On Gratitude without Prayer

When you leave a particular “God,” you don’t necessarily leave behind the need to express gratitude to the ether.

It’s a strange feeling. Nostalgic almost.

It used to be that everything I had was undeserved but given anyway. I was “blessed” with it. Leaving for another discussion the questionable morality of some being blessed and others not, it was nice to be “blessed.” And, not because it was nice to have blessings. That’s not what I mean. What I mean is that it was nice to feel gratitude about literally everything. To just feel humbled and thankful.

Gratitude is a positive emotion, closely connected to all sorts of beneficial hormonal reactions that make you feel good. That feeling used to be intertwined with every single thing in my life, including the difficult things, since they were there to make me stronger.

When you leave a God who requests that you express gratitude for all things, you are left with just chance or debt. That’s it. All good things come because of either chance or because they were worked for and owed. And the trouble is that neither chance nor debt are nearly as good of listeners as God. You can’t say thank you to chance in nearly the same personable kind of way as you can say it to God, because you know chance isn’t actually listening.

Of course you can say thank you to, and feel gratitude for, all the people who create happiness in your life. But that usually doesn’t cover things like the weather, the seasons, the amazing and varied foods produced by the earth, the many abilities of your marvelous physical body, safety from natural disasters, the laws of your country (or ability to help change them), peace times, the advancements of technology as a whole, and the list goes on.

And so it’s strange. It’s strange having these feelings of gratitude and wanting to sort of shout them out or express them in prayer, but having no ability to do so with a straight face.

I guess that’s why I write.

Today, I am grateful for so many circumstances that have found their way to me, from the simple things like sunshine falling through my blinds in straight lines all the way to the massive potential I am able to see in humanity.

No matter your method: prayer, meditation, mindfulness, verbal expression to others or to the ether, take a moment to be grateful. It will do you good.

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