thank godFirst things first, let’s get this out of the way. I am not an expert on naikan.  Not even close.  I listened to a pod cast, a short eleven minutes that spoke to my heart.  It was about cultivating an attitude of gratitude.

Perhaps it caught my attention because this is a non-Christian approach to something that Christians have been discussing an awful lot lately.  Every week, I see blog posts on learning to be grateful for the many blessings God sends our way.  When I saw the listing for this, I was curious because I want to know how other people approach problems that we all have in common.

In naikan, you learn to be grateful for the many small things that make your life good.  Among the examples cited were your car that started, the lines on the street that keep everyone in the correct lane, and a hug from your daughter.

Truthfully, we experience many reasons to be grateful on a daily basis.  Today alone I’ve been able to make contact with friends through Facebook, been able to cook breakfast super quick in the microwave, had a wonderful cup of coffee, and, because a doctor’s appointment was cancelled, had time to touch up my toe nails.  Life is good!

Why then we are so often unhappy?  Why do we focus on the things that went wrong in our day?

Expectations.  We expect things to go our way.  We want that light to be green, the new dress we ordered to arrive today and that clerk had better wait on me next.  We expect these things and when they don’t happen — disappointment!

Entitlement.  We deserve these things, don’t we?  Pinterest tells us our homes should always be beautiful.  Yelp makes it clear that each and every meal we eat out should be inexpensive, delicious, fast and beautifully served.  And there better not be anyone in our vicinity that we don’t like the looks of…

Self-focus.  It is easy to believe that we deserve the best when the only person that we focus on is ourselves.  To break this mind set, we need to focus outward.  When I do, I notice that in addition to myself there are a lot of people out there and, you know something nutty?  They’re His too.  His Blessings aren’t reserved just for me.

I should be grateful and thank Him for those that are.