A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird’s mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird’s attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to “clean up” the bird’s vocabulary.
Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hands, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute.
Fearing that he’d hurt the parrot, John quickly open the door to the freezer, the parrot calmly stepped out onto John’s outstretched arms and said, “I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I’m sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior.”
John was stunned at the change in the bird’s attitude.
As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, “May I ask what the turkey did?”
Thursday is Thanksgiving; so, generally the subject for lessons today is being thankful. All too often, when our turn comes to list the things we are thankful for, we merely rattle off lists we have memorized by heart and that we repeat every year without even thinking about it. Examples of items on such a list are family, friends, having a home, pets, and food. We all have people and things we are grateful for being in our lives. Isn’t that what we do?
Simply being grateful for the bigger things is not enough–it also means being grateful for those moments where you want to lift up your hands and praise Spirit for giving you something. That ‘something’ doesn’t have to be a material possession, and most often is not –it can be the love of a friend, a beautiful sunset, the sound of rain upon a window, or the feeling you get when you accomplish a major goal. It could even be when you become aware of a Truth.
Feelings…why aren’t we grateful for the feelings we experience every day? Think about it- “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds each day, have you used one to say thank you and feel it when you do?
Scott Stabile said, “Gratitude is a key component in every happy life and is within your power each second of every day.”
Gratitude is a key that opens the door to the flow of unconditional love through your heart. The heartfelt expression of gratitude, either in words or in thought, focuses on the plenty that you have rather than anything that you think may be missing in your life.
The traditional American holiday of Thanksgiving dates back to the early pilgrims in Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts in 1621. As pilgrims, they were inclined to fast and pray for all the things that they desperately needed.
When Founding Father Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) wrote of those times, he understood the great value of gratitude. He said: “There is a tradition that in the planting of New England, the first settlers met with many difficulties and hardships, as is generally the case when a civilized people attempt to establish themselves in a wilderness country. Being so piously disposed, they sought relief from heaven by laying their wants and distresses before the Lord in frequent set days of fasting and prayer.” All that praying and fasting, he said, made them “gloomy and discontented.”
Happily, he went on, a farmer “of plain sense” suggested to the Pilgrim Assembly that instead of continuing to bother the Lord with their complaints and requests, they for once thank Him for the blessings they had been given. For although times were still hard, things were getting better. Instead of a fast, the farmer suggested, it would be more fitting to proclaim a day of thanksgiving. His advice was heeded, and the rest as they say, is history!
In the case of the pilgrims, gratitude opened them up to receiving ever more of the blessings of nature. Prior to that, their want had been closing down the natural flow of abundance and making their circumstances seem even harder than they were.
Giving thanks is the expression of gratitude, and gratitude is one of the most beautiful secrets in spiritual life.
Gratitude is a form of love, and love is something which flows from the Creator of the Universe through all forms of life and manifestation. Without love, life in the universe cannot exist. Love is the universal force of preservation which holds creation in manifestation.
Having and feeling thoughts of gratitude can make us happier and healthier. There are both physical and emotional benefits to practicing gratitude, including:
• Feeling optimistic and more joyful
• Being more focused
• Having more energy
• Feeling compassion for others
• Feeling empowered
• Sleeping better
Even more important, in my opinion, is how it changes our perspective…which changes everything!
It’s the feeling energy behind the thought that makes these changes occur in our body and in our attitude. Putting emotion behind our thought is” putting feet to our prayers.” Without ‘feelings’ we cannot manifest our thoughts into action.
Why should we invest our energy in feeling thankful? Here are some reasons:
One: Being in Gratitude Only Has Positive Side Effects.
Positive emotions make you feel good and offer a sense of comfort. When we take a few moments to express our appreciation inwardly or to another, immediately we begin to feel happier, more relaxed, more optimistic.
Two: Feelings of Gratitude Provide Short-Cuts to Miracles.
