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My earliest spiritual teachers used to say that "gratitude is a very high state."  Even Bhagavan says that gratitude is the "highest human emotion."  But coming from a scientific background I sometimes still hear a tiny inner voice saying, "Prove it."

Well, now scientists have.....but I've written this article in laymen's terms to explain why gratitude should play an even bigger part of our daily routines.
                                                                       --P. J.

 




 

The Science and Psychology of Gratitude 

copyright © 2007 -  by Enlightenment-Online.com

 

Research into the behavior and psychology of gratitude proves what people of faith have known all along--that giving thanks brings a multitude of blessings back to you Just by giving thanks you can have better health with less stress, better relationships, and be happier and more successful overall.

As children we're taught to always be polite: to say "yes, ma'am" and "thank you."  As teenagers we found that a profusion of "thank you's" seemed to help keep us out of trouble with teachers, parents, and other ruling adults.  Then later, as maturing adults entering society and the business world, we found that it was to our benefit to continue with the polite thank you's.  It made people like us and we were more socially acceptable.

Unfortunately, there was rarely any real gratitude behind the thanks.

No matter what religious faith you were raised in, all taught that giving thanks is a virtue; it's an important tenet in all religions.  Even so, saying thanks was still mostly just a rote response.  It usually isn't until we begin to walk a more esoteric, spiritual path that saying thanks and expressing gratitude takes on a real meaning for us.

As we spiritually awaken, we come to realize that we can no longer give thanks unconsciously.  Our hearts began to open and flower, and we find that we are deeply and truly grateful for many things.  It's not only the beautiful (and sometimes overwhelming) emotion of gratitude that finally got our attention, but we also intellectually discovered that expressing gratitude can benefit us profoundly in many ways.

This is what Bhagavan has to say about it:

"I've always maintained that [enlightenment] is a neurobiological process, so when you go into a state of gratitude the brain itself functions as a much better instrument.  Which in turn proves very helpful in raising your states of consciousness..... So in actual experience we have found people who have the sense of gratitude move much faster [on their spiritual path] than those who do not."

 You can see the full content of Bhagavan's above quote in this video--

 

 

After several years of in-depth research, scientific studies have now proven the benefits of expressing gratitude, and some even feel it's the secret key that unlocks your full life's potential.  These remarkable findings, published in a best-selling book, show that some of the physical and psychological benefits of gratitude are:

Physical--

  • improved health
  • stronger immune system
  • fewer headaches and colds
  • less stress
  • better brain function
  • tendency to exercise more
  • longer life

Psychological--

  • happier
  • more successful
  • more optimistic
  • better relationships
  • more well-liked by others
  • more creative
  • more resilient to life's challenges

 

There are many ways to express gratitude, but as a method of spiritual growth it's best to make it a conscious practice.

One simple way is to, each morning after waking up, think of several things you're grateful for about your life.  Then each evening before going to sleep, think of 3-5 things you are grateful for that happened during your day.  (Writing them down also helps.)

After just two months of giving thanks in this easy manner, you can't possibly be the same person you were before you began the practice.

Only five days after I began the simple practice of giving thanks twice a day as described above, I noticed that I began to spontaneously express gratitude at other times during the day.  Simple beauties in daily life became more evident.  I guess it's true that "appreciation appreciates" in more ways than one.  Expressing gratitude got just easier and easier all by itself.

Consciously being grateful everyday for all the abundance in your life sets into motion the ancient law that basically says, "the more you're grateful for, the more you get."  You benefit, the world benefits, and the Collective Consciousness benefits...so let your gratitude begin to grow and show.

 

More benefits from gratitude...

When I first saw the movie What the Bleep Do We Know, I was so intrigued with Dr. M. Emoto's work shown in it that I looked into his research with water crystals, as to how words, thoughts, prayer, music, and even pictures effect their formation (shown beautifully in the video below).

When Dr. Emoto was asked if there was any particular word or phrase that was the most helpful, he said yes.  Then went on to explain that the words "love" and "appreciation" are combined in the one English word "gratitude."  One without the other didn't have the same effect, but when the two words are put together, the special combination creates an even more potent vibration.

Knowing that all matter is intrinsically vibrational, I did a little test of my own.  I took two identical glasses filled with equal amounts of water, and let them sit overnight.  The only difference was that one was placed over a piece of paper that had the words "love gratitude" written on it.

The chlorine that's added to water to help sanitize it can effect its taste, so the next morning I drew a third glass of tap water to compensate for any chlorine that had evaporated overnight from the test glasses.  Then I immediately tasted all three glasses, and yes, there was a difference in the love/gratitude water.

This was hardly bona fide, double-blind research, and the results were subtle, but the water in the love/gratitude glass seemed "sweeter."  Try it yourself and see.  I now routinely set all my water containers over the words "love gratitude."

Since our bodies are made up mostly of water, think about how you might benefit by exposing yourself more to inspirational works, beautiful pictures, and special music from Dr. Emoto in your home, workplace, etc.  You'll quickly realize how applying some of Dr. Emoto's findings to your own life and environment--and reaping the benefits--can be practically effortless.

 

 

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"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was,
'thank you,' that would suffice."

--J. Eckhart, 13th century mystic

 

 

 

  

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues,
but the parent of all others."

--Cicero, Roman philosopher

 

 

 

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