Monday, May 13, 2013

Power Prayer for Strengthening our ability to feel and express Gratitude.

Gratitude IS a decision, 
and an attitude we can 
strengthen in our lives

We all know we should live "lives of gratitude", but sometimes we find it hard to do this. Thoughts of complaint, thoughts of "why me?", and thoughts that blame other people or circumstances keep thoughts of gratitude from our minds, and feelings of gratitude from our hearts. 

Sure, it may be easier to slip into these negative thoughts. It's always easy to blame something else for our troubles, but as practicing Buddhists we know there really IS no one to blame! Our life is a reflection or our selves. 

And these negative thoughts breed more negative thoughts and are actually negative causes to make for our own happiness. 

We can so easily change our focus to Gratitude. We can choose and reinforce gratitude in out lives. We can  CULTIVATE AND EXPAND GRATITUDE IN OUR LIVES. 

Our mentors in faith, and many others, lived rich lives of gratitude. Nichiren Daishonin's letters to his followers were all written in gratitude. Daisaku Ikeda lives every moment in gratitude to his mentor Josei Toda. 

Daisaku Ikeda states:
"To "enjoy what there is to enjoy" (quote from the Gosho 'Happiness in this World') means to cause the "mystic lotus of the heart' to blossom brightly with a sense of appreciation and joy. Someone who can find joy, who can feel appreciation, experiences a snowballing exhilaration and joy in life. Such is the heart's function. (Faith in Action page 7)

Many of us WANT to feel gratitude, but how do we build the muscle of gratitude? How can we expand it in our lives.?

The answer is this: we make the conscious choice, and know, in our hearts, that the cause for gratitude will bring more to be grateful for. It is worth making the cause to develop gratitude. 

How do we cultivate gratitude? Well, I start by summoning prayers of gratitude while I am chanting. With every Nam-myoho-renge-kyo I tune my life to gratitude. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the name of the rhythm of life itself. Our prayers while chanting become Power Prayers for the happiness of all. I think about what I want to create from my prayer today, and I express gratitude in that direction. 

The other day I was thinking about my next deep and loving relationship with a man, and I spent an hour chanting in deep and loving gratitude for the men who have loved me with all their hearts. I felt the warmth of their love, remembered some wonderful times and chanted in appreciation for them, and for their happiness. It was one of the most delicious hours I have ever spent in prayer. 

And a feeling of gratitude builds on itself, doesn't it? When I chant in gratitude I find more to be grateful for at every moment. This morning I was thinking of you while chanting and this power prayer came to mind:

Gratitude Power Prayer
Life! I am determined to feel gratitude in every moment. I am seeing through grateful eyes and living with a grateful heart. At every moment I am looking for everything I can be grateful for, and finding new ways to express that gratitude. I am determined to live in the energy of gratitude and attract even more reasons to be grateful. I am determined to radiate positive energy so that I can spread the word of this incredible practice to others. 

This moment I am so grateful for____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (fill in the blanks and keep the feeling of gratitude for as long as you can) 
and I am chanttng for the happiness of ____________________________________________________________________________________________________(and here you picture the people whose happiness you will chant for).

And then, this very day, take some actions to express your gratitude. Call someone on the phone. Send an email. Send a card. Take real action today and I promise you, it will add to your happiness and give you even more reasons to be grateful!

I am GRATEFUL TO YOU for all your emails and comments. ( 
I am grateful to every single one of you for reading this blog and for forwarding the link to your friends or liking chant for happiness on facebook. I am grateful to you for re-determining to be happy, and for seeing you advance in happiness every day. Your practice, your happiness, your determination changes the entire world. I am grateful to be your partner on this journey! One day I hope to visit you in every country and see your smiles in person. Until then...chanting in gratitude for you. 

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