“Gratefulness is not the result of happiness. It is the cause of happiness.”
Brother David Stendl-Rast
Gratitude is part of the shared territory of all religion. It acknowledges our dependence on other people and systems of support we forget in our illusion of independence. I use
“ The Five Prostrations” taught by Thich Nhat Hanh whenever I find myself in a dark cloud of feeling I can’t shake. I offer you my paraphrase of it in the spirit of the holiday.
----In gratitude I bow down to my biological ancestors, (to my parents and grandparents and brother, and aunts and uncles and cousins and nieces and nephews and in-laws) who connect me to the chain of human manifestation.
----In gratitude I bow down to my spiritual ancestors, (to Jesus and the Buddha, Ram Dass and Krishnamurti, Lao Tzu and Sri Aurobindo, Mary Baker Eddy, the wonderful Alan Watts and of course Thich Nhat Hanh) who connect me with the best of myself and to the divine whole of which I’m a part.
---In gratitude I bow down to the systems that support me, (to the plants and animals that are my food and the growers, packers, truck drivers, and grocery workers that bring it to me. And all of the systems behind all of my transactions with my surroundings, including the man who is trying to unclog my sink as my turkey cooks.) I understand how they interconnect me with the world in multiple ways and how dependent I am on these systems for the way I live.
---In gratitude I bow down to the people I love. (To Michael and my friends and family, my students and that special category of past students who are now dear friends, to the Youth Ambassadors and the Medicine Wheel Elders, to every person I meet who cares about other people) all of who stimulate my highest vibrational state.
---I gratitude I bow down to the people who’ve made me suffer. (*) I understand they are not as lucky as I am, that they suffer and as a result need to spread suffering.
(*) Fill in your own particulars for all the areas with ()
Lately I’ve begun to spontaneously bow my head with my hands together to thank people whenever they’ve given me help of any kind. It feels good, and I realize how few gestures we have for showing each other respect.
Thank you to the community of people who visit my bog. I appreciate your attention and sensitive comments. My awareness of your presence stimulates my mind and ideas.