Levels of gratitude

Are you feeling stuck in your life?

What if you could change that step by step, to be living from a place of bliss?

Discover the levels of gratitude: the game to get you unstuck!

What would it take for your life to be amazing?

External changes, certainly.

But the secret to a fulfilled life is a life lived from the inside-out.

What would that look like?

What would it take for that to happen?

Back in 2017, after an intense year of transformation living in San Francisco, I decided to take time off, and chose to live for two months at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, in Pondicherry, India. I spent most of my time meditating, and being of service by volunteering at the Ashram’s archives, working on translations. Most of all, I was at peace. Everything was a gift, and I was living in a constant state of gratitude and bliss. It dawned on me that it is possible to live a peaceful life moment to moment.

Peace is a place to come from, not a place to go to.

Yes, I have to admit that experiencing gratitude is easier under some circumstances than others:

Living in the quiet and highly charged energy of an ashram or a monastery, or walking in Nature brings much more peace than being stuck in a Parisian metro at rush hour. But it is possible.

The Parisian metro is part of the training as long as you choose it to.

It is easier to be at peace when you spend your time with people you love, instead of people you resent.

And it is also easier to be at peace when you are in a place you love, instead of a place you secretly hate.

It is easier to be at peace when you have money in your bank account, a roof above your head and abundant organic food in the fridge, than when you are struggling every day. These are the favorable circumstances you can create for yourself. But it is not enough. There are millionaires and celebrities who are unhappy, frustrated, depressed, to the point of committing suicide, and on the other end, you have Sadhus in India, wise people, and people with much more modest ways of living (Notice I didn’t label them as “poor”), who are among the happiest on earth (see the documentary Happy).

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As a matter of fact, when I was in India, my bank account was at a low point it had not hit in a really long time. Yet, I had rarely felt as happy and liberated. I even considered living there and staying longer, but I had some business to take care of back in Europe and the U.S. It dawned on me that if gratitude and abundance is a State of Being, that means I can “take it” with me, or even better, I can create it and experience it wherever I am on the planet.

Since then, I have been consciously practicing gratitude, to be able to live in this state no matter where I am in the world. That does not mean I spend 100% of my time in this state. At moments I get out of it, I feel frustration and anger, like everybody else. But just like in meditation, when your attention wanders away, you can bring it back! That’s the game.

Yes, gratitude is a practice, and I believe it is also a game with various levels.

You can play gratitude !

Here are the levels of the game:

Level -1: Unsatisfaction

Level 0: Satisfaction

Level 1: Appreciation

Level 2: Gratitude

Level 3: “Blessedness”

Level 4: Bliss

The more you aim for what you really want (which automatically aligns you with your Soul/Divine purpose), the smoother you climb this ladder.

The more you climb the ladder, the more magic and miracles you will manifest / receive in your life.

Level -1: Unsatisfaction

You do not appreciate what you have, and it is very likely that you do not have what you want. You are living in a scarcity mindset, and you struggle a lot. You feel a lot of resentment.

How to stay at this level:

Blame external circumstances and other people for your situation. Do nothing about it. Stay stuck.

How to move to the next level:

Start learning to appreciate what you have. Look at one thing that you can be grateful for, and think about it. Do that once a day, five days a week, first thing in the morning.

Stop seeing yourself as a victim, and start taking responsibility for what you do, say, feel and think.

Start thinking about what you really want in life.

Stop taking as much and start giving more. It doesn’t have to be only material, but material can help too.

Level 0: Satisfaction

You appreciate what you have, and are satisfied with the way things are.

“Life’s good.” “Things are OK.”

Yet, you are not beaming with gratitude, and deep inside, you know something is missing.

How to stay at this level:

Practice contentment only. That will keep you satisfied, but not thrilled with your life. Stay humble only, and do not have any ambition. Play small, that will keep you safe and satisfied (see my article on Life Preserving vs. Life Giving).

How to move to the next level:

Be honest with yourself:

  • What would make your life better?
  • What do you really want?
  • What is one tiny step you could take to move in that direction?

Take one tiny step a day, 5 days a week. Your life will change.

Level 1: Appreciation

You start to appreciate what you have, and feel gratitude at times. You know the value of giving, and know the value of earning with integrity. You are slowly moving in the direction of your dreams.

How to stay at this level:

Only appreciate. Don’t give more. Don’t be ambitious.

How to move to the next level:

Cultivate even more gratitude for the smallest things, and train your mind to see the positive in every situation so that it becomes an opportunity creator, instead of a blaming-machine.

Become clearer and clearer about what you really want, and what your values are. It is easier to feel gratitude for things you truly want than for those you don’t really care about.

It is OK to be ambitious about your Vision and your goals, as long as you remain humble in your approach and in your way of being.

Make a Hell Yes/Hell No list about what you truly want in your life.

Level 2: Gratitude

You start feeling longer lasting waves of gratitude, and you consciously plant new seeds of gratitude throughout your day. You have the ability to see what seems negative, and turn your mind around to see the positive in that situation: see the “Hidden Gift.” The more your practice, the more effective it becomes so that the negative feelings don’t last as long, and you start to see an opportunity in every problem.

I believe gratitude goes in pair with ambition. The more ambition you have, and the more you take the necessary steps, the more rewards you will get, which will fuel the feeling of gratitude.

Some of the people I respect the most are also highly ambitious:

H.H. The Dalai Lama: one of his goals: liberate all sentient beings from suffering. (How much more ambitious can you be?)

How to stay at this level:

Believe that gratitude is just temporary, and don’t cultivate it too much. Forget to see gratitude in the smallest things. Believe that gratitude is enough.

How to move to the next level:

Train your mind with deeper meditations, and when a problem arises, take the time to feel your negative emotions fully, and when they have started to pass, start to think about the positive in this situation. You can ask yourself:

“What is right about this, that I am not getting?”

When a blessing comes your way, ask the universe:

“How does it get any better than this?”

And see what happens…

Level 3: “Blessedness”

You feel blessed by everything that comes your way. You receive unconditionally, and bless others with your presence, your actions, your words, your gifts. You see everything Life offers you as a gift, and feel grateful for all of it. You feel privileged to be living this life in this unique way, yet there is no sense of pride. You feel deeply humbled by the miracles that unfold in the simplest things during your day. You see the beauty in everything, as well as the perfect mechanics of Creation, as well as the perfect timing of all processes.

At this stage, I don’t know what takes you to the next level.

All I have to say is: Follow your Guidance, Go Deeper and Trust the Process

Level 4: Bliss

In the stage of Bliss, you do not manage to see anything in a negative way. It would take your conscious will and intention to do so. Whatever comes your way just is. You might notice others taking things personally, or seeing a particular thing or situation in a negative way, but you know that it is just their clouded perception deceiving them. Your state allows you to feel full compassion for them, and be of support if they need, or if they ask for it. You can let them know about your availability to support them but you do not need to save them. You only need to cultivate this state of Bliss further, and help others come from that state.

What kind of world would you love to create, if you were to live your whole life 24/7 from that state of Bliss?

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