The focus of this month is an extension of last month’s. It is called The Magic Ten and Beyond, also the title of the book my teacher Sharon Gannon recently published. Here, spiritual practices we can incorporate into our daily lives are listed. Last month, I shared the other practices— the Magic 10 warm-up sequence, giving blessings, feeding the birds. But actually, the very first recommendation in this book is the practice of gratitude. Sharon-ji explains that our brain can be rewired. If we are in the habit of complaining, then it becomes easier and easier to keep complaining, and we may feel stuck in this viscous cycle. The good news is that we can train our brain to do the opposite, we can practice gratitude every single morning until such time that gratitude becomes the first thing we experience the moment we wake up.
When I was stuck in my sense of entitlement, I had no humility, and hence, no gratitude. In other words, I was just full of myself. It’s impossible to be happy with that kind of arrogant self-centeredness. Humility and gratitude are like two sides of the same coin. When we humble ourselves, when we let go of the need for perfection, when we are able to be grateful for how things are instead of constantly being attached to how much better things could be in the future, we create a home within ourselves, a safety net where we feel happy, simply for breathing this breath, simply for inhabiting this body, simply for being alive at this moment.
Think of one thing you are grateful for today. And repeat in your mind: I am grateful for— and say what you are grateful for. Repeat this like a mantra. Eventually you may find you no longer need the object. I am grateful—without object or condition. I am grateful— it becomes a natural state.