Tis the “season” of giving. Today, give yourself an invaluable gift that will bring virtue year-round to yourself and others. It costs nothing but a little time, and can be practiced just about anywhere, anytime…
What is it?
A brief mediation on gratitude.
As the great Roman orator Marcus Tullius Circero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” The ability to appreciate who you are and your present place in the world is one of the greatest tools for generating inner compassion. This self-love is vital for cultivating compassion outwards. For me, embracing all I have versus what I don’t has radically brightened my life and ambitions. It has also inspired a tremendous amount of self-growth.
The practice is very simple and will only take a matter of minutes. While structured meditation is beneficial, you can do this anywhere. Some of my greatest gratitude meditations have occurred on the subway, bumping through India on a bus, navigating the busy streets of New York, teaching yoga, or while listening to music by my favorite legends like Joni Mitchell…
How to begin?
Think of five things for which you’re truly grateful. Perhaps it’s a relationship that brings you knowledge and joy. Maybe you are grateful for the lessons you’ve acquired from your teacher(s). What do you take for granted? And, what freedoms and options do you have that other don’t? What advantages have you had in life that someone else hasn’t? What about your support system? What difficult lessons have I had and been able to grow from?
Further analysis of your gratitude isn’t necessary, for reflection is an incredibly powerful informer. If possible, write down your thoughts. Let inspiration ensue in time…
Note: There are time when cultivating gratitude is more challenging, especially if sorrow is more abundant. I hope the following quote, from Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet”, can help:
“When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
Sophie Herbert is an alignment focused yoga teacher (and perpetual student), a singer-songwriter, and a visual artist. She has lived, studied, and volunteered extensively in India; teaches yoga in Brooklyn and Manhattan; and recently released her first full-length album, "Take a Clear Look." Please visit her website at SophieHerbert.com.