Gratitude is akin to respect because it too makes a person appreciate what they are and who they are. Gratitude reaches out to the universe or to God or to destiny — because gratitude is usually directed at someone or something, whether defined and identified or not. Who, or what are we grateful to? The answer to this question might differ from person to person. Who, for example, are we grateful to for the gift of life? Yes, we were born of our parents, but who or what decided we should be the unique person that we are? Did we petition to be born? If so, why now and why here? Of course, we cannot answer these questions in a definitive way, but contemplating them can indeed deepen the quality and extent of our gratitude.

The state of being grateful allows a person to appreciate the many gifts they have received. The fact of being born is the first gift and with it came a whole package of working parts — eyes, organs, senses, soul, arms, legs — everything in working order. Then came the ability to walk, speak and think — those human attributes that make us unique and special in this world. All these gifts were freely given — we acquired them with little or no effort on our part. And yet, how we use them is a reflection of our gratitude. Do we pay back for existence by how we use our gifts? Do we process fine energies which enhance our surroundings and the planet herself? Do we try to improve, be the best we can be and develop our unique skills and abilities, so we can honestly say we have lived life to the full?


To live life fully is true gratitude. Each person is unique and has the opportunity to develop that uniqueness into a symphony of expression that no one else can manifest.

There are two kinds of gratitude — directed and general. Directed gratitude is when we are grateful to somebody or something (like an institution) for an identifiable gifting. It can be an event, a relationship, a job or an object. Being grateful is to say thank you and show our appreciation. Perhaps we reciprocate another’s kindness with a gift or a letter. Then we feel the matter is closed — a gift begets a gift or a fitting response. But the general gratitude never ends. It has no beginning and no end, because it is a natural feeling that accompanies the gift of life. It is not directed to any specific person or deity, but it is an energy that we send into the universe as we thank the powers that have given us life and continue to support us every single day.

Gratitude is a heartfelt thank you that lives in a person’s energy field and radiates out from their aura into their surroundings. It becomes activated when a person consciously adds up that they are glad to be alive. Personal gratitude is then added to the essence of gratitude that lives in the world and it will cause others who know and value us to be grateful for our existence as well. Thus gratitude can grow and by contagion cause others to be stopped in their tracks to appreciate the small things in life, like the beauty of a flower or the song of a bird, as well as the big things, like the relationship with one’s spouse or one’s parents or one’s children. There is so much to be grateful for — just look around you and open your eyes to the beauty of nature and the intricacies of your own engineering.

There is a scene in the television series, John Adams when in his old age the former president stops while walking in a field with a friend and drops down on his knees to express adoration to the Creator for making a thing of beauty as simple and perfect as a small field flower. This attitude of gratitude is often a gifting that comes to a person later in life (as in the example of John Adams), when one can appreciate and value the seemingly small things in life, which hold a great power of connection to the forces of the universe.

Being grateful connects a person to great things. For example, if we are grateful for our relationship with our partner, we will address our gratitude to whatever it was that had brought us together in the first place. You can call it kismet or fate, or even go as far as adding up that there are frequencies in this world that are attracted to each other and that the Law of Attraction was active in that circumstance of your first meeting.

Belief in the Law of Attraction brings this energetic law into one’s awareness and can be instrumental in activating it (setting it in motion) in order to achieve one’s desires in the future. Gratitude is a great place to start. It acknowledges that there are forces and energies that are greater than ourselves and are at play all the time, working for us (on our behalf) even while we sleep.

Gratitude can connect us to great energies and can cause them to take notice of our endeavors. Just as we like to be appreciated and acknowledged if we give someone a present or help them out in some way, so do universal energies. Being grateful is like sending a thank you note to the universe. Having received our thanks, Creation is so much more likely to help us on our way again. It is like building a highway along which good energies and progressive circumstances can come our way and enhance our future.

By Joanna Infeld