Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Day 19: 29 Days of Gratitude

The Gratitude exercises for both Tuesday and Friday of this week are taken from a book called "How to Want What You Have" by Timothy Miller. (I preached on this book a couple of years ago.)

In HTWWYH, Miller talks about three disciplines: the discipline of gratitude, the discipline of paying attention, and the discipline of compassion. All three disciplines are somewhat inter-related.

The practice for Tuesday, 2/19 might be the most challenging of any of the gratitude practices presented thus far. It is a practice of feeling compassion for those who especially annoy or aggravate us. Practice: Today, notice whenever you see something that annoys or aggravates you. Practice thinking understanding and compassionate thoughts about the people whose behavior is annoying.

For example, if you are in line at the grocery store and someone with twenty items is trying to sneak through the twelve items or fewer line, maybe think to yourself, "Poor guy! His life is so hurried and frantic that he feels rushed wherever he goes."

How does this relate to gratitude? I have found that when we constantly pay attention to the things that annoy and irritate us we lose the ability to see things for which we are grateful. Compassion and understanding can make gratitude more available to us.

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