Q: To put this simply What is the healing power of gratitude itself? — NP, New York

A: Your question, though simply posed, inquires into profound depths of inner communion and relationship. If we look at gratitude itself, we find that it always arises as we become conscious of our relationship to someone or something. When we’re grateful, we recognize the intrinsic, beneficial value of the object (whether a person, being, thing, or condition); but even more fundamentally, we perceive an underlying connection between it and ourselves. A feeling of benign belonging suffuses our gratitude. This feeling runs much deeper than a mere commerce of values, where the coin of exchange is only personal satisfaction.

Gratefulness connects us to the heart, for it is here that all relationships in longing, love, sympathy, and compassion resolve in a point of unity. We still maintain the distinctions between ‘you’ and ‘me’, ‘I’ and ‘world’, but not the walls of separateness that keep us isolated and disconnected. Our disharmonies, brought back to the magnetic pole of the heart, realign with life’s rich wholeness, which is what authentic healing is all about.

Here then, we discover gratitude’s healing power, seeing opportunity for growth in the midst of troubles, embracing the wisdom of beginnings and endings, and tolerating limitations while striving for better ways. In these and a thousand other ways we see the unity of life articulating its sanctity in myriad dynamics of relationship. We begin to breathe with the universe.

— William Young


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