Recently I received an email laced with unfair criticism, and my first reaction was to get defensive. I could feel my mind speeding up, getting ready to argue. Then I had a flash of insight and remembrance: You can’t fight darkness with more darkness. I decided instead to neutralize negativity with gratitude. I thought about this person and recalled several things about him for which I was grateful. Within minutes my happiness level began to climb. I realized then that gratitude brings happiness.

Certain foods—leafy greens, vegetables, citrus fruits—cleanse and detox the body. Gratitude cleanses and removes toxins from the mind and heart. Gratitude, like fruits and vegetables, can be cultivated.

Try this: Each night before sleep, review your day and think of one person, one event, and one thing for which you are grateful. Vary this so you don’t repeat anything for at least a week. This will train the mind to carry gratitude into the subconscious state. At first you may have to ignore, or even push away negative thoughts. Later you won’t want them around any more than you would play with a rattlesnake.

Accept that life is full of challenges, and find a way to recast them in a positive light. In a letter, Paramhansa Yogananda wrote, “I used to come home, my hair saturated with smoke and my eyes burning after luncheon talks. I felt even suffocated. One day I made up my mind, Divine Spirit was smoke and light, and I was never bothered since. Mind is everything, whichever way you train it.” Turning a light on or off takes the same amount of effort. Why not choose the light?

gratitude-and-happiness-blog

Photo by Nayaswami Jyotish

Gratitude is naturally expansive. When you feel circumstances trying to contract your heart into anger, judgment, or despair, push back with thankfulness. Try to do this immediately, when your instinctual reaction is to contract. This will help train new and brighter neural patterns.

You don’t need to be perfect, but you do need to try. Little steps lead to long journeys.

The object of your gratitude matters only a little. What is important is the stream of thankfulness itself. That flow will warm the icy caverns that egotism has carved into your heart. Don’t be afraid to recognize your foes and even give them names. It’s hard to take your moods seriously when you say, “The Anger Gorilla is back again,” or “The Ice Queen of Judgment is about to make a pronouncement.”

Expand your heart: Take a moment and contemplate the web of people who make it possible for you to read this. There are those in the computer industry who design, manufacture, ship, and sell the device you are using. There are millions more involved in the trades that make your home or car possible. The chair you sit in has its own network of materials, production, roads, highways, and shipping that brought it to your doorstep. I could go on, but it is better if you do. Think in ever-widening circles of the incredible web that sustains you. Thank them, and most especially thank Divine Mother, who is, literally, the Mother of us all.

Gratitude will make you happy.

In gratitude,
Nayaswami Jyotish

43 Comments

  1. Thank you very much for the Beautiful insight!!

  2. Dear Ji’s
    Thank you so much for the Inspiration shared .
    With Gratitude
    R Sundararajan

  3. Thank you very much Sir for sending these information to me. Thanks once again.

  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Blessings of joy to all!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this……. very inspiring thought…….
    Joy,
    granita

  6. I am so grateful for being able to join Master’s path though the trip has been long and the internal cost great. Life without a spiritual path is dry and thankless indeed! How many thousands contributed to this opportunity I will never know.

  7. Very powerful and practical. Thank you Jyotish.

  8. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,
    Thank you for the beautiful article. We will start to practice the “Gratitude” in our life with the guidance of Divine Master & Divine Mother . Aum

  9. Thank u for giving wonderful practical easy solutions for generating Joy

  10. If someone like yourself received an email full of scathing, unfair criticisms, is there any hope for the rest of us proletariats? :)

  11. I am so grateful you are who you are. You’re a great soul.
    In deep gratitude,
    gopal

  12. Thank you Jyotish for this wonderful insight. This was exactly what I needed today. In gratitude, Jerry.

  13. There may be one person who does not appreciate you but there thousands of us who do. I thank Divine Mother on a daily basis for you and Devi. I am so very grateful for the life I have today because of Master, Swami and you.

