There are so many prayers and meditations specifically designed to bring about collective conscious awareness in the inhabitants of our world. However, one of the best exercises in developing conscious awareness is the practice of being thankful.

What is conscious awareness and what does it have to do with gratitude?

Conscious awareness is our permanent spiritual essence awakening within our subconscious and becoming aware of itself as well as our physical awareness. Have you ever become aware of your own awareness? This is conscious awareness. It provides a different perspective, very much like the helicopter view compared to our physical awareness which gives us a very intimate, close-up, tangible assessment of the here and now. If we react with only this information, we will limit our reaction to this isolated incident and how it, "made us feel".

Car accidents, getting laid off, breaking up with a lover, or losing a friend are all just as packed full of reasons to be thankful as Christmas day, winning the lottery, landing the job, or making it to the gas station BEFORE you run out of gas. By forcing yourself to expand the repertoire of events that could warrant gratitude, you are also forcing yourself to see a bigger picture. You are awakening to your spiritual body, or higher-self consciousness, which is our connection to collective consciousness.

The tougher it is to give thanks, the more affective it is when given because you had to climb to a higher vantage point in order to find something to be thankful for. For example, someone you love dearly passes away. It is hard enough to believe that they are moving forward in their journey and happily accepting their transition, let alone, the realization that you too could be grateful for their progression. In order to find gratitude for the situation you would need to perceive it from a higher vantage point. The higher your vantage point, the more you perceive. The more you perceive, the more reasons you will have to be thankful.

Think about the lost loved one, if you are only aware of the pain caused by the loss you will not feel grateful but rather hurt. However, with the helicopter view of conscious awareness we can see the bigger picture, we can see that this incident is necessary for other spiritual developments to fully blossom and our reactions will show a better understanding of the event. You might feel grateful that you now get to experience and process the pain of loss because you might realize that by experiencing this pain you are re-absorbing pain you have caused and in so doing, balance your Karmic debt.

Karma is a mythological term defined by the magic of attraction. It describes the relationship between what you do, and what is done to you. The sum of a person's actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate. The frequency of your body's natural hum seems to dictate the way you interact with other life, or whether you cause harm or prevent it; your actions write the script for your experiences. The reason most people rack up a rather large karmic debt and have to reincarnate several thousand times over the course of their souls journey, is because they are completely engulfed in satisfying their desires or drowning in their emotions with no way to govern or tweak their reactions because they have not developed conscious awareness.

The lack of conscious awareness makes it near impossible to control desire because we are not aware of it. We become physically aware of the desire in that our bodies recognize a desire exists and then reacts to satisfy it. This creates a cycle of desire and temporary satisfaction. A cycle, by very definition could never be satisfied. In order to create balance one has to develop conscious awareness. We must actually practice becoming aware of when we recognize a the urge of desire before our body reacts to satisfy it. At this critical point, we have become aware of awareness; we have created the space and time to connect with our spirit body to perceive the bigger picture and make a more informed reaction. The reward for our effort is actually feeling grateful instead of cheated;  content and not angered, distressed or depressed no matter what life throws at us.

At this point many might ask, "Why are we not all born fully aware of our spiritual body and its vast storage of knowledge?"

First of all, there are many who are born fully aware and become yogi masters or spiritual teachers. An ever-growing number of new-age spiritualist believe that before their incarnation process begins, these highly evolved masters chose to retain at least some knowledge of existing elsewhere to serve a specific purpose here on earth. For example, they may choose to incarnate to help a specific disciple or lead several disciples and create massive change in a short time. Some examples of such people are: Jesus of Nazareth, called Christ and saviour by millions around the world; Krishna, a Hindu deity known as the perfect incarnation of the supreme Lord Vishnu: BabaJi, known as the deathless guru; and Yogananda, who was the Father of Yoga in the west. Many others have awakened within the incarnation like a flower that had waited all season to bloom; they plan their incarnation for the blooming process. The Profit Muhammad, Buddha, and Gandhi are prime examples of awakening after birth. There are more modern examples as well, such as: Dr. Wayne Dyer, Dr. Deepok Chopra, Eckart Tolle, Louise Hay and Shakti Gawain, to name just a few of the many.

However, for the majority, having a memory of life between life might interfere with the lesson's planned for the incarnation. If we knew all that we are in our true essence, we would not have anything to overcome, learn, experience or achieve. We would not fully feel the hurt required to make the karmic decisions necessary to progress on our soul's journey. We need the physical "experiencer" as well as the spiritual guide so we can have these experiences but control and consciously choose the reaction that will fulfil our karmic debt, or create balance between our influence and our experience.

Daily meditation can enable us to slip through the veil at will and commune with our higher-self consciousness (spiritual body) which is directly connected to the source of all consciousness (God). Whether you have a spiritual practice or not, we would all greatly benefit from awakening our spiritual bodies, developing conscious awareness, and reacting to all things with gratitude.