LIVING IN APPRECIATION
Bruce I. Doyle, III, Ph.D.
When I was a small boy, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. Before each meal Pop-Pop would say grace - "Dear Jesus, as our heads we bow for this food we thank thee now, Amen." Looking back over my life this comes to mind as one of my first recollections of appreciation. Pop-Pop was expressing his appreciation for our food. It didn't mean much to me then. It was just something we were supposed to do before meals we prayed.
When I went to bed, my mother would always insist that I say my prayers - "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to, keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take." Another expression of appreciation - for my life.
As we grow up, we are taught the appropriate ways of expressing appreciation. We learn to say thank you, clap our hands, bow, give gifts, smile and shout out loud. Our expressions of appreciation usually are extended to another person or a seemingly higher power as a means of showing our gratitude for something received.
Another aspect of appreciation is to hold something or someone in awe, holding, it or them in high esteem. It could be for what it or they symbolize(s) or how it or they affect us, like the American flag or something of rare beauty. It also could be something that touches us deeply, like gazing at the stars and contemplating the vastness of the universe. Appreciating is something most of us do - on occasion.
Can you imagine being in a state of appreciation - all the time? When you are appreciating something or someone, how do you feel? You feel good, don't you? That's the first clue - feelings. Isn't that what we are all striving for - to feel good?
We usually say we want to be successful, but what that really means for most of us is to the place where we "feel good." When we feel good there isn't much more that we desire. Our energy is positive and light and we attract more positive situations, circumstances, and events into our life. Life seems to flow effortlessly.
So, it would seem, that all we have to do to feel good all the time would be to stay in appreciation. I'm sure you already are conjuring up a list of all the things or people you know that you could not appreciate no matter how hard you tried.
When you find something or someone that you can't appreciate, what is it that keeps you from being in appreciation? It's a judgment you have, isn't it? That's the secret. To stay in appreciation you have to give up judgment. Since the printing of James Redfield's Celestine Prophecy and Deepak Chopra's Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, the subject of being non judgmental has become quite popular.
At a recent workshop, with 80 persons in attendance, the audience was asked, "How many of you are working on being non judgmental?" Nearly everyone raised their hand. After some discussion, what became clear was that giving up judgment for most of them was quite challenging. What was happening, now that they were more aware of being judgmental, was that they were now being critical (judgmental) of themselves for having judgmental thoughts, further compounding the problem.
Being non judgmental doesn't mean to stop talking about the person or item about which you have critical thoughts. It means eliminating the critical thoughts altogether. To my knowledge, there is only one way to do it, and that is to eliminate the source of the critical thoughts. That is done by removing the limiting beliefs that are creating the critical thoughts and learning to focus your attention on the present moment, not on the past or the future.
Focusing, on the present moment helps keep you out of worry, fear, and doubt while you work on removing the limiting beliefs that are generating your worry, fear and doubt. Focusing on the present moment helps you focus on and appreciate what you have, not what you don't have. By focusing on what you have you can stay in appreciation. You can be grateful for what you have even if there are things that you may want to change in the future. If you focus on the fact that you don't have something, you fall out of being in appreciation, your energy becomes negative, you feel lousy, and you attract more of the state of being in lack.
Your creative energy follows your attention. And, what you focus your attention on expands in your life. So, begin by appreciating, in each moment, what you have and you will attract more of it - you will begin creating whatever you need moment by moment.
Stop for a moment - and ask your self honestly, "Do I have everything that I need in this moment?" Not what you may ultimately want, but what you need. So, if you have everything you need in this moment, can't you appreciate and be thankful for what you have. If you extrapolate that to each future moment, you always will have everything you need.
With your attention focused in the moment, start looking for the limiting beliefs that are generating your critical thoughts. To do that, ask yourself; "What would someone have to believe to experience these thoughts (name the ones that bother you the most)?" Continue asking yourself this question, repeatedly, until you uncover the "root belief” that is generating the judgmental thoughts. You will have a sudden realization when you uncover it. And, maybe a few tears. The belief was most likely related to some painful situation about which you made a decision (created a belief). Now, from a new perspective, you can choose to change it.
As you work your way though your library of beliefs with this simple technique - removing the limiting ones - you will notice that your judgmental thoughts diminish and your mind becomes more peaceful. It may take a while, so be patient with yourself. If you continue to work on removing your limiting beliefs and stay focused in the moment on what you have, you will be on your way to living in appreciation. Can one live in appreciation all the time? I don't know, but it's worth a try. Go for it!