In GRACEFUL LIVING by Beth Lee-HerbertLeave a Comment

The cornerstone of my spiritual life can be summed up with one word: gratitude. Without gratitude, no matter how “spiritual” I might look or act, my heart is closed and cold, and there is no room for the mystery of the divine. With gratitude, just sweeping the floor is an answered prayer. When I am filled with gratitude, my heart naturally extends in every direction; there is ease even in hardship. Grace even in failure or disaster.

Some days it feels like my natural state is feeling dissatisfied no matter where I look. The dark surrounds, everything feels too small, not enough, uncomfortable. Pulled under by the rip tide of self-pity, I don’t know why I’m drowning. Other days, the rising sun offers my heart so much joy that I couldn’t be more full. The difference is always the underlying tone of gratitude.

Gratitude is not dependent on what I have or lack, not dependent on circumstance to provide. The truth is nothing from outside will ever bring lasting happiness. No one, nothing will save me. Gratitude is a wellspring of inner peace regardless.

Gratitude is not about painting a veneer of happy over the difficulty reality often presents. It is not about thinking positively in order to avoid feeling. Life is sometimes hard. Gratitude is holding that pain lightly. Gratitude comes at the moment when you’ve cried out all your tears and your heart is deliciously empty.

Gratitude is also quite simple to cultivate. At a moment of utter spiritual bankruptcy a good while ago, I was told to write a list of ten things I was grateful for every night before bed. At first I did so begrudgingly, but was amazed at the impact. Nothing changed but my perspective. My heart opened, expanding out of the darkness of closed self-focus.

I invite you to experiment with gratitude. Try writing a list of ten things you are grateful for every night for a few weeks. Does that affect the quality of your life? Can you rest in your heart more easily? Do you feel more satisfied, more at peace?

About the Author
Beth Lee-Herbert

Beth Lee-Herbert


Beth is a dharma practitioner based outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. She enjoys stainless skies and the fresh smell of rain, solitude and deep connection, silence and laughter, and every form of dance. Other LEVEKUNST articles by the same author.

Photo of flower by Beth Lee-Herbert
Sky view by Morquefile

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