Almost all spiritual practices put a heavy emphasis on gratitude. Buddhism teaches it as part of the dharma practice, In Christianity, they even have a day for it, i.e. “thanksgiving” and Islam puts a very heavy emphasis on saying “Alhamdulillah” which means “Praise and Thanks to the Lord”, no matter how minuscule or grand the blessing.
To be thankful is the trick to remaining joyous, feeling fulfilled, having a healthy self-esteem as well as healthy social relationships. Yet a majority of us find it tremendously difficult to pay gratitude, in fact, we are focused on what is “lacking” in our lives, i.e. the body we do not have, the car, the job or the partner we don’t have- the list is endless. We dwell on what is missing, give it our entire focus and as a result, feel bankrupt. According to the law of attraction, one attracts into their life what he or she focuses on, hence, feeling ungrateful would attract scarcity into one’s life.
I believe that our current culture of incessant consumerism programs us into never feeling “enough” as cut-throat capitalism, survives and thrives on the values of one’s insatiable yearning for “more”. Be it in terms of material, experiences and even human beings. Think about it, would the industries of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and junk food survive if we realised that having fruits and vegetables plays a major role in preventing diseases, looking fresh and pretty and satiating cravings?
Social Media pays testament to this culture of feeling lack and greedily yearning for more. It over emphasises the need to share ones accomplishments, which collectively puts pressure on one to keep us with the others, like rats in a race to nowhere. This isn’t to imply that social media is evil but that it depicts a very myopic version of reality that can feed one’s demons, if it is not used consciously.
In a system based on “rat-racism” and “growth at all costs”, we inevitably feel like we’re running on empty and fighting for resources as if we are on a treadmill that’d drop us the moment we stop to worry, compare and dwell on feeling inferior.
It’s a pity because the opposite of that is true. Reality is, that the gratitude mind-set allows one to attract more abundance into their life whereas the lack mindset could turn a prince into a pauper. Let me demonstrate. Mentally count 10 things that you are grateful for in your life right now. Visualize them and thank each one of them for being a part of your life.
Didn’t that give you an extra surge of energy? Yes, making this a daily practice can do wonders for your life. Gratitude restores one’s energy whereas feeling “lack” depletes one of it. Moreover, you can also pay gratitude for a seemingly bad situation in your life, such as having a strict and controlling parent, as when you think “Thank God at least he isn’t as bad as the parent who locked his child in a closet for 6 months” you wouldn’t fall into a pit of hopelessness. Your energy would’t deplete and you could look for solutions to taking back control on your own life.
We assume that if we feed thoughts of “lack” into our mind every day, we would not be driven to strive for more but I noticed that the opposite of that is true as gratitude inspires one. And being in the zone of inspiration, one attracts people and opportunities that vibrate on the same frequency.
Truth is that a feeling of lack could also be a driving force also but having insecurity and lack as your fuel is much more painful and inefficient than having gratitude as your fuel. On a more macro level, a lack of gratitude also contributes to poverty.
Think about it, if a billionaire heiress realised that she didn’t need to spend $20,000 on ONE bag out of a feeling of lack and paid gratitude to all that she has, she would start to feel abundant and as a result probably spend the same amount on something more worthwhile. She could donate the same amount to a diabetic in need of a kidney or a family struggling to afford a single meal per day. This isn’t to say that fashion brands are evil but when even the privileged ones feel lack, they fill their inner emptiness with greed for more- this is one of the reason’s as to why many elites suffer from depression. In fact, most billionaires don’t even NEED billions, but because they feel lack they choose to hoard it. However, there are wise people on the other end of the spectrum, such as writer J. K. Rowling who donated a huge chunk of her assets to charity. Similarly, if politicians who hoard insane amounts of wealth began paying gratitude, they would allow their wealth to trickle down to the masses and actually spend on important causes.
In a nutshell, gratitude can vastly improve the quality of your life and when collectively practiced, it becomes the antidote to poverty. In short, religiously practicing gratitude leads to abundance.