Today I’d like to complete the post on mindfulness and gratitude and explore deeper the benefits of a continuous gratitude practice. I look at three ways of practicing gratitude and their potential to change our chemical imprints and eventually transform our identities and our lives.
1) Intentionally look for the good in the mundane.
This is our main practice in the 30 days challenge. Pausing and expressing gratitude to what is. When we intentionally look for the “good” we are creating new memories deep down in our brains. All we need to remember is that neurons that fire together wire together, hence, the more we get our neurons firing about positive facts, the more they’ll be wiring up positive and neural structures.
I can’t stress enough how important this is. Our experiences are created by associated memory. Every thought produces a chemical reaction which in turns produces an other thought etc etc. So when we invoke gratitude we “re-fire”. When we pay attention to how gratitude feels we “re-wire”. The more neurons that fire and thus wire together, the stronger the trace in memory. the longer that something is held in awareness and the more emotionally stimulating it is, the deeper the imprint it will leave. By noticing how gratitude FEELS we literally change the imprint of thoughts on our body. On our being.
You are welcome to practice with the mindfulness of gratitude meditations.
3) Filling yourself up with a sense of gratitude
This practice require some imagination but it is extremely beneficial. The idea is to take the sensation of gratitude and enhance it. You can sense, for example, a warm glow spreading through your chest, a golden light filing you body from head to toe, a liquid brown light emerging from the ground and pushes out any negativity or a violet flame that replaces negativity, grief or loss.
Why does practicing gratitude in this way is beneficial?
Once again, when a “good” experience is held in awareness, its neurons are firing busily away, and gradually wiring together. By repeatedly filling ourselves up with the sensation of “good” we will eventually become less dependent on external events in order to feel good. Our happiness and love will become more unconditional, based on an inner fullness rather than on whether the momentary facts in your life happen to be “good” ones.
A gradual change
But we need to practice in order to experience long standing results. Each time we practice it makes only a little difference. It’s only the accumulated experiences that will, gradually, recreate the neural web and change the fabric of our brain and “ourselves”.
Remember, we are going against all our tendencies. Against millions of years of patterned behavior of leaning towards the negative. Practicing gratitude (and, of course, mindfulness) is doing something very radical, thus, not easy.
The next step in human evolution
Practicing gratitude this way creates a gradual shift in our human consciousness. Moving away from habitual tendencies of leaning towards the “negative” and moving towards love, compassion and appreciation. Every moment of mindfulness counts. Every moment of contentment. Every moment of love and appreciation. Every moment of expanding our awareness and accepting the “good” with the “bad” is a moment of transformation. Of transcending our thoughts, transcending our identity. Moving towards a shift in collective consciousness.
Mahatma Gandhi said it beautifully in one of my favorite quotes
….Our thoughts become our words. Our words become our actions. Our actions become our habits. Our habits become our values. Our values become our destiny…
The Beatles simplified it to perfection saying all you need is love.