1. Sit comfortably with your spine erect. Take three full, deep breaths through your nose. Notice how your body feels right now. Is there any place in your body that feels pleasant? It could be your hands, your feet, or even your whole body. Stay with the pleasant feeling.
2. Now think of someone in your life who brings a smile to your face. It could be a child, a friend, or someone who helped you in the past — someone for whom you don’t have mixed feelings. You feel good just thinking about them. Now notice that experience of feeling good. Extend it by staying with it. You might recall a memory or picture their face.
3. Now let that be in the background, and bring your own sense of well-being to the foreground. Is there a sense of well-being present? Observe that the sense of well-being may start to fade as your mind becomes restless or the image of your special person fades.
4. Once again come into the body and look for a neutral feeling in your body. Maybe it’s your forehead, the backs of your knees, or the bottoms of your feet. It may be very subtle. Stay with whatever you’ve chosen. Open fully to the experience of it.
5. Now ask yourself if there is a sense of well-being associated with the neutral experience. It can be a feeling of quiet, or sweetness, or spaciousness, or it can feel like the lack of stimulation or pressure. Do this same thing with another place in the body that’s neutral — chest, shoulders, elbows.
6. Now let that go and direct your attention toward your life. Reflect on all of the things you have to be grateful for:
- being alive
- whatever degree of health you have
- having a mind that can be in awareness
- all the good times you’ve had
- family and friends
- being able to forgive ourselves and others
- the ability to learn
- being able to correct your mistakes
- being safe in this moment
7. How do these feeling of gratitude manifest in the body?
Keep noticing the sensations of well-being. Let the sensations keep coming, but keep them in the background and notice the feeling of gratitude itself. Be curious. What is this feeling of well-being? Spacious, relaxed, warm, tingly? When your mind notices that your body is sore or tired, see that this is just sensation arising and that you can stay with the feeling of gratitude.
8. Now notice the environment you’re in and anything that’s either neutral or pleasant — the room, the chair you’re sitting in. Then notice something you can appreciate — the quiet in the room, the sweetness of the air, the company of like-minded people. Stay with each one long enough to really know it. Then name something else you appreciate in your environment. Smile in appreciation of these things.
9. Finally, notice something in your internal experience — the quiet or spaciousness in the mind or body, the relaxedness, curiosity, or a good mood. Open to a full range of experience. Let your mind go wherever it wants to go, but meet it with this attitude of kindness. It is your true nature to be in this state of well-being.