The mere fact that we happen to be alive right now in this moment - not to take that for granted. Our time is precious and of value because it is limited and fleeting. Our lives are unique because in all of human history there hasn’t been another being exactly like us nor will there ever be one in the future. Gratitude for each breath and each moment we are gifted is a rewarding experience unlocked though mindfulness practise. Gratitude towards our bodies for the continuous work it does to keep us alive, for this breath and this heartbeat, for all the little delights of the world. The fact that this planet and our bodies are a gift of billions of years of evolution. Each molecule in our bodies have been billions of years in the making, the oxygen we breathe, the sunshine that warms our skin and grows our food, the numerous plants and animals that nourish our bodies and sustain our lives- to receive them all as a gift is a continuing practice of gratitude that can replenish and rejuvenate us when the ordinariness of everyday life makes us feel numb or depleted.
As part of mindful eating, Buddhist monks express gratitude for each meal by thanking everything involved in the making of that meal, starting from the earthworms that churn the soil, the sunshine that helps grow the food, the farmers who cultivate it, the workers who bring the food to us and to those hands that prepare and serve it. This enhances their experience of eating and as the food nourishes their bodies, the gratitude nourishes their minds and wellbeing. Thinking of our food only in terms of its monetary or nutritional value, we belittle our experience of eating by ignoring all these essential steps of how it arrived to us. We do not think beyond the price tag or calorie count on plastic wrapping that the food comes in or pause to thank the numerous hands it went through to get from the ground to our plates. Even if it is not possible to live in such a state of gratitude every moment of our lives, it can be immensely rewarding and fulfilling to allow our minds to occasionally open to such ways of thinking, experiencing and valuing all that we receive, be it a breath, a biscuit, a smile or good fortune. No gift is too big or too small to be received without gratitude. Gratitude only enhances our experience of things and in no way diminishes it.
"A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles"