Gratitude as a Catalyst for Spiritual Awakening
Literature on the neuroscience of happiness and positive neuroplasticity frequently cites the importance of adopting a gratitude practice as a fundamental tool to impact mood, improve wellbeing and reverse the brains negativity bias. Regularly engaging in a conscious gratitude exercise has been proven to produce multiple benefits including elevating mood, increasing satisfaction with life and building overall resilience.
But could this gentle practice also have a deeper impact on our level of consciousness and connection with the Divine?
Gratitude became part of my life six years ago in response to coping with a challenging set of personal circumstances. Over the course of three months of daily practice I felt calmer, my energy levels rose, sleep improved and overall feelings of wellbeing and happiness increased. Unexpectedly I also experienced a heightened sensitivity to beauty, prolonged periods of tearful positive emotion and an increased connection to others.
Intrigued by this shift of state of mind and Being, I pondered: “What would the world be like if everyone practiced Gratitude”?
In February 2017 I partnered with Australian company ‘Shine Global’ and created the ’60 Day Gratitude Challenge’, enrolling 300 participants from over 12 countries. Participants received my e-book “How 60 Days of Gratitude Can Transform Your Life”, gained access to a private Facebook group and met online once a week for a coaching call comprising a meditation, interviews with experts on gratitude and group sharing.
The challenge had two main intentions:
To engage as many people as possible in a conscious gratitude practice
To test the hypothesis that gratitude can serve as a gateway to spiritual awakening
Qualitative interviews were conducted with 9 participants from the challenge in 2019 to assess the impact of the ’60 Day Gratitude Challenge’ experience on emotional and spiritual health.
The experience of spiritual awakening through a gratitude practice was reported by participants across four key areas; Heart Opening, Greater Self-awareness, Experience of Oneness and an increase in Self-Responsibility, with the most beautiful stories and experiences relayed to me through the interviews.
What this research project proved is that the practice of gratitude during the ’60 Day Gratitude Challenge’ expanded the heart and soul and acted as a gateway to spiritual transcendence and awakening.
Moments of grace, unconditional love and acceptance were realised by the group, resulting in an expansion of awareness and a deepening of compassion to oneself and others.
The ‘60 Day Gratitude Challenge’ demonstrated that gratitude has the ability to awaken us to our true nature. Gratitude facilitates access to the field of open loving presence and provides a vehicle to connect more deeply to the truth of our Being, making it an essential and fundamental pillar of spiritual practice.
Gratitude attunes us to the sacredness of life and opens our eyes to wonder, awe and the inevitable conclusion that we are all One.
I was blessed to present this research at the ‘Science and Non-Duality Conference’ in San Jose in October 2019 and if you’d like any more information or would like to explore gratitude coaching for yourself or your organisation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
“It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up” ~ Eckhart Tolle