Not only did the Buddha promote gratitude but it was something he personally practiced consistently. According to tradition, after the Buddha was enlightened he spent the next seven days just looking at the tree which gave him shelter and under which his awakening emerged. Take a moment to understand what he did. Rather than rush off, start teaching and sharing his life changing insights with others, the Buddha took an entire week to sit in gratitude before a tree which meant so much to him.
From the Buddha we get a glimpse of how important it is to pause and feel gratitude. Pause to examine your own mind by asking these questions of yourself:
• Do I feel gratitude for simply being alive?
• Do I feel gratitude that I have discovered meditation?
• Do I feel gratitude that I have people I can meditate with?
• Do I feel gratitude for spiritual friends who journey through life with me?
• Do I feel gratitude that I have enough money for my needs?
• Do I feel gratitude that I have spiritual teachers to instruct and inspire me?
Periodically engaging in this 'gratitude feeling' exercise will ensure that we don't take for granted the many positives which are constantly present in our lives. Gratitude is a vital component of an enlightened life.