  14. Very good. I know that what you are saying is right on, because I’ve experienced it. Yet we forget so easily. Thanks for the reminder! Mary

  15. Thank you. You have my gratitude. How nice it feels!

  16. What i needed to hear at the perfect moment!
    wonderful :-)
    thank you to take to heart our personal and spiritual growth
    In divine Love
    Aastha

  17. This information is wonderful because in my life right now is trying times for me, a lot going on and yes!, when I have gratitude even in the midst of craziness going on around me it helps cultivate a different attitude toward these events. Thank you so much for your words, stories they have helped me tremendously!

  18. Thank you for this wise direction. Doing this practice will bring happiness into life as it travels through trying times.

  19. Such a beautiful response…one which I will strive to remember when I, too, am criticized and want to “lash back.”

  20. This is exactly what I needed this morning. Thank you!

  21. When we are in the car and my daughter sees the clock has repeating numbers like: 12:12, or 1:01, she calls out “Attitude of Gratitude” and she thinks of something to be grateful for and feels it expand in her heart. So, we all do this together now. It’s a great tool!

  22. Thank you for the reminder, Jyotish. Your touch of light is appreciated! Joy, Narayan

  23. Thankyou for the sharing this. We need to keep reminding ourselves as you mentioned…

  24. Thank you, Jyotish. There is so much to be thankful for, it could (happily) take the rest of this life! (I love “The Ice Queen of Judgment is about to make a pronouncement.” Hits home!) Bless you.

  25. Thank you, Jyotish, for this beautiful story and the lesson it illustrates. It is one that I am in need of just now.
    Blessings!
    Jayanti

  26. Thank you, Jyotish, for this beautiful lesson. It is one that I needed to hear just now and it is with gratitude that I tell you this.
    Blessings,
    Jayanti

  27. BOOYA! I Love it Jyotish! In any language – Gratitude brings Happiness!
    agradecimiento; reconnaissance; dankbarkeit; आभार -Ābhāra; благодарность – blagodarnost’; 感谢 – Gǎnxiè; gratitudine;
    hikarat hatov; wdzięczność; ευγνωμοσύνη – ev̱gno̱mosýni̱,; gratidão; hála; dankbaarheid; şükran; شكر ; mirënjohje; tacksamhet; shukrani; कृतज्ञा kṛtajñā; buíochas; diolch; þakklæti; Ahéhee’
    “This will help train new and brighter neural patterns.” And you know that I’m all about “en-training” neural patterns! :)
    ~~~Peace, Josette

  28. Thank you jyotish for sharin this profound insights and for bringing us light.I practiced being grateful for simple things such as breathing, smelling , the wanderful colors of nature , and i felt full of joy!

  29. Dear Jyotish,
    Thanks for sharing these wonderful truths.

  30. Guruji has spoken through you, exactly what I needed to hear. I am dealing with some difficult people right now and trying so hard to not see wrong in them. Thank you. God bless you.

  31. Sri Jyotish,
    Along with everyone else am so grateful for this Touch of Light! Years ago when I was needed a severe attitude adjustment……………..Gratitude was the healing balm that worked when everything else failed! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Bless you dear friend in God!

  32. Thank you for sharing. “Gratitude” is all.
    I will forever remind myself not to fight anger with anger (“darkness with darkness”)
    This is a great listen for my everyday life.
    Thank you.
    Brenda Telemaque

  33. Queridos Jyotish and Devi.
    Lo puedo manejar mejor en español. Me encantó su mensaje sobre la gratitud que nos ayuda a contenernos cuando tenemos momentos de frustación, depresión, ira o resentimientos. Pensando acerca de las muchas magnifícas, maravillosas cosas y aún personas que Dios nos regala todos los días, podemos decirle siempre, Gracias Señor, y agradecer también a aquellas personas que nos hacen sentir mejor con sus bellos mensajes, como el que nos están haciendo llegar.
    Saludos y bendiciones.
    Alicia Silvia.

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