Negative thoughts and feelings create an interruption in the natural flow of life. When you are feeling positive and grateful you accelerate what it is that you desire. Consciously appreciating what you already have is the short-cut to manifestation and the secret to personal fulfillment. Myrtle Fillmore, our co-founder, suggested being thankful even in
the midst of hardship. If you are experiencing difficulty, she advised, “Be grateful in advance for the good you know will come of this.” Just as Jesus did before working His miracles.
Three: Thoughts of Gratitude Flood Your Body with Immune-Boosting Endorphins.
Studies also provide evidence that a positive, appreciative attitude enhances the body’s healing system and general health. When you hold feelings of thankfulness for at least 15 to 20 seconds, beneficial physiological changes take place in your body. Levels of the stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine decrease, producing a cascade of beneficial metabolic changes. Coronary arteries relax, thus increasing the blood supply to your heart. And your breathing becomes deeper, raising the oxygen level of your tissues.
Four: Feeling Grateful Puts you Back into the Flow of Life at the Speed of Thought.
Thoughts create things. If you are feeling and thinking positive thoughts, you create positive situations. You draw positive people to you. Like attracts like.
Five: Gratitude Unlocks the Fullness of Life.
Feelings of gratitude turn what you have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast or a house into a home. Gratitude makes sense of your past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
Six: Feelings of Gratitude Give You a Natural High.
Grateful people tend to be more optimistic, a characteristic that researchers say boosts the immune system. Studies indicate that daily gratitude exercises result in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism and energy. Grateful people experience less depression and stress, are more likely to help others, exercise regularly and tend to make more progress toward personal goals. People who feel grateful are also more likely to feel loved. It’s the old adage, What goes around comes around…service to others makes you feel good and want to do more good….
Seven: Gratitude Provides an Immediate Sense of Well-Being.
Gratitude, it turns out, can help us better manage stress, as we’ve mentoned. Gratitude research is beginning to suggest that feelings of thankfulness have tremendous positive value in helping people cope with daily problems, especially stress.
Eight: Feeling Grateful is the Main Cause of Sustained Joy.
Focusing on the gifts one has been given is an antidote to envy, resentment, regret and other negative states that undermine long-term happiness.
According to Arabic legend, a young man was roaming the desert and came across a spring of crystal clear water. The water was so delicious that he filled his leather canteen to the brim so he could bring some back to a tribal elder who had been his teacher. After a four-day journey, he offered the water to the elder who took a deep
drink, smiled amiably, and thanked his former student for the excellent water. The young man returned to his home with a happy heart.
Later, the elder let another student taste the water. He spit it out, saying it was terrible. Apparently, over the four days in the old leather container, it had become stale. The student challenged his teacher: “Master, the water was awful. Why did you pretend to like it?” The teacher replied: “You only tasted the water, whereas I tasted the gift. The water was simply the container for an act of loving-kindness.”
Nine: The More You Give – The More You Receive.
You always get more of whatever you appreciate. When you express love, gratitude and sincere appreciation, you naturally expand. Consciously appreciating what you already have is the short-cut to manifestation and the secret to personal fulfillment. The more you assist others, the more you will assist yourself. What we do for ourselves we do for the ALL. SO remember, every step you take forward is a step for us all.
Ten: When You Are Genuinely Thankful, Anger and Fear Disappear.
One of the incredible truths about gratitude is that it is impossible to feel both the positive emotion of thankfulness and a negative emotion such as anger or fear at the same time.
I tell my Mother all the time when she says something about worrying about me, she can’t love me and worry at the same time, so just send love.
How can you activate the Law of Gratitude?
Be lavish in your gratefulness.
Make gratitude a daily ritual. I end my day by giving thanks for all the good in my life, especially things that happened that day.
Be thankful for whatever forces you to deal with your own strong emotions.
Set aside some time everyday to do nothing much except be grateful.
Focus on what is working in your life and what IS right in the world. It doesn’t matter how small or seemingly insignificant it may be. Before long you will notice that more things will fall into place with little or no effort on your part. Gratitude is a wonderful tool to use to feel good fast.
As we go into meditation, take a moment to place each individual and thing you are grateful for with the feeling you associate with it and devote sometime in the silence to each with that feeling.