A sense that somebody wants to help us out, somebody wants to do something that’s of benefit to others; that’s something to be grateful for. When people want to do that, we should pay attention to those things and recognize them. That’s when a lot of gratitude comes, when we pay attention to others and to the efforts that they make.
Also, when we put ourselves into a frame of mind that is willing to measure things not just from our own views, perspectives, feelings, but is able to extend our perception and way of viewing things: how others feel, how they think, how they perceive – then there can be room for a lot of gratitude. There is a certain network that draws us together. Empathy arises as well. There can be a lot of gratitude that comes into the heart when we’re able to really extend ourselves beyond our own feelings, our own biases, our own perspectives. That is actually a very important thing to reflect on, because so often we tend to get caught up in how we feel, how we like things, what we dislike, what we want, what we don’t want and we measure the world, measure ourselves and measure others from that perspective. Inevitably, that ends up being very limiting, very cramped and crowded. If we follow this attitude it’s easy to drift into negativity or just not to experience a sense of expansiveness in the heart, and that doesn’t give much room for gratitude.
This reflection by Ajahn Passano is from the book, Gratitude, pp. 54-55.