Gratitude. What else can I write about this week? It’s been so beautiful to hear people use the holiday as a chance to appreciate their blessings and the generosity of life even amidst the challenges and struggles.
I am also very grateful. But I was wondering how gratitude translates into our everyday lives. In many religions gratitude is expressed through donating to others, by contributing a portion of your income or by leaving food or gifts for those less fortunate. There have been times when I have felt bad that I couldn’t, or didn’t contribute more to others. There are so many people, causes, organizations that are worthwhile.
Then I remembered a question a participant posed to Viet Namese Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh at a retreat I attended many years ago. The person asked him if he gave money to beggars. His answer was that he didn’t, but he looked at them directly, acknowledged them, saw them, met them. The phrase that stayed with me was “don’t avert your eyes.”
So whether or not I express my gratitude by dropping some coins in the cup, or clicking the donation box or sending a check to the Alameda Food Bank, I remember to look directly and see the real person, see the divine person whose path may be harsh but whose life matters.
Here’s a little inspiration. I am grateful that a friend sent me this link to a wonderful video about gratitude. I think the faces, the eyes, and the diversity of beauty will fill your heart. Gratitude.