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  • Research has found that people who practice gratitude regularly have lower blood pressure, better immunity and a generally improved mood.

Gratitude prayer

Gracious God, in the busy-ness of my day, I sometimes forget to stop to thank you for all that is good in my life.

My blessings are many and my heart is filled with gratefulness for the gift of living, for the ability to love and be loved, for the opportunity to see the everyday wonders of creation, for sleep and water, for a mind that thinks and a body that feels.

I thank you, too, for those things in my life that are less than I would hope them to be. Things that seem challenging, unfair, or difficult. When my heart feels stretched and empty, and pools of tears form in my weary eyes, still I rejoice that you are as near to me as my next breath and that in the midst of turbulence, I am growing and learning.

In the silence of my soul, I thank you most of all for your unconditional and eternal love.

Gratitude practice can be used to promote a positive mood, hope, and resilience. As we experience positive emotions such as gratitude, loving-kindness, and compassion, our awareness broadens and our creativity and problem-solving capacities blossom, and we become more effective in whatever we choose to do.

Gratitude meditation

1. To begin, find a safe, quiet place where you know you will not be disturbed. Please don’t listen to this recording while you are driving.

2. We will keep track of time for you, and ring a gentle chime when 10 minutes have elapsed [start timer].

3. Sit upright in a comfortable, stable position where you feel fully supported, and your back, neck, and head are straight. Or lie down on your back in a comfortable place, with some support under your knees. Make sure you’ll be warm enough. You might want to get a sweater or blanket if the room is cool. Loosen any restrictive clothing that would prevent you from breathing comfortably.

4. Allow your eyes to gently close or maintain a soft focus, gazing 6-12 feet in front of you.

5. Take a slow, deep breath to bring yourself to the present moment and begin the process of feeling more peaceful and centered. Breathe into the belly so it expands as you breathe in and gets smaller as you breathe out.

6. Now, take a minute or two to mentally scan your body for any areas where there is tightness, tension, or soreness and breathe your warm, oxygen-filled breath into that area; as you breathe out, let the tension release, breathing it out.

7. Now, notice any worries, fear, anger, irritation, jealousy, or judgment. Just breathe into those emotions, noting them, and allowing them to flow out as you breathe out. Another breath into any uncomfortable emotions, and breathing out, releasing them [5 seconds].

8. Now any thoughts of memories, plans, associations, anything other than being here, breathing, just breathe into those thoughts, and as you breathe out, allow the thoughts to flow out with the breath [5 seconds].

9. Now that our bodies, emotions, and thoughts are a little clearer, a bit more spacious and open, we can begin to focus on the events, experiences, people, pets, or possessions for which we feel grateful [5 seconds].

10. First, recall that if you are listening to this recording, you already have several marvelous gifts:

  • The gift of life itself, the most precious gift. Someone gave birth to you, someone fed you as an infant, changed your diaper, clothed you, bathed you, taught you to speak and to understand.
  • The gift of hearing, so you can hear and learn—whether it’s the song of a bird, the notes of a band or orchestra, the songs of singing and voices, the sound of your own breath flowing in and flowing out.
  • The gift of a heartbeat, steady, regular, moment after moment, pumping fresh, life-giving blood to all your organs [5 seconds].

Now think about all the things we have today that make our lives easier and more comfortable than they were for our great-grandparents.

  • We flip a switch, and light appears.
  • We turn a tap and clean, drinkable water flows.
  • We adjust a thermostat, and a room grows warmer or cooler.
  • We have a roof to keep us dry when it rains, walls to keep out the cold wind, windows to let in the light, screens to keep out insects.
  • We enter a vehicle and it takes us where we want to go.
  • We have access to machines that wash our clothes. And we have clothes to wear, places to store them.
  • There are machines that store our food at just the right temperature and help us cook it without us having to gather wood.
  • We have indoor plumbing.
  • We have public libraries that have thousands of books and recordings, free for anyone to borrow and read.
  • We have public schools that can teach us to read and write, skills that were available to only the very few just a few hundred years ago [5 seconds].

Now, take a moment to reflect on all the thousands of people who have worked hard, some without knowing you at all, to make your life easier or more pleasant.

  • Some who plant, grow, and harvest your food.
  • Some who transport that food to market.
  • A team of people who make the roads and railways that make it easier to transport the food.
  • Another team who maintain those vehicles. And drivers, loaders, unloaders.
  • Those who take the time to design the store, the shelves, the packaging that keeps the food safe and allows you to find what you need.
  • Postal service. Someone who sorts the mail. Others who deliver it.
  • Those who maintain the servers so you can get and send email and access the Internet.
  • Those who design operations and systems for gathering, sorting, and disposing of trash and recycling.
  • Those who gather news stories and photos, and those who create the many mechanisms by which the news can reach you.
  • All those who play sports, create art or music, or plays or poems or films to entertain and uplift you.

And most of these are people you have never met or barely know.

11. Now, consider the people and pets you know who enrich your life, those who smile at you and cheer you on, those family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and peers, those ancestors who worked so you could live well, those friends who support you when you need a shoulder or a hand [5 seconds].

12. Now, take a moment to reflect on your own reasons for feeling grateful in this moment [15 seconds].

13. There is so much to feel grateful for in this moment now [10 seconds]. Gratitude fills our hearts and minds, uplifting our spirit [10 seconds].

