Observing Gratitude

The other day I was driving down the road and started thinking about something stressful- no idea what it was. I just remember that my whole body began to feel uncomfortable and constricted so I said, "Thank you for this moment" and immediately I took a deep breath.

Try it. Just say, "Thank you" quietly to yourself- you can even whisper it. And see what happens.  It was so obvious, that deepening of the breath, that I have been practicing this whenever I feel any tension- physical, mental or emotional- ever since.  I don't always remember right away- in fact I rarely do.  But the moment I do I just say "Thank you" and everything shifts. I have been amazed by how powerful it is- and how simple and natural.

I have had a practice of gratitude for quite a few years but it's been more like a prayer or a meditation- a deliberate time to remember all the things I have to be grateful for- which ultimately always come back to my breath.  This, however, is very spontaneous and in the moment and it is changing things for me in a profound way.  Maybe it is an offshoot of my practice- that there is a trigger and a resonance in those two words for me now that has developed over time but really I don't think so. I think there is something inherent in the simple remembrance and expression of gratitude that brings us back to our life force, back to the breath. Our whole being is grateful for the experience of gratitude and we breathe into it deeply and naturally. 

    Thank you for this moment.
        Thank you for this breath. 
            Thank you for this life.
                Thank you.