repeating itself into the future. So, we may concern ourselves with past hurts, wounds, and misfortunes, bad decision making, and the like, to avoid having this happen in the future.
Isn't it almost humorous what we can do to ourselves by thought alone? There are many famous quotes that incite within us the compounded issues that come from thought. For instance, the practice of regular thinking is the source of habits. We can habitually train ourselves from a thought, which over time, can seem to be the source of suffering. For instance, there is a great deal of difference between pain and suffering. Think about the pain you might feel when getting something out of the oven, and, like me, cheap oven mitts, and ouch I burnt myself. That's pain. Suffering is when we talk about the pain to ourselves, and everyone else for weeks, months and year after a painful encounter. That's a choice.
However, with that being said, pain can become interpreted as the reason for things not going our way. So, if I got really burnt from the oven, then I could argue that my hand or arm was now limiting me, and so I can't do certain things. Maybe I have an unsightly scar, or maybe the tissues hurt, or maybe I have lost some kind of mobility, The point is, the pain can live within our cellular memories, creating additional perceptions of hardship. This again is what happens when we massage a thought over time, it then "lives" within the body. And, as we know by now, the body is the source of habit as the subconscious mind runs the body.
Think about how many times you have felt burnt by someone, taken advantage of, or not given credit from something you offered in a job, a relationship, somehow just being overlooked or hurt. Now, imagine the person you feel most burned by? Can you image her or him? What do you tell yourself that makes the suffering linger? Did you feel betrayed, rejected, defeated, unloved, unworthy, dismissed, to name a few? It's really not about "them" is it? It's about your feelings and your thoughts in regards to a painful memory and event.
What we do is hold the pain inside of us, and it sometimes takes up occupancy not just in our energy of mind, but in our energy of body. We could spend years torturing ourselves for a regretful decision, or blaming someone else for our lot in life. But this is so far from what's really true. What's really true is that we have a choice to make perception and thought our friend or our foe. What would you prefer? When we spend time sifting through life's goods and bars, what we often surmise, is that we have choices within the choices.
Can you imagine what your life would look and feel like if you created a daily intent of happiness? Can you imagine if your day was blessed with appreciation and gratitude? Well, with thought and practice, you can have a sustained experience that can lead you to a life of rising up with in your inner being. One step, that really helps is to start each day with saying out loud all that you are grateful for. For instance, I am grateful for my health, for my seeking nature, for my family, for my animals, for my love of a good story, etc. Just spend about 2-3 minutes on this.
A second exercise is to find a partner that is willing to be a grateful partner. Exchange for a few days a week in email or text what you are grateful for. This practice creates accountability on both ends. Just say what you are grateful for, and nothing else.
What you may notice is that by setting your happiness intent, and practicing daily gratitude that you smile more, you seek more joy in others, you find greater acceptance in yourself. You realize that the outside world still tick rocks within a similar pattern, but your relationship to it changes. You will still have moments of falling out of joy through hurt and disappointment, or whatever the situation and connected thought and feeling, but you may notice that you the pain lifts and the suffering diminishes much more quickly.
Over time your freedom is knowing that you have a choice in what your perceive, how you think and feel, and with the power of intention, you can sense, feel and experience greater fulfillment each moment.