14. When you finish [CHIME], you can notice the feeling of your body and breath in this place. Rest quietly for several minutes, noticing how you feel throughout your body, emotions, and thoughts compared with before you started. No judging, just noticing. Gently stretch your hands and arms, feet and legs. If you choose to stand, do so slowly. With practice, you can find yourself feeling grateful easily, wherever you are. You may choose to keep a journal, noting three to five things each day for which you feel particularly grateful. You can draw on the strength of this gratitude whenever you wish.

15. Thank you for practicing this guided heart-centered meditation to promote a sense of gratitude.

One of the easiest ways to feel happier is to direct your attention to the good things in your life. Equally, shining a positive light on bad or neutral things changes how you feel about them. When you’re caught in a cycle of despair you can easily step out of it by consciously calling to mind all that is positive and life-firming in the situation that is causing you frustration.

Source of All Blessings
I am Grateful
for My life
for the Blessings
My breath
the beating of My heart

Source of All Blessings
I am Grateful
for Beloved Ones who
share life with me
those in our world beside me
and those in worlds beyond my knowing

Source of All Blessings
I am Grateful
to share life with our Human Family
Jewish, Christian, Moslem, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh
May we walk gently upon our Earth

Source of All Blessings
I am Grateful
to be one with All Creation
the flight of birdwings
the swirling of blueshoals oceans deep
the runnings of wilderness creatures
the sway of forests green

Source of All Blessing
I am Grateful
to be part of the spiraling
of all space and time
beyond my imagination
Yes and again Yes I am grateful
to always be here
where else could I go?
For all this and more
I am Grateful

General thankfulness meditation

The purpose of the meditation is to cultivate an open and gentle feeling of thankfulness for all that is good in your life. For the gift of life itself. Although it can be, much of the anger and frustration we experience isn’t directed on a specific object. In either case, cultivating gratitude can replace those painful feelings with positive ones.

Go at your own pace and include anything else that comes to mind:

  1. Settle yourself in a relaxed posture. Take a few deep, calming breaths to relax and centre. Let your awareness move to your immediate environment: all the things you can smell, taste, touch, see, hear. Say to yourself: “For this, I am grateful.”
  2. Next, bring to mind those people in your life to whom you are close: your friends, family, partner…. Say to yourself, “For this, I am grateful.”
  3. Next, turn your attention onto yourself: you are a unique individual, blessed with imagination, the ability to communicate, to learn from the past and plan for the future, to overcome any pain you may be experiencing. Say to yourself: “For this, I am grateful.”
  4. Finally, rest into the realization that life is a precious gift. That you have been born into a period of immense prosperity, that you have the gift of health, culture and access to spiritual teachings. Say to yourself: “For this, I am grateful.”

Earth mother prayer
We return thanks to our mother, the earth, which sustains us.
We return thanks to the rivers and streams, which supply us with waters.
We return thanks to all herbs, which furnish medicine for the cure of our diseases.
We return thanks to the corn, and to her sisters, the beans and the squashes, which give us life.
We return thanks to the wind, which moving the air has banished diseases.
We return thanks to the moon and the stars,
which have given us their light when the sun was gone.
We return thanks to the sun, that he has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye.
Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit, in whom is embodied all goodness, and who directs all things for the good of his children.

Greatful for friends and family meditation
Set aside a quiet time during which you can reflect on some of the many things you could be thankful for. As a starting point, you might read the passage below to yourself or out loud, adapting it to your situation as you like.

There really is so much to be thankful for.

I am grateful to my friends. For their good qualities, for the good things they have done for me. For the ways they are fun, for the good times we’ve had.

I am grateful for my children – if I have any – for the delight and love they bring, for the sweet smell of their hair and the soft touch of their skin. For the first time they smiled at me or walked into my arms. For the meaning they bring to life. For receiving my love and lessons. For being their own persons, for giving me their own love and lessons. Having them at all is a miracle, and the rest is details.

I appreciate myself. For the love I have given to others, for all the conversations had, for all the helpful acts toward others, for all the dishes done. For the long hours I’ve worked, the hoops I’ve jumped through to keep all those balls up in the air. For the efforts I’ve made, the many times I’ve stayed patient, the many times I’ve found more to give inside when I thought I was empty.

I appreciate my lovers and mates, past and present. I can focus on one of these persons, perhaps my spouse or mate if I’m currently in a relationship, and bring to mind the ways he or she has been good to me. I appreciate the fun we’ve had together, the humor and the companionship. I feel grateful for the times of support, understanding, and sympathy. For sweating and suffering too.

I feel thankful for the life I’ve already had, for the good parts of my childhood, for everything I’ve learned, for good friends and beautiful sights. For the roof over my head and the bread on my table, for being able to have a life that is healthier, longer, and freer than most people have ever dreamed of. For this beautiful world, where each breath is a gift of air, each dawn a gift of light. For the plants and animals that die so I may live. For the extraordinary gifts of evolution I carry in each cell of my body, for the capabilities accumulated during three and a half billion years of life’s presence on our planet.

I feel thankful for the wonder of the universe, for all the atoms in my body—the carbon in my bones, the oxygen and iron in my blood—that were born in the heart of a star billions of years ago, to drift through space, to form a sun and planets, to form the hand that holds this piece of paper and the eye that reads this word.

I feel thankful for all that was in order for me to be. For grace, for wisdom, for the sacred, for spirit as I know it. For this moment, this breath, this sight. For every good thing that was, that is, that ever will be