Saturday, November 15, 2008

November 9th . . . Levels of Gratitude

** This article was written by a man comparing the way gratitude can increase wealth. Although a lofty notion (and probably helpful if not entirely true), not the point of our Gratitude Project. So I've edited out paragraphs on how to increase your wealth. **

Gratitude - By Steve Pavlina

Having tested this for myself extensively, I found there was an effective way to practice gratitude and an ineffective way. Unfortunately, the ineffective way is much more obvious, and I was stuck with that form of gratitude for many years. But eventually I progressed towards a deeper understanding of gratitude and found a more effective way to practice it, one that yielded much greater external abundance as well.

First, I’ll address the ineffective form of gratitude. Let’s call it Level 1 Gratitude. This is gratitude for your possessions and your immediate circumstances. It’s the kind of gratitude we learn as children: Thank you for the gift, for the candy, for the trip to park, etc. When you practice this as an adult, it spawns thoughts of gratitude for things like:

  • a roof over your head
  • your material possessions
  • a car that runs
  • your health
  • your relationships
  • your family
  • your job
  • your skills
  • the holidays

Note that Level 1 Gratitude goes beyond material possessions. It’s the default form of gratitude you’re likely to come up with when you attempt to make a list of things to be grateful for.

I’m not suggesting there’s anything bad or wrong with this form of gratitude. It’s certainly better than having thoughts of scarcity. However, in terms of activating the Law of Attraction, its effectiveness is relatively weak.

Often when people attempt to use Level 1 Gratitude, it’s because they’re actually feeling complacent or negative about their circumstances, but they’re trying to look on the bright side and build some positive momentum. If you’ve ever expressed gratitude by starting with the words “at least,” you know what I mean. At least I have my health. At least I have a roof over my head. At least I have a vacation coming up.

The underlying message is: What I have is OK, and I can temporarily feel grateful about it if I push myself to do so, but genuine gratitude isn’t my default feeling because ultimately my circumstances just aren’t that exciting. More often than not, they leave me feeling empty or complacent rather than grateful.

When I choose to do so, I can notice my life circumstances and feel grateful for them. I can feel grateful for my marriage, my kids, my house, my career, my friendships and so on. The essence of the experience is no different than when I found myself in far less abundant circumstances.

Even when your overall circumstances seem negative, you can still temporarily pop into a state of Level 1 Gratitude just by changing your focus. For some people this can be the catalyst for a major attitude change, but in most situations it only provides a temporary reprieve with no major lasting benefit.

The reason Level 1 Gratitude usually fails to trigger the Law of Attraction is that Level 1 is too weak. You can enjoy this state of gratitude temporarily, but overall you’ll remain stuck in your old patterns. Level 1 Gratitude is fragile since all it takes to knock you out of state is a change in circumstances or a change in your focus. Even getting the mail can kill it.

** Something to think about? Are we truly grateful or just trying to talk ourselves out of being ungrateful? **