Tuesday, December 2, 2014

the power of gratitude in every circumstance

I didn't post a blog on Thanksgiving, but the good news is that gratitude never goes out of style.

I wanted to write about the power of gratitude. 

The Hidden Messages in Water by Masaru Emoto is an incredible book. Dr. Emoto takes photographs of ice crystals that have been exposed to different words or ideas. Enjoy the following examples:

Image here.

Image here.

And the one I particularly wanted to write about (image here): 

Water is highly responsive to intention and to its surroundings. It is a mirror of what it is near and what it is shown. 

And it turns out, the two most powerful words water can be exposed to are love and gratitude.

I don't think they tested "Jesus Christ," FYI. 

Love as a power word should not come as a surprise to anyone, but I personally was surprised at the immense power of gratitude to form complex and beautiful ice crystals. In the book, Dr. Emoto claims that gratitude crystals are even more complex than love crystals, which surprised him. From the book (page 78-79 of the 2005 edition):

I have mentioned that water shown the words love and gratitude forms the most beautiful crystals. Of course the word love alone as the ability to create wonderful crystals, but love and gratitude combine to give the crystals a unique depth and refinement, a diamond-like brilliance. 
I also discovered that the love and gratitude crystals actually look more like gratitude crystals than the love crystals. What this indicates is that the gratitude vibration is more powerful and has a greater influence. Love tends to be a more active energy, the act of giving oneself unconditionally. By contrast, gratitude is a more passive energy, a feeling that results from having been given something--knowing that you have been given the gift of life and reaching out to receive it joyously with both hands. 
The relationship between love and gratitude may be similar to the relationship between sun and shade. If love is the sun, gratitude is the moon. If love is man, gratitude is woman. 

He goes on: 
What is the relationship between love and gratitude? For an answer to this question, we can use water as a model. A water molecule consists of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, represented by H2O. If love and gratitude, like oxygen and hydrogen, were linked together in a ratio of 1 to 2, gratitude would be twice as large as love.  
I suggest that having twice the amount of gratitude as love is the balance we should strive for.  
There is sooo much in those few short paragraphs--did you catch the yin/yang references? Amazing. Just as the Tao Te Ching and the yogis teach, the feminine energy--the energy of gratitude--is the most powerful energy, despite being passive

Or perhaps because it is passive.

Gratitude used to be a very nebulous concept to me. I used to think I was grateful for stuff when I said a verbal thank-you to someone. But the reality is completely different. Gratitude is not words. Gratitude is a feeling. Now that I am more attuned to my body and how feelings feel in my body, I can tell you that for me, gratitude feels like this immense warm energy that rotates around my body in a clockwise direction: when I feel grateful, when gratitude energy is radiating from my soul into my aura, it feels almost like a wind of energy, like the area around my body is a whirlwind of joy and praises and thanks. This energetic whirlwind of light emanates from the heart chakra, which in turn is linked to the actual heart and the nervous ganglia in that region. Gratitude is a heart emotion which leads to an energetic shift.

When I feel myself radiating gratitude, I feel beautiful. It might sound dumb to say. It kind of feels dumb to write. But gratitude is the most beautifying emotion a person can create and experience.

Gratitude in Every Circumstance

And when I say it is an emotion you can create, I mean it. This conference talk from earlier this year is a great discussion of gratitude and its importance and the fact that it is possible to choose to feel that emotion in any circumstance.

So your life is falling apart. 

The good news is, it is still possible to experience the bliss of gratitude. From Elder Uchtdorf's talk linked above:

We can choose to be like the Prophet Joseph Smith, who, while a prisoner in miserable conditions in Liberty Jail, penned these inspired words: “Dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.”7 
We can choose to be grateful, no matter what. 
This type of gratitude transcends whatever is happening around us. It surpasses disappointment, discouragement, and despair. It blooms just as beautifully in the icy landscape of winter as it does in the pleasant warmth of summer. 
When we are grateful to God in our circumstances, we can experience gentle peace in the midst of tribulation. In grief, we can still lift up our hearts in praise. In pain, we can glory in Christ’s Atonement. In the cold of bitter sorrow, we can experience the closeness and warmth of heaven’s embrace. 
We sometimes think that being grateful is what we do after our problems are solved, but how terribly shortsighted that is. How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain? 
Being grateful in times of distress does not mean that we are pleased with our circumstances. It does mean that through the eyes of faith we look beyond our present-day challenges. 
This is not a gratitude of the lips but of the soul. It is a gratitude that heals the heart and expands the mind.
Look at that: gratitude can heal the heart and expand the mind. Sounds like energy medicine to me!

And now I will leave you with an exercise to experience the flow of gratitude. If you have a lot of blocks, either conscious or subconscious, to feeling truly grateful, this might be harder for you, but I encourage you to try it anyway as you go about your day.

Gratitude Exercise

1. Take three deep, comfortable, relaxing breaths. The breath is long and slow. Close your eyes and focus on the feeling of breathing in and out. 
2. While continuing this long, slow, deep breathing, think of the number one thing you love most in the world. Allow yourself to focus that love energy--focus on the feelings in your heart that you feel when you think about this thing or person that you love. 
3. When your heart feels so full of love for this thing or person that it feels almost saturated with love, command yourself to double the feeling. Just think, "And now, I feel this love twice as strongly." And feel as that command goes through and as that love energy in your heart doubles in concentration and in strength.
4. Now, end your focus on the love energy and begin to appreciate what it is that you love. Consciously acknowledge all the good things about this thing that you love and allow yourself to appreciate those aspects of this thing in your heart. Feel it as the love-peace energy transforms into even higher vibration energy of gratitude. This sensation may be located in the heart region, either in the body or both in the body and directly outside of the body.  
5. Feel as this energy begins to flow around your body, breaking up any energetic blocks of anger, negativity, hatred, bitterness, and resentment. Spend a few minutes experiencing this as you continue the long deep breathing, breathing in everything good and breathing out everything that it is time to let go of. 
If you feel so inclined, start and end this exercise with prayer--ask for help in experiencing the powerful sensations of gratitude, and when you're done, express your gratitude in prayer for the experience of gratitude! Make the gratitude cycle one that keeps on going. 


Gratitude is the most powerful emotion we can experience--modern day prophets have said that it can literally heal the soul. Thanksgiving the day has passed for this year, but thanksgiving the experience can go on forever in any circumstance. Experience healing today: experience gratitude. 

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