Often the words grateful and thankful are used interchangeably, yet the nuance of difference in their meaning intrigues me. I find myself drawn to the concept of feeling grateful. Somehow, this concept implies an inner experience that would precede the act of giving thanks, feeling being a more subtle level of experience than acting*.
Looking at the origins of words can often shed light on differing nuances of meaning. According to the Oxford Dictionaries site, the word grateful appeared in mid-sixteenth century English, meaning "feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness" and also meaning, synonymously, "thankful." The origin of this word is the Latin gratus with prior Proto-Indo-European origins, including a cognate in Sanskrit गृणाति (gṛṇā́ti) meaning “to praise,” as well as Old Church Slavonic and Old Prussian cognates, meaning (respectively) "to sacrifice" and "to praise".
These origins of the word grateful do imply an inner experience, perhaps spiritual in nature. That feeling of being grateful has overtones of an inner awareness of the divine hand we see in others' actions, or feel in their presence, or simply in our awe at the beauty of nature, whatever it is that makes us pause and appreciate the beauty of abundance and goodness in life.
I feel grateful for life, for friends, for my home and my community, and most of all for the simple, effortless technique of transcending.
What makes you feel grateful?
* In the Science of Creative Intelligence, Lesson 19: "The Nature of the Mind as Revealed in SCI," Maharishi talks about intelligence and experience as including the senses, mind, intellect, feeling, and ego. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. (1972). The science of creative intelligence. [33 lesson video tape series]. Livingston Manor, NY: MIU Press.
 “grateful.” Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved on November 25, 2013 from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/grateful
“gratus.” Wikionary. Retrieved November 25, 2013 from En.wikionary.org/wiki/gratus.