A very important quality in relation to loving-kindness is this quality of feeling grateful. Before coming here I spent some time in India and while I was in the place where the Buddha became enlightened I was reflecting on what the Buddha did after his enlightenment. According to the tradition, after he became enlightened he spent 7 days just looking at the tree which gave him shelter. Just reflect on this: Buddha spending 7 days showing his gratitude for a tree. So it shows what a very important quality feeling grateful is.
Do we feel grateful for things? Do we feel grateful for other people? Do you feel grateful that you have discovered the Dhamma, that you have a group of spiritual friends? Do we ever make an effort to develop this quality of feeling grateful? Do we ever feel grateful that we can see? There are people who cannot see. Do you feel grateful that you can hear? There are some people who cannot hear. Do you feel grateful that you are healthy and that you can practise meditation without any problem?
So these are small things, little things, which we take for granted. You should visit very poor countries like India and Sri Lanka and then you might realise that you should feel grateful for some of the things you enjoy. But do we ever think about this? In those countries there are people without food. So shouldn’t we feel grateful when we have food to eat?
There is another aspect of feeling grateful: when we have unpleasant experiences we should also feel grateful for them because we can learn from them, they become our teachers.