The importance of gratitude

The importance of gratitude

by don Miguel Ruiz with Janet Mills

For many of us, it is easy to give, but very difficult to receive. Yet gratitude for what we receive is one of the noblest gestures of humankind. The best way to show our gratitude is to receive the gift, and give our thanks by enjoying the gift. When we master gratitude, we can easily receive without feeling guilty because we know that by receiving, we give pleasure to the one who is giving.

For example, if someone cooks a meal for us, the best way to say thank you for the gift is to really enjoy the food. The one who cooks for us feels pleasure just seeing how much we enjoy it. If we cook a meal for our own children, and we see how much they enjoy our food, we can keep cooking the rest of our life just to feel their pleasure!

The same thing is true with life. Our Creator gives us the gift of life, and the way to say, “Thank you, Creator, for life,” is by enjoying our lives, by living our lives intensely, by being who we really are. Life is passing so quickly. Even if we live one hundred years, life is too short. What will we do with our lives? Should we spend our lives feeling sorry for ourselves? Should we spend our lives creating conflict with the people we love by judging them, trying to control them, or telling them how we want them to be? Should we spend our lives being afraid to be alive, afraid to express who we really are in the world?

The way to express our gratitude for life is by being truly alive, not hiding from life in a corner or watching life pass us by.

The biggest fear we have is not the fear of dying, but the fear to be alive, to be ourselves, to say what we feel, to ask for what we want, to say yes when we want to say yes, and no when we want to say no. To express what is in our hearts is to be truly alive.

To live with gratitude is to enjoy every moment of this precious gift that we call “Life.” We don’t have to say, “Thank you, Creator, for life.” We can show our gratitude by living in happiness and love. Gratitude is one of the greatest expressions of love. When we master gratitude, we give our love generously because we know there is no end to our love. Whatever we give, we give with generosity because our Creator is so generous with us. And we know that we are worthy of receiving all that is good in life because we come from Life, and Life is all there is.

Today is a wonderful day to be grateful, to express all the gratitude that is in your heart. Why not practice gratitude in every moment until you master gratitude, until it becomes a habit? The more you practice gratitude, the more you see how much there is to be grateful for, and your life becomes an ongoing celebration of joy and happiness. When you master gratitude, you perceive the beauty of creation in everything, and your reaction is love and gratitude for the greatest gift, which is life.

I suggest that we live the rest of our lives with gratitude and appreciation for what we receive just by being alive. Just being alive, just the pleasure of breathing, is enough to fill our hearts with gratitude.

Now let’s have a strong communion of love with our Creator. Feel these words as if they are coming directly from your own heart. Together with one heart, let’s send these beautiful words of gratitude to the one who created us.

Prayer for Gratitude

Today, Creator of the Universe, my heart is filled with gratitude for the gift of life you have given me. Thank you for the opportunity to experience this beautiful body and this wonderful mind. Today, I want to express my gratitude for everything I have received from you.

I know the way to say “thank you for life” is by fully enjoying every moment of my life. And the only way to enjoy every moment is to love. Today, I will express all the love and happiness that exist in my heart. I will love your creations, I will love myself, and I will love the people who live with me. I know that life is too short to waste in misery and drama with the people I love. I will enjoy the presence of the people I love, respecting their choices in life as I respect my own.

Today, I will graciously receive your gifts by enjoying your gifts, by enjoying my life. Help me to be as generous as you are, to share what I have with generosity, just as you share your gifts so generously with me. Help me to become a master of gratitude, generosity, and love so that I can enjoy all of your creations.

Today, Creator, help me to manifest my creation as you manifest the universe, to express the beauty of my spirit in the supreme art of the human: the art of dreaming my life. Today, I give you all of my gratitude and love because you have given me life. Amen.


Adapted from The Circle of Fire: Inspiration and Guided Meditations for Living in Love and Happiness. Copyright © 2001 by Miguel Angel Ruiz, M.D., and Janet Mills. Reprinted by Permission of Amber-Allen Publishing, Inc., San Rafael, California.


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