Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 08/10/2010

Gratitude, Appreciation and Contentment

It’s been some time but I recently finished a course and am now awaiting the birth of my second child. So, unfortunately, I can’t quite make a commitment to regular blogging again. However, there was an excellent thread started today on my favorite Dhamma forum, Dhammawheel, by Ben regarding gratitude and one’s personal practice thereof. His question spurred me to formulate in words just what and how I view the formal cultivation of gratitude. Here’s my response below:


Gratitude, appreciation and contentment mean a lot to me in terms of my own practice and I have, in fact, been focusing on them much more recently. I know you were asking about gratitude specifically but, for me, it is quite hard to contemplate any of them in isolation. Due to my own monotheistic background gratitude alone has always been conflated with the idea of gratitude to a being for something and, while this works well in the context of buddhanussati I have often found myself at loss when trying to cultivate gratitude for other, more abstract things. For example, I find it difficult to have gratitude for my health, for my body, for my job but I find I can easily appreciate them.

I find that when I forget to appreciate and be grateful my level of contentment drops and I go into hungry ghost or raging asura mode where I either blindly hop from one sense experience to the next attempting to suck every last drop of pleasure out or find fault with everything and everyone for failing to meet my expectations and needs. When I purposefully cultivate apprecation/gratitude and get a taste of contentment I feel richer, more settled and better able to meet life with warm-hearted acceptance.

Anyway, I apologize for the length of my reply ad I hope I have made some sense. I thank you for this excellent topic and llok forward to hearing from others. be well.


  1. Have missed reading about the thoughts that flow through your life and mind as paternal twins!

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