Levels of Gratitude

Gratefulness should be a part of our daily lives, rather that something reserved for the Thanksgiving dinner only. Researchers found that the level of gratitude we practice on a regular basis is directly and specifically related to our level of happiness.

Take a look at the five levels of gratitude described below to determine your current condition. This can help you to decide what steps you can take to improve your overall state of emotional health.


Cornucopia - grapes 
I think is safe to say that everybody attains a level of gratitude, to a certain degree, and not only nowadays.

Almost 2000 years ago, the famous roman statesman, philosopher and orator Cicero said:

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but also the parent of all the others.

Almost everybody has had the chance to experiment gratitude from their very first days on this planet, when as infants they were nourished and looked after without even asking for it.

Most of us first learned about gratitude from our parents, during their talks about family and the rights and responsibilities of being a part of it.

Most probably, we heard about it later in school, especially during those classes about ethics and civic rights and responsibilities.

Some of us found out more about it later in church or any other religious places of gathering. We have heard about it from the words of famous religious leaders from the oldest times to this very day.

Occasionally, we hear about it on TV or internet, in newspapers or magazines, when somebody showed, or did not show, gratitude in a spectacular way. We have to admit that media is not concerned with daily little acts of gratitude!

And last, but not least, once a year, on Thanksgiving, almost everybody talks about gratitude, and very often only because everybody else does so.

At this level, people show gratitude only because somebody else thinks is a good thing, espects it, notices it, or even rewards it.


Knowledge itself is not worth much unless it’s applied in the daily life. A kid will try to do a forbidden thing, like sticking his fingers in an outlet, or touching a hot stove, even though he was told many times not to do so. And the reason he is trying to do all these things is simple: he knows he shouldn’t, but he doesn’t understand why he shouldn’t. In other words, he is not aware of the danger behind these actions.

The next level of gratitude is awareness. This level is based on two things: knowledge and understanding of the necessity of being grateful. That’s why this level of gratitude requires a certain degree of maturity. This degree of maturity is sometimes attained by some teenagers, but never attained by some adults!

Everybody who took the Level I course in any style of Usui Reiki heard about The five Reiki Principles. At that moment, the student understood the importance and the necessity of the principle:

Just for today, be grateful.

People who attained this level show gratitude because they believe that by doing so they do the right thing. Still, at this level, gratefulness is applied in everyday life only occasionally.


This new level of gratitude involves a bold spiritual leap and the individual is intentionally expressing gratefulness. This means that this level is based on three things: knowledge, understanding, and the intention, or the choice, to act accordingly.

A gratitude practitioner is someone who has decided to carve out one small slice of his busy time to focus on gratefulness. This can take the form of making a small list (even one item) of things he is grateful for, or talk about gratitude with family, friends, or colleagues.

A good practice is to develop a family dinner time, or Sunday breakfast tradition, where everyone shares at least one thing from their day or week for which they are grateful.

Reiki Practitioners know already the principle that applies to all the other four Reiki Principles, including being grateful, and invites us to practice them actively:

Just for today, work hard.

At this level, people make a big step from being grateful when the opportunity shows, to choosing the opportunity of being grateful.


This level of gratitude includes not only the intention of being grateful, but also the commitment to gratefulness on a daily basis. This level is based on four things: knowledge, understanding, intention, and commitment to being grateful.

The gratitude disciple is focused on the intentional, planned, act of being grateful. It goes beyond selecting one thing out of the day to share with family or friends. Some people at this level keep a gratitude journal. Others practice gratitude as a part of their before-sleep routine. They find that the act of writing down or just remembering the things for which they are grateful opens their heart to gratefulness all through their everyday life.

People who attain this level of gratitude make a habit of making a list, written or mental, of at least five items that they are grateful to have in their life every day: a person, a thing, a place, a circumstance, a skill, an experience, etc. By making this a daily habit, your heart will begin to respond more easily and readily to gratefulness.

An outstanding example of such way of thinking is the eminent theoretical physicist and Nobel Prize laureate Albert Einstein, who said:

A hundred times a day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depends on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the full measure I have received and am still receiving.

Starting with this level, those people who choose to actively practice gratitude on a daily basis start to feel the effect of the universal Law of Attraction: the more gratitude they show for the good things in their life, the more of those things they receive.


Cornucopia - flowers 
This level of gratitude requires a more in-depth commitment to making gratitude a way of life. The previous levels of gratitude achievements are reinforced and distilled into habits in this ultimate level.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, one of the most respected, beloved, and influential world leaders in modern history said:

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

People that make gratitude a way of living demonstrate an attitude of thankfulness even in the midst of trouble. With faith, we are able to see beyond circumstances and realize that there can be some greater good, even in the worst conditions. We also learn to appreciate the challenges that compel us to correct our wrongs. We become grateful all the time, everywhere, in any conditions.

This level closes the circle started with the first level. We evolve from being thankful for the things we think are good in our life to being grateful for everything in our life. We become aware that everything we have in our life, pleasant or less pleasant, is exactly as it should be and hence we are thankful to the Universe for having them.

Only when we are able and willing to look beyond the circumstances, humble ourselves, and maintain a posture of prayer in our heart, will we truly have a life overflowing with the gift of gratefulness.

Not many people operate at this level on an ongoing basis from day to day. If you have had the privilege of knowing someone who has reached the advanced level of gratitude, you can attest to how inspiring, humbling, and encouraging it is to have them in your life.

Most Reiki Masters find that the practice of Reiki is a useful tool in achieving this level of gratitude.


These levels of gratitude can be applied to any other positive quality. If you are a Reiki practitioner, you can find these steps useful in implementing any of The five Reiki Principles in your daily life. And, ultimately, these are the very same steps towards true happiness.

Gratitude is like brushing your teeth: everybody knows it’s a good thing, most understand that it is really necessary, a lot do it when somebody else reminds them to do it, and some make a habit out of it.

Thank you note 
May you begin to experience ever-increasing levels of gratitude in your life, starting today.


Read more about gratitude and The Five Reiki Principle.

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4 Responses to “Levels of Gratitude”

  • Ioana Says:
    September 29th, 2008 at 21:49

    This is an excellent article that reminds people that certain values are universal. In every culture and country, there are different traditions that emphasize and encourage similar positive attitudes. The five principles of Reiki represent great guidelines to a healthy living and thinking style. This particular article teaches us that we should all take the time to express our gratitude for everything that we have been given. Thanks for the reminder, Reiki-Do! Once again, this website proves to be a source of great information.

  • Elise Goff Says:
    November 22nd, 2008 at 16:42

    It looks like North Americans didn’t invented Thanksgiving. They still have the merit to make it very popular!
    Thank you for the information

  • Dusty Mccormick Says:
    November 23rd, 2008 at 13:49

    American Thanksgiving is indeed popular, but superficial and comercial!

  • Theresa Barry Says:
    November 24th, 2008 at 05:34

    I believe that is better idea to be thankful every day, not only once a year.

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