This morning I stumbled on a TED talk by Brother David Steindl-Rast, an “inspiring lesson in slowing down, looking where you’re going, and above all, about being grateful”. He is a Benedictine monk, has a PhD in experimental psychology, is co founder of gratefulness.org, an interactive website with several thousand participants from more than 240 countries, and author of 99 blessings, a series of prayers for the general reader — whether people of faith, agnostics, or uncertain.
In 1958/59 Brother David was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Cornell University, where he also held the Thorpe Lectureship. He was one of the first Roman Catholics to participate in Buddhist-Christian dialogue, and is the author of The Ground we share – a text on Buddhist and Christian practice, written with Robert Aitken Roshi. With famed physicist Fritjof Capra, he co-authored Belonging to the Universe, the book was awarded the prestigious American Book Award.
I decided to listen to his talk. It is definitely worth watching, but before you do so, watch the short video below, to get a feeling for who he is and what he is about. Don’t be put of because he is a Catholic priest, what he says here is useful for every one: “We should live our lives with ongoing awareness of the constant miracle we all live in.”
“There are many things for which we cannot be grateful, but there is no moment for which we cannot be grateful, because in every moment, even difficult ones, we have the opportunity to do something.” — Brother David Steindl-Rast
The TED talk is here:
I also had a look at his website: gratefulness.org, where you can light a virtual candle in an exercise of mindfulness, serenity, and solidarity. “It is the integral practice of grateful living,” says Brother David, “that unites Christianity, Buddhism, and all the religious traditions.” Definitely worth a visit too.
I highly recommend keeping a gratitude journal and one of the best places to find out how to do so (and be inspired by the stories of people who keep gratitude journals) is 365grateful.com. They also have a mailing list (for motivation) and a Facebook page: Facebook.com/365Grateful
There are also some exquisitely beautiful videos on Youtube that combine Brother David’s wisdom with the stunning time-lapse photography of Louie Schwartzberg. I like the one called Gratitude best – on this video Louie describes how he started his career taking time-lapse pictures – it took him ONE MONTH to make a 4 minute film, because he could not afford more film.
Gratitude Meditation features centrally in our Mindfulness Meditation with Horses Workshops. If you would like to find out more, please e-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org.