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How To Develop A Grateful Mind

There is one sure fire medicine that cures all difficulty and opens the way for your greatest good. It allows you to sleep well at night, wake up refreshed and filled with enthusiasm. Obstacles evaporate and wonderful possibilities appear. This medicine is abundantly available, has no side effects, can be taken in large or small doses regularly. You need no one to prescribe it and the more you take, the sweeter it is. The medicine is a good dose of gratitude, taken daily, at least three times a day.

For example, if you are having difficulty in your relationships, a strong dose of gratitude will help a lot. Depression and thankfulness cannot exist in the same mind at the same time. When you are continually aware of the good you are receiving, complaints, resentments and demands become a thing of the past.

Guests At A Banquet

Some would say that this world is like a banquet in which we are guests. However, instead of thoroughly enjoying the feast, we only focus upon what is wrong ? we become upset that the meal will not last forever, criticize the cook, demand one dish and refuse all others, or enjoy only desert.

Many spend their time rejecting other guests, or pushing them around. Some refuse to eat the meal entirely and go to the corner to pout. Most have no idea who their host is, or why they've even been invited. They rarely think of offering thanks.

In order to live with joy and well-being, however, it is crucial to develop a grateful mind. Here are some simple steps to take. Each step is the best medicine.

Step 1: View Your Life As A Banquet ? Enjoy The Feast

Realize that we have all been invited to this banquet to develop a grateful mind. We must learn to partake of all we are offered, discover why we've been invited, and most importantly, offer thanks.

Step 2: Realize Each Person At The Banquet Is Precious

Each person at this banquet is precious and has been invited for a reason. There is something unique that each guest has to bring, including you. Find out what it is. Enjoy each person fully. If you do not know what to be grateful for, the question to ask is - what am I focusing on right now? Where is my attention?

Are you focusing upon all the problems and complaints, or are you aware of the endless gifts you receive? By taking your attention off the negative aspects of the relationship, you take energy and power away from these complaints and become open to see the good that available. As you take charge of your focus you take charge of your life.

Step 3: Take Time To Notice And Appreciate What You Are Receiving

Take time to notice and fully appreciate what is before you. Stop taking life for granted. As we develop a mind that is aware of the gifts it is receiving, the ability to give back grows naturally.

Step 4: Direct Communication

So many relationships flounder due to the feeling that individuals are not getting what they want. In many cases their partners have no idea what this is, or how to make them happy.

A wonderful way to deal with this is to ask directly for what you want. Ask without criticism or a hidden demand. It is also crucial to be able to say no. Saying no is not rejection. At times, saying no to others, is a way of saying yes to yourself.

Step 5: Understand True Giving

When you give to receive something in return, this is not true giving. Some give to hold onto others, or to feel good about themselves. True giving asks nothing in return. It gives openly, no strings attached.

True giving and receiving are one. When we give fully without wanting anything in return, we receive as much as we give. Burden, resentment and clinging falls away. There is no giver or receiver here, only an open heart. In order to taste this kind of freedom, we need only let go of our demands, criticism and expectations, and simply become one with what is happening right now. Ultimately we will see that we must just open our hands if we want to be held. C/author/2005

Dr. Brenda Shoshanna, psychologist, speaker and author's most recent book is Living By Zen, (Timeless Truths For Everyday Life) http://www.livingbyzen.com. Dr Shoshanna is a long term Zen practitioner whose work integrates Zen and everyday life, offering a new approach to life's challenges. The relationship expert on i.village.com, she is also the author of Zen Miracles (Finding Peace In An Insane World), Zen And The Art Of Falling In Love, (Simon and Schuster) and many other books. She can be contacted at topspeaker@yahoo.com

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