Last week, in India we celebrated the Birthday of Lord Ganesh, the elephant God. This particular deity has always been very special for me for various reasons, primarily because of his looks, He is the wise one, whose head is that of an elephant and the rest of his body is that of a human. As a child He was an object of curiosity and wonderment. Just like me He is the favorite of everyone, especially the little children.
Lord Ganesh is invoked ( prayed to ) prior to all auspicious activities. He is the source of confidence and strength, it is said that invoking Lord Ganesh takes care of all the obstacles in the path of any desired course of action.
The most important and beautiful part of this invocation is expressing gratefulness for existence. That is why, in India, everything has become a deity -the Sun, the Stars, the Wealth and the Wisdom, all essential components of life are worshiped as deities. The reason being that one must always be grateful for ‘what is’ and for ‘what you have’, and my short note today revolves around this topic.
The essentiality of ‘being grateful’.
In these times when the speed of our achievements can only be matched by the frequency of our desires, when wants are churned out at faster RPM’s and when goals increase with every gigabyte we add, I think gratitude has become the most under used and under rated attitude.
It is alright to have goals for the future and work the present towards it, but I think it is equally important to take some time to love, appreciate and feel grateful for what you have now.
It is often seen, that when we are chasing a goal we get caught up in worrying about little things that really do not matter anymore, some things from the past or probably some past failures or setbacks. This is when remembering to be thankful for what we have in the present and feeling good about it can make a lot of difference. For this reason invoking the deity in India has been an essential practice as it allows the person to refocus and realign him/herself to the qualities desired for that occasion or challenge in life.
Life is full of simple and beautiful things, if and only if we take time to look around with open eyes. Sometimes joy lies in places we take for granted. An attitude of feeling grateful and being appreciative allows us to focus on the many good things that occur in our day to day life. Just give it a chance, the flowers will speak to you, the birds will smile at you, the water you drink will feel pure, the taste of the food will be relished more, it’s all there in those little things right in front of you, just look with eyes of gratefulness.
New research is showing that practicing gratitude may be the fastest single pathway to happiness, health, long life, and prosperity. In a remarkable study performed by Dr. Robert Emmons, people who kept a gratitude journal for just 3 weeks measured 25% higher on life satisfaction afterward. They exercised more, drank alcohol less, their families and friends noticed that they were nicer to be around and they slept well. Isn’t that great, probably that is why in some cultures the children are taught to recite gratitude prayers just before going to bed. Just being thankful for the bed we sleep on and for the roof upon our head can make us sleep better. Further studies have also shown how sense of gratitude helps recover from past traumas quickly and even if the past memories surface the feeling is less intense. A sense of gratitude and reflection helps make sense of negative events, these events can be looked at with a different perspective and lessons can be learned from them.
Its beautiful and helpful to have an attitude of gratitude, it helps the body and mind, and helps us to stay in the positive zone, when we are busy appreciating what we have and feeling good there’s less time to think anything negative, right ?
Here are some simple methods of generating gratitude and reminding to be grateful as much as we can,
- Take five slow deep breaths when you remember.
- Remind yourself to be present in the present.
- Appreciate the beauty of some things in your environment.
- Give events only the time they deserve.
- Maintain a gratitude journal everyday for 10 minutes write down the good things that happened to you that day.
- Make a gratitude list, quickly without much thought make a list of things you are thankful for, you will be surprised.
Just before you go to bed thank the body that you live in, that the mind that makes you think and thank you for being YOU.