From Cantor Lee
While waiting at Barnes and Noble for a meeting , I had chance to peruse through the spirituality section. Wow, there were quite a number of books!! Leafing through several brought up the topic of gratitude including tips on how to develop a gratitude practice.
I follow the Jewish tradition of reciting the Hebrew prayer, Modah Ani (Modeh Ani for a male) first thing in the morning. It is actually a prayer that gives thanks for having our soul returned to us. I love the way the Hebrew words sound and go throughout the day just singing the three words Modah Ani L’fanecha – “I give thanks before You,” as part of my personal gratitude practice. At night before I go to sleep I think of all the things that happened during the day for which I can say thank you. When I am in my journaling mood which is on and off, I write them down.
Of course it is much easier to be grateful when things are going well! But that is the whole point of a “practice.” We practice when things are going well so we when we really need it, it actually works! And yes, throughout the years, I have discovered that being grateful does make a difference especially when life seems to be throwing some curve balls.
For me a gratitude practice brings me to a Higher Place, the place of connection to the Divine, to G-d. In this place, I am uplifted and filled with Peace which then radiates out to world.
From Rabbi David aka “The Reb”
One of the most powerful Jewish paradigms is the ability to deeply appreciate the world around us. It is the understanding that nothing should be taken for granted, the simplest natural occurrence, the most basic bodily function, the smallest of creatures, the grass in the field, the trees, the flowers, anything we can think of is a marvel which deserves our appreciation and admiration. This kind of understanding is a gate to the highest spiritual discourse a human being can achieve. The first thought that should enter our mind when we first open our eyes in the morning is a prelude to a day blessed with expressions of appreciation.
Upon opening our eye we recite: Modeh Ani L’fanecha…”I thank you, Master of life and subsistence for returning my soul to me with much compassion”. One immediately washes the hands. This is a symbolic spiritual cleansing of the body so that it can receive back the soul which is being lent to us every morning for the day. What a powerful notion: Our soul is a gift which we receive every morning with much joy and appreciation to watch over, to love and cherish.