Take a few moments to centre yourself in a comfortable, seated position (use blankets, bolster, cushions or even sit in a chair).
Practice a few rounds of steady breathing to ground and focus you (e.g. inhaling for four counts, exhaling for four counts).
Centre your attention in your energetic heart centre (Anahata).
Call to mind the people who nurtured you and cared for you in your infancy and childhood and feel the gratitude, knowing that without them, you wouldn’t be here. Inwardly, offer gratitude to these people. Notice when you express appreciation for those whom you have appreciated and those who you haven’t appreciated from your early life.
Notice also the people who perhaps weren’t kind to you. If this brings up uncomfortable or painful memories, resistance or resentment, perhaps you can witness the strength and lessons you have gained from these experiences; ones that have developed your tenacity & increased your wisdom, or perhaps guided you onto a positive path. Perhaps you have learned how to forgive.
Consider the people that contributed to your education, your teachers, the buildings that you learned in, the entire infrastructure that allowed you to go to school and to read. What did it take the person who taught you reading to become a teacher? What struggles did that person undergo to in order to teach you. Consider those who wrote and published the books. Consider if you grew up the age of computer learning, the people who wrote the programs. Consider how much effort has gone into your education. All the people you know or don’t know, who have supported you in becoming a functioning human being in this world.
Consider now the life that you’re living on this planet, the place you live,. Someone designed it, built it, many people laboured to create the building you live in, the mattress you sleep on, the furniture you use, the decorations in your home. Everything that makes your home inhabitable. Thank all those people.
By now you should be recognising the incredible interconnectedness that supports your life. The food that you eat, people who planted it, tended it; the people who harvested the food; and the food itself the animals and vegetables - everything that you put in your mouth once contained life force and offered that life force for your nourishment. Consider how many living beings have worked for your nourishment and thank them.
Think of the people in your life now, your friends, the people that said something meaningful to you when you needed it; the incredible webs of knowledge and insight that come through the wireless world; that come through the w world that allow us to know and do so much more than before. Be grateful for technology and all the minds behind it, and recognise that even when technology is used in ways that don’t seem so productive, is that behind it is this extraordinary gift that we are able to use that make us radically increase our growth. Be grateful for everything that connects us to human beings across the planet, to the profound widening of our horizons that occurs as a result.
Consider all those people who since the beginning of time, who have worked so hard to help other human beings to recognise their own dignity and worthines Those whose names we know and those whos names we’ll never know. Thank those people.
Consider the sages and teachers of yogic wisdom, who have transmitted such powerful knowledge and deep understanding of experience. Be grateful and thankful to all those who have made our growth in this area possible.
Thank your body. Consider how your body endlessly, lovingly contains your life. How your body grows, how it heals, how your hands have so much power to grasp and create, how much your hands do for you; how much your feet and legs make possible. Thank them. Thank the organs inside your body, whether you notice them or not, or constantly working to keep us alive. Thank your extraordinary brain and your persistence for its incalculable intelligence and its capacity for consciousness. Recognise what an extraordinary gift your consciousness really is, what a gift it is to be a conscious being.
Be aware of the earth; that holds us, that absorbs our pain, that allows us to take her treasures, to build on her, who for so many millions of years have been a living, breathing home to so many living creatures. Be aware of the plants and network of vegetation that does so much to create the atmosphere that we breathe and live in, that brings beauty into this world. Consider water, which fills our bodies and oceans and without which we couldn’t live. Consider the air, the amazing life force energy that permeates the air, that surrounds us, that breathes life into us.
Allow your awareness now to embrace everything that supports and connects your life. Realise that no matter how alone and independent you feel , that every breath you take is supported by a web of connection, of service. Just allow yourself to rest in the heart and feel the gratitude that is the most sustaining, loving, sweet and comforting emotion that we can feel that will sustain your life. In that recognition of your interdependence, your next feeling of radical gratitude, allow your awareness to flow into your heart.
Feel the breath flowing in and out through the centre of the chest, through the heart. Let yourself experience a heart opened and softened by the practice of saying “thank you”. Rest now, feeling the sensation of the breath flowing into the centre of the chest, flowing through the back of the heart and as you allow the breath to flow into and through the heart, you can perhaps allow it to flow with the thought, “thank you”. Just allow the words to drop into the heart. Thank you directed to yourself, thank you directed to that force within you which gives life, that is deeper than your individual life. Thank you to the heart. Continue to allow the breath into the heart to deepen and to flow out of the back for the heart so behind you, you feel the energetic backdrop of spaciousness and awareness. In a very gentle way, allow the breath in the mantra “thank you” to draw you into that spaciousness behind the body, into the space that is your deepest self, that is the Great Heart that holds you and all that is. Allow yourself to rest in that presence with Gratitude.
With thanks to Sally Kempton for this meditation.