Gratitude allows us to be aware of the wonder and abundance of the present moment and not take things for granted: I am alive – I am breathing – all of my internal organs are working together in harmony without my intervention to keep me alive.
Generosity brings joy to others as it is a manifestation that you care and are present for them.
Gratitude and generosity enhance our interconnectedness with one another.
By: Jon Kabbat-Zinn
Let’s start with Gratitude. The word itself is so vast and encompasses so many different aspects of life that we can be grateful for.
I know that for me, in the past, it was challenging to feel grateful if I was tangled up in a story of stress. I just couldn’t find any space to experience gratitude if I was feeling upset, stressed out or overwhelmed.
I have since learned, through practicing mindfulness, that I have the capacity to expand my awareness to include EVERYTHING! Meaning, my experience of life doesn’t have to be black or white/either/or/good or bad but I can expand to include ALL OF IT!!!
So I might be having a hard day or experiencing some challenge or stress and at the same time, I can expand to include the beauty of the sunset, the smell of the Magnolias on our street, the affection of my little kitty and a hug from my husband – and really feel the gratitude for being alive EVEN if I am experiencing a challenging time.
And the truth is, that if we are paying attention, nothing stays the same anyway. It’s always changing from one moment to the next. One moment feeling gratitude. The next moment feeling something unpleasant……………like clouds passing by in the sky…………….you can’t hold onto a cloud……………a thought…………………a feeling……………….an emotion………………
And Generosity: There are so many ways we can express our generosity. We can be generous in how we offer our time and space to really be with someone and listen to them. Remember how it feels when someone has really been there for you deeply listening and not trying to fix or offer advice?
We can be generous with our resources, giving money to charities that are important to what we value.
That is the interconnectedness that naturally surrounds us when we practice Gratitude and Generosity.
How do you experience Gratitude and Generosity in your life?
Notice how you feel when you are aware of being grateful……………or when you are unconditionally expressing generosity of your time, energy, resources, money, skills or talents.
I know that for me there is a felt sense experience of warmth and expansion and openness in my heart when I am in gratitude and expressing generosity.
As opposed to when I am feeling ungrateful or stingy and miserly, I feel contracted and shut down.
This concludes the series on the 9 Foundational Attitudes of Mindfulness.