August 19     

Today's quotation:

Gratitude is the highest form of acceptance.  Like patience, it is one of the catalytic agents, one of the alchemist's secrets for turning dross to gold, hell to heaven, death to life.  Where there is gratitude we get the teaching.  Where there is resistance we discover only that it keeps us painfully ignorant.

Stephen Levine
A Year to Live

Today's Meditation:

I like the idea of putting the concepts of gratitude and acceptance together.  After all, I can't feel grateful for your friendship until I accept the fact that you are a friend of mine.  I can't be grateful for the gift unless I accept the gift.  I can't be grateful for having a roof over my head and food to eat until I've accepted the presence of both-- my resistance would be fearing the loss of both, and not feeling grateful because I'm not sure that I won't lose my home and my food.

Gratitude unlocks many, many doors in our lives.  It's one of the strongest tools we have in our toolbox that's designed to help us to create a life that we can live fully, though we run the constant risk of starting to take things for granted and not feeling the gratitude that should be so important to us.  When we feel and show gratitude, we're acknowledging the fact that much of what we have in life comes from outside of ourselves, and that we often haven't done anything to actually deserve what we have.

Of course, it's a brutal trap to think that we have to deserve everything that comes our way-- some good things just happen.  So we don't want to fall into that trap-- we can look at something undeserved as something wonderful for which we can be very thankful.  And that gratitude is the key to not taking it for granted, to recognizing the fact that life is very generous to us often without rhyme or reason, and we can accept the good and not resist it, thus enriching our lives.

Below, John makes a great point when he ties gratitude to life, hope, faith and virtually every other virtue that human beings can exhibit.  If we want to be virtuous people, it seems, we must be grateful people.  After all, what good do the virtues do us if we aren't thankful for them?

Questions to consider:

For which things are you most grateful?  Least?  Why?

How do you see the connection between gratitude and acceptance?

How do you imagine life would be if we had no gratitude?

For further thought:

Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion.  Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception.  Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude.  Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.

John Henry Jowett

more on gratitude



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