If You Want to be Happy Be Grateful

The one thing all humans have in common is that each of us wants to be happy, says Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk and interfaith scholar. And happiness, he suggests, is born from gratitude. If you want to be happy be grateful.

The Dalai Lama puts it this way:

I believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. From the moment of birth, every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering.

A dharma brother wrote that Brother Steindl-Rast used to spend six months at a Benedictine hermitage in the hills above Big Sur. The rest of the time, he is traveling and lecturing.

He and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) were friends and Steindl-Rast even wrote the foreword to Thay’s book, Living Buddha, Living Christ.

This video presents an inspiring lesson in slowing down, looking where you’re going, and above all, being grateful.

To me, gratitude is one of the most important practices we can do. Gratitude practice is part of my morning and evening practices.

In the evening, I practice recollection of a minimum of three experiences that I am grateful for this day. In the morning meditation, I repeat the recollections and basically add what Thay taught us:

Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.

This practice has increased my level of happiness beyond all my expectations. It can work for you as well.

So, once again, I ask, “What are you grateful for today?” This week? This month? This year?

Books by David Steindl-Rast

Gratefulness, The Heart of Prayer: An Approach to Life in Fullness

David Steindl-Rast
Henri J. M. Nouwen

A monk reflects on the many aspects of the spiritual life with the basic attitude of gratefulness.

“A true delight.” —Henri J. M. Nouwen… [Read More…]

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