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Why Gratitude?

“Don’t forget to say thank you.” Parents remind their kids all the time. I remember once hearing my mother say this to me, to which I replied…why?? “Don’t be smart! Just say thank you.” I thought I was being pretty brave by asking that question. Although I never asked it again! Until now-- Why be grateful? Seriously. The answer sounds obvious…So you don’t take things in your life for granted. To make the other person feel good. So people don’t say you’re rude. It’s a social norm. It’s just a nice thing to do.

While all of these are indeed true, I believe that there is another reason for gratitude. Something primal, that goes to the core of our being. Feeling gratitude is not a learned trait. Gratitude doesn’t come from the brain. It comes from the heart. When someone expresses kindness towards us, something within tugs at us to express gratitude in return. Why is that? The expression of kindness towards us is an expression of love—an expression of God.

Everything in the universe works on the principle of dynamic exchange. The trees breathe in our exhalation and we breathe the tree’s exhalation. When we receive the energy of love, we develop a tug to return the love. This dynamic exchange is expressed by the law of giving and receiving. But this begs the question, why does that law exist? What purpose does gratitude--the dynamic exchange, serve?

I truly believe that gratitude connects us with God, Source. Each time we express the feelings of gratitude we touch the Divine within us. There are differing levels of gratitude which determine the strength of the Divine connection. A simple “thank you” or “thanks” may lead to a mild connection, albeit a connection nonetheless. A step beyond a simple “thank you” would be the actual feeling of gratitude. It is the the warm, loving expressive feeling of wanting to reach out and make the connection. This feeling of gratitude is a stronger energy and thereby generates a stronger connection with the Divine.