Be happy, my child, it is the surest way of progress.The Mother, 12 April 1934
We are sharing with you some inspiration on the pursuit of happiness. As human beings, we seem to be constantly looking for happiness, and often go out searching for different stimuli that give us a little ‘high’ of what we call happiness: new, strong experiences, holidays, a new car, a romantic interest. Yet every high holds in it the promise of a low. Many spiritual teachers, including the visionaries that created Auroville, instead teach that true and lasting joy comes from inner peace and from cultivating a deep connection with your innermost Self.
One of the practices that can help you on this path is Gratitude. Mother says of Gratitude: ‘It is you who open all the closed doors and allow the saving Grace to enter.’ Feeling gratitude can be a profound experience. You probably remember gratitude as a natural occurrence that may have come to you a few times in your life, such as when you connected to a child or observed an act of generosity, or simply enjoyed the setting sun. The feeling of gratitude is not only good in that moment, but also has positive effects on your overall wellbeing, scientific studies have found. For example, it is proven that grateful people act more caring, kind, honest, and more respectful towards others.
In short, gratitude is a powerful energy that can give us a deeper sense of being grounded, something which we especially need in challenging times like this. Fortunately, we do not have to wait for gratitude to come into our lives; it is something that we can cultivate within ourselves with some simple yet powerful practices. These will help you to see the small beautiful things, and ultimately, bring you peace and happiness.
We are sending you love and hope from Auroville – to wherever you might be.
To practice gratitude in the simplest way, we encourage you to deeply notice the small things in your life that gave you a spark of gratitude. Below is the outline for a 5-day Gratitude Journal that can help you to become more aware. Set aside some time every week to contemplate the questions and connect to that feeling of gratitude.
… some beautiful sentences that you heard today
… things that tasted very good.
… positive news that you heard recently.
… something beautiful that you experienced out of the blue.
… something that you are excited about in your life right now.
… an interaction with a loved one that you feel good about.
… a happy moment that happened in the past few days. Describe the experience as a photograph or scene (I see, I hear…)
… something that you were afraid of, but that you did anyway.
… the biggest positive surprise this week.
… a song that lightens your mood.
Review what you have written down in the last 4 days. Some of these experiences may be far in the past, but it will still be possible to connect to the feelings of gratitude that they gave you. To anchor these in your being, try the following short meditation:
- Choose one moment of gratitude from your journal that you remember as especially powerful.
- Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
- Remember the event and connect to the feelings that it brings up in you.
- Focus on how the event or moment touched you; which of the things that are important to you were being expressed in that moment? Was it the experience of beauty, of friendship, or community? Or was it that you felt understood, heard, or accepted? Or something else entirely?
- When you find out what exactly you are grateful for (beauty, friendship, acceptance…) take a moment to appreciate this gift in your life. Feel it deeply. If some sadness arises, try to accept that as part of the experience of gratitude.
- When you are ready, come out of the meditation slowly. Try to take some quiet time to let the experience settle.