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In a world full of hustle and bustle and stress, it happens to me (and probably to you) to appreciate the little things in life. But gratitude is a force that always helps me to let happiness unfold in everyday life. Not only does it have spiritual significance, but it also affects our brains, bodies, and relationships in positive ways. In this blog post, I will show you the different aspects of gratitude and you can learn how to cultivate this important quality in your life.
Why is gratitude the key to happiness?
Join me in diving into the world of gratitude and discover how it can lead you to a fulfilling and grateful life.
The spiritual meaning of gratitude
Gratitude goes beyond the mere recognition of external circumstances. It is the heart’s reminder of the abundance that surrounds us. By consciously opening ourselves to the good in our lives, we develop a deeper connection to ourselves, to other people, and to the world around us. For me, gratitude is an expression of oneness.
Gratitude and Advaita
In the teaching of Advaita, the philosophical concept of nondual consciousness, gratitude plays a significant role. Advaita teaches that the true nature of our being is inseparable from universal consciousness. It is the realization that we are ultimately one with everything.
Gratitude arises when we recognize this oneness and are aware that everything around us has a profound impact on our lives. From this realization, gratitude grows all by itself, without practicing it.
Gratitude in Advaita means overcoming duality and seeing through the illusion of separation. It is the recognition that everything we encounter is a manifestation of universal consciousness. This gratitude is an expression of the beauty and depth of life. We recognize that every moment is a gift and that we are never dependent on external factors of happiness on our spiritual path.
The combination of gratitude and Advaita helps us to look at life with a deeper appreciation. It is like an art to be connected with our true being – to be one.
What gratitude can do for you.
Gratitude has the power to change our perception and focus us on the positive. It helps us cope better with stressful situations and find happiness in the small moments of everyday life. Studies have shown that grateful people have higher life satisfaction and better mental well-being. Months after someone has done a gratitude exercise, you can measure the change in the brain.
What does gratitude do in the brain?
When we are grateful, we activate certain areas of our brain that are associated with positive emotions and reward. Gratitude strengthens the neurological connections that help us better process positive experiences and ward off negative thoughts and emotions. The neural connections we strengthen are more quickly retrieved – and therefore more easily accessed. More gratitude thus causes more gratitude.
What does gratitude do in the body?
Gratitude has also been shown to have positive effects on our bodies. It lowers stress hormone levels, improves sleep and strengthens the immune system. People who are grateful often have better physical health and a lower risk of certain diseases.
What does gratitude do in relationships?
Grateful people maintain healthier and more fulfilling relationships. By expressing our gratitude to others, we strengthen our connection with them and foster a sense of appreciation and cohesion. Gratitude is a powerful tool for strengthening relationships and reducing conflict.
How can you train gratitude?
Gratitude is a quality that we can train – like a muscle. Meditation and mindfulness are two effective ways to develop and train this skill. Through regular practice, we can sharpen our focus on the positive and cultivate an attitude of gratitude in our daily lives. Join us for one of our upcoming dates together. You can either join us on Mondays to sit in silence at 8pm. Or join us at the next retreat – online or offline. It fills me with great gratitude to meditate together with Madhukar. I might mention here that an Advaitin always meditates – it doesn’t need the eyes to be closed. Have you experienced this?
How can you express gratitude?
There are many ways to express gratitude. A smile, a smile, and your worries and those of the person you are talking to fall away. I just remembered a situation the day before yesterday on the bus. A woman at the end of a long working day here in Spain. She looks at me exhausted, I smile. Not a strained, made-up smile, but this heartfelt smile that comes from deep within. Her features relax, her shoulders drop ever so slightly, she smiles back. And she sinks into the seat on the bus a little lower. She takes one deep breath and exhales again. We both get off at the same stop and somehow we are connected.
You can also give a compliment, thank someone, or give nice feedback. Many keep a gratitude journal. At the end of the day, do you find three events of the day to be grateful for? Do you share the ones from today or yesterday here in the comments? Then the gratitude multiplies. My experience is, it’s contagious….
What does Madhukar say about gratitude?
Recently Madhukar was sitting in a cafe in Ibiza and said – wait, I’ll let him speak for himself in the video.
If you don’t like to play the video, here’s his powerful statement.
Namaste, wonderful people. I’m sitting here in a cafe on the island of Ibiza. Enjoy the background music and the sounds of a cafe. I have a simple message today, which is: “Thankfulness is the key to happiness. I often experience that people who are unhappy are not thankful. To say: “I am thankful!”, and to be thankful is so beneficial. It is so precious to be in this life, to be in this body, and to enjoy what is given to us. Whatever the life situation is, it is precious to experience, precious to grow, precious to enjoy. This is very, very important. Gratitude, faithfulness is the key to simple happiness. Have a wonderful day. Om Shanti.
Why are people grateful to the guru?
The hearts of flowers you see in the photos on this page were created out of gratitude and joy. These two unfold naturally when someone is in the presence of the guru – as in retreat, for example. Then, over time, it expands into everyday life. That is my experience. It’s not about the guru showing me spiritual insights. Nor does it require knowledge or methods, as teachers do, to help me unfold potential. No, it unfolds naturally, all by itself, in his presence. Through his guidance, wisdom and presence, the guru enables students and devotees to discover their true self and live it in everyday life. Gratitude then arises automatically – without any further exercises or methods. This is my experience.
Who writes here?
Hi, I’m Shivani
Blogger and podcaster at Madhukar Enlighten Life. I have known Madhukar since 2004 and am doing what I can to help this important message of happiness reach a great many people.
What are you grateful for?
What is your experience with gratitude? What are you grateful for? Share it with me and with everyone who reads here in the comments.