When I first learned about meditation years ago, I tried quite a few types of meditations. Later, I find that both breath meditation and mantra meditation work pretty effectively on me. And in recent years, I mainly practice mantra meditation only. Since I love reading books including self-help books, there is no surprise that I have heard of the word “gratitude” a lot. Having said that, I didn’t notice that there is such a thing as “gratitude meditation” until recently. Let me share some of my findings with you. I will also explore with you on whether I think this is a nice or legit type of meditation.
Let’s Define Gratitude
Having gratitude simply means that you are aware of things that you should be grateful for. On the other hand, if you don’t have gratitude, that means you take everything for granted. Some common things that many people should be grateful for are: having a healthy body, having a good family, being able to make living, and having enough food to eat, etc. With the self-help industry keep getting more and more popular over the years, it is a word that many of you should have heard of. A lot of books suggest that you should think about three things that you are grateful for every morning to start your day.
Let’s Re-Visit What Meditation Is
Now, since you know what gratitude is about, let’s look at what meditation actually is. Meditation is basically a simple tool to clear your mind. The process of meditation involves assigning a simple task to your brain. The big ideas behind this is that our mind is always working somewhat intensively by thinking about things, problems. It is impossible to make it stop and the only way to make it rest is to make it work on a very simple task so that it is very close to resting completely. You want to continue to let your mind the simple task for 10 minutes at least. While your mind is working on it, you usually want to choose a quite place to sit and have your eyes closed. After 10 minutes or more, you can re-open your eyes and you will have a clear mind. With that clear mind, you can think more clearly and rationally and work more efficiently.
Every Type of Meditation Has a Focus
In the previous paragraph, I have explained that you want to assign your mind to do a small task. That small task is usually called the “focus”. Let’s look at the two most common types of meditation: breath meditation and mantra meditation. To practice breath meditation, the focus or the simple task that you are assignment to your mind is to observe the breathing in and breathing out action of your breath. For mantra meditation, the focus is to repeatedly read a meaningless word in your mind. Keep in mind that every meditation has a focus, as that point will become useful when we look at whether gratitude meditation is a good form of meditation.
What is Gratitude Meditation?
Gratitude meditation is the type of meditation that uses your gratitude as your focus. In more detail, during a gratitude meditation, you would say, in your mind usually, what you are grateful for. There are no rules on how exactly it has to be done. For example, you can simply repeated say in your mind the top three things that you are grateful with your eyes close and continue to do that for 5 to 10 minutes. You may list out things, people and events that you are grateful and not just thinking about the top 3. Some people suggest that you don’t really need to make it as formal as other types of meditation. For example, you don’t really need to have your eyes closed. Just thinking about what you are grateful for while you are waiting for your morning coffee is a form of gratitude meditation.
The Question to Ask: Is Gratitude Meditation Making My Mind More Clear?
While there is no question that knowing what you should be grateful for and not taking every thing for granted is good for you, the main goal of meditation to clear your mind. So, the big question to ask here is: can gratitude meditation clear your mind effectively. When you remind yourself of what should truly be grateful for, there is a good chance that it can reduce some of your ego. By getting rid of your ego, you may be able to think more logically. However, when I compare 10 minutes of gratitude meditation with 10 minutes of mantra meditation, I found that I seem to have a more well-rested and clear mind with mantra meditation. I think that this is mainly due to the fact that having to think about what you are grateful for is not really as simple a task as to repeatedly read a mantra in your mind. In other words, the “part time job” that you are try to assign to your mind to work on is a relatively intense “part time job” so your mind is not as close to resting as it is with mantra meditation.
Is Gratitude Meditation Good for You?
After trying out gratitude meditation myself, I would say that it is a good way to meditate although not as good as mantra meditation and breath meditation. That can be complete differently for everyone. I find that gratitude meditation can relax my mind and make me slightly cheerful but it doesn’t allow my mind to rest as completely and therefore can’t have my mind cleared as effectively.
Having a Quick Gratitude Meditation After My Mantra Meditation
Because I can see the benefit of gratitude meditation which is to make myself my peaceful and forgiving. I am trying to add a one-minute session of gratitude meditation right after my 10-minute mantra meditation session. I think it makes a lot of sense to combine these two types of meditations as the mantra meditation can give my mind some good rest and the gratitude meditation can give myself some good reasons to enjoy my day.