Why Giving Thanks Enriches Our Lives

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One of the best quotes about gratitude comes from the book Winnie-the-Pooh. A.A. Milne writes, "Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude."

Maybe the best thing about gratitude is that any opening can contain its fullness, and no matter what may be weighing a heart down, the lightness of gratitude is still at home there.

The Enrichment of Giving Thanks

  • Heart access. Humans always feel better when living from the heart, and appreciation gives us instant access to the heart’s realm. This is not science, although there may be data about it on a spreadsheet somewhere; this is just experience and observation. When we give gratitude for something or someone – or receive it – the heart opens, and our awareness follows. Even if our heart seems shriveled from tedium or suffering, the fulness of gratitude gently spreads its wings.
  • Gratitude is receptive. Meister Eckhart was likely spot on when he wrote, "If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough." Gratitude not only fills and opens our heart. Praying, meditating on or muttering thanks also puts us in a state of receptivity. An appreciative heart is open to accepting what hearts have to offer. In our giving we are prepared for receiving.
  • Alive to wonder. There is something about gratitude that is akin to awe and wonder. Maybe that is what Thornton Wilder meant when he wrote, "We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." If nothing else, giving thanks reminds us of what we hold dear, and at least one famous book states that where our treasure is, our heart is found there also.
  • Thankfulness pays tribute. We cannot go wrong with a practice that generates peace, wonder, fullness, openness and awareness in the one place we find the best of ourselves: our heart. Even during darker days when the heart is pinched with pain or grief, our appreciation pays tribute to what was lost, helping to soothe our sorrow.

 
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