[Path to Mastery 3/12/10 – Wk26 D5 (Str 9.12.09)(Ph2 11.15.09)]
What is thankfulness? Thankfulness is the emotion you feel when you feel eternity. When you feel eternity, you are truly in the moment, where you are in the flow of time, where ironically the passage of time becomes irrelevant.
Today I was driving down the road, and I had noticed that there was a sense of calm, peace and pleasure in my body. I was enjoying the sun streaming down on all of us with its beautiful rays. The sky was still high and clear enough for the light to create this crystal like atmosphere that I love so much. It was beauty. Then I realized that I was very grateful.
That in itself was not special, but what struck me was that this was the same sensation I get when I am relaxed and when I am meditating or just breathing from moment to moment. That’s when I made the connection. I realized that the physical sensation of relaxation, when your body is in the moment, not rushing, that is when subconsciously you don’t have a scarcity mentality. You don’t need to rush because there is enough to go around. There is enough time to get things done. When we have enough, when there is abundance, we relax. When there is abundance, we feel safe and secure, we feel grateful. I realized that the sensation of relaxation is gratefulness. Before when I felt this sensation during meditation, I felt the gratitude, but didn’t make the conscious connection. I didn’t make the connection because I didn’t realize that you can’t be grateful unless you are relaxed. This realization made thankfulness very concrete. Now thankfulness has a body. I feel forevermore grateful for this wonderful gift of concreteness.
Now that I know the physical nature of gratefulness, I can slow down and not just think that I ‘should’ be grateful, but I can actually practice gratefulness.
One way to practice gratefulness is by practicing Dan-Tien breathing. As a matter of fact I was practicing breathing when I noticed the beautiful weather. Dan-Tien breathing is a breathing practice to cultivate your internal energy. Dan-Tien is the area in your lower abdomen, three finger widths below your belly button. This is the area that is also commonly called Sea of Chi (energy). By breathing through this area, you can awaken a lot of energy within yourself.
So, as I have been practicing this, I have been noticing if I breathe in with my lower belly and let it fill up, it creates a comfortable and pleasurable sensation. I can feel the tonus on my sympathetic nervous system calming and the tonus on my parasympathetic nervous system increasing, meaning I start feeling all relaxed, calm and pleasurable. I tried to recreate this sensation of filling my belly, but then it would get tense. So, instead, I just started working on feeling pleasurable. Man, things calm down and time seems to stop. Hunger stops and you just feel good. I have been Dan-Tien breathing while I work on typing (as I am doing now) or just regular daily activity. This sensation of fullness and pleasure creates a deep sense of satisfaction. I have been feeling more and more grateful.
It is nice to have methods to practice gratitude in a physical manner.
Continuing our Tai-Chi Journey:
We will continue on our journey of the principles on Monday. Enjoy your weekend!