In many traditions the cultivation of gratitude is considered a spiritual practice. It is easy to see why, when we study what happens as we practice gratitude.
Our attention usually rests with the thoughts in our head. We know that thoughts come and go without our inviting them. They randomly pop in and out and they usually are focused on our needs and wants, or on how we can make the day unfold according to our preferences. When we practice gratitude, our attention shifts from the projection of what we want in the near of far future to what is right now. It reorients itself away from the story in our head to the present moment - to what is, as it is.
The power of gratitude lies in this shift. Our attention is no longer consumed with thoughts; it is now aligned with the Space in which the thoughts come and go. This is the same infinite Space we become aware of in Meditation - the Space that is the Source of all thoughts and also the Source of all that is in manifestation. Our lives, our bodies, the circumstances we experience personally and collectively are manifested forms of this unchanging Space of the Self in which they appear.
The deepest practice of gratitude is to tune in to the fact that the Self is our Source and that we are never separate from it. This form of gratitude is a gift to ourselves that reveals our unchanging True Nature as the Self.
When our human lives are confronted with many hardships and when it seems that everything goes against our preferences, the practice of gratitude can become a guiding light. It gives us a chance to remember that we are not the sum of our circumstances or preferences, but the pure Light of the Self in a human form. Shining that Light with love and awareness is the highest form of gratitude.
Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends in the US.
With much love and infinite gratitude to all of you