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Breathing Gratitude and Generosity

[January 2023 – Dharma Center Mindfulness Tip] 

The new year brings with it promises. Promises of a brighter future, promises of exploration, and the promises we make to ourselves. One of the most powerful ways we can meet and keep those promises is by employing gratitude and generosity.

Gratitude is one of Trikaya Buddhism’s core mind training practices. By teaching the mind to view life through the lens of gratitude, we see opportunities within our problems and struggles. Gratitude is not an escape or denial; rather it gives us a wider and higher view of every situation. No matter where you are on your spiritual journey, building a habit of gratitude will benefit you and all those in your life. When we feel gratitude, we become secure enough to express selfless generosity.

The new year is an excellent time to add the habit of gratitude to our life. When we want to create a new habit, the easiest way is to add the new activity to something we already do. Breathing is something we all do. So we can connect gratitude and generosity with our breath!

In a very real sense, our inhalation is given to us. The Earth provides us oxygen and the Divine life-force moves that oxygen within us. Even if we try to hold our breath, we cannot do it for long; eventually the natural process of inhalation and exhalation takes place. As long as we are alive, we are given the gift of breath, whether we want it or not!

For those who have a hard time accepting gifts, this practice of connecting the breath to gratitude and generosity can be especially powerful.

Breathing with Gratitude and Generosity

With every in-breath, practice receiving with gratitude. You can simply think the words “thank you” or “I accept” as you feel your body fill with oxygen from the Earth. Feel the gift of life you are being given.

With every out-breath, practice giving with generosity. You can think “I give” or “your turn” as you consciously give everything within your lungs back to the Source.

Then repeat the cycle. Breathe in and receive with gratitude. Breathe out and give with generosity.

Play with this, bringing it to mind every hour for a few breaths. Notice how your mind and view change with this simple practice.

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Published inBuddha Lessons / Mindfulness