Gratitude

Gratitude must begin with the one who created us because we receive the
greatest gift from our Creator: life. How can we sincerely show our
gratitude to God and say thank you from the bottom of our hearts? The best
way to show our gratitude is to receive the gift, and give our thanks by
enjoying the gift, by living our lives fully and completely.


For many of us, it is easy to give, but very difficult to receive. When
we master gratitude, we can easily receive without feeling guilty because we
know that by receiving, we give pleasure to the one who is giving. For
example, if someone cooks a meal for you, the best way to say thank you for
the gift is to really enjoy the food. The one who cooks for you feels
pleasure just seeing how much you enjoy it. If you cook a meal for your own
children, and you see how much they enjoy your food, you can keep cooking
the rest of your life just to feel their pleasure!


The same thing is true with life. Our Creator gives us the gift of life,
and the way to say, “Thank you, God, for life,” is by enjoying our lives, by
living our lives intensely, by being who we really are. Life is passing so
quickly. Even if we live one hundred years, life is too short. What will we
do with our lives? Should we spend our lives feeling sorry for ourselves?
Should we spend our lives creating conflict with the people we love by
judging them, trying to control them, or telling them how we want them to
be? Should we spend our lives being afraid to be alive, afraid to express
what we are in the world?


The way to express our gratitude for life is by being truly alive, not
hiding from life in a corner, or watching life pass us by. The biggest fear
we have is not the fear of dying, but the fear to be alive, to be ourselves,
to say what we feel, to ask for what we want, to say yes when we want to say
yes, and no when we want to say no. To express what is in our hearts is to
be truly alive. If we pretend to be what we are not, how can we be truly
alive?


To live with gratitude is to enjoy every moment of this precious gift
that comes from God. We don¹t have to say, “Thank you, God,” for life; we
can show our gratitude to God by living in happiness and love. Gratitude is
one of the greatest expressions of love. When we master gratitude, we give
our love generously because we know there is no end to our love. Whatever we
give, we give with generosity because our Creator is so generous with us.
And we know that we are worthy of receiving all that is good in life because
we come from God, and God is all there is. If God is everywhere and exists
within all things, then how can God withhold life¹s gifts from God¹s own
creations?


Today is a wonderful day to be grateful, to express all the gratitude
that is in your heart. Why not practice gratitude in every moment until you
master gratitude, until it becomes a habit? The more you practice gratitude,
the more you see how much there is to be grateful for, and your life becomes
an ongoing celebration of joy and happiness. When you master gratitude, you
perceive God in everything, and your reaction is love and gratitude for the
greatest gift, which is life.


I suggest that we live the rest of our lives with gratitude and
appreciation for what we receive just by being alive. Just being alive, just
the pleasure of breathing, is enough to fill our hearts with gratitude.


Now let¹s have a strong communion of love with our Creator. Feel these
words as if they are coming directly from your own heart. Together with one
heart, let¹s send these beautiful words of gratitude to the one who created
us.


Prayer for Gratitude

Today, Creator of the Universe, my heart is filled with gratitude for the
gift of life you have given me. Thank you for the opportunity to experience
this beautiful body and this wonderful mind. Today, Lord, I want to express
my gratitude for everything I have received from you.


I know the way to say thank you for life is by fully enjoying every
moment of my life. And the only way to enjoy every moment is to love. Today,
I will express all the love and happiness that exist in my heart. I will
love your creations, I will love myself, and I will love the people who live
with me. I know that life is too short to waste in misery and drama with the
people I love. I will enjoy the presence of the people I love, respecting
their choices in life as I respect my own.


Today, I will graciously receive your gifts by enjoying your gifts, by
enjoying the beauty of all your creation. Help me to be as generous as you
are, to share what I have with generosity, just as you share your gifts so
generously with me. Help me to become a master of gratitude, generosity, and
love so that I can enjoy all of your creations.


Today, Lord, help me to manifest my creation as you manifest the
universe, to express the beauty of my spirit in the supreme art of the
human: the art of dreaming my life. Today, Lord, I give you all of my
gratitude and love because you have given me life. Amen.

From the book “Prayers: A Communion with our Creator” © 2001 by Miguel
Angel Ruiz, M.D. and Janet Mills. Reprinted by permission of Amber-Allen
Publishing, Inc. P.O. Box 6657, San Rafael, CA 94903. All rights reserved.

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