"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"
Holiday Blessings, dear friends! And so much gratitude for each of you!
Gratitude is an expression of heaven on Earth ... a treasure that enhances our lives so we feel rich, as in "all is well with me, all is well with the world." For, in truth, we usually receive far more than we are able to give: we have Life and all of nature's gifts, and an open door to Love without end. We have the hidden world of Silence and the Holy Counselor to walk with and within us all the way.
May deep gratitude for all that has now passed inspire us with trust for all that is to come. O, may we ever be rooted in gratitude!
Slowly, the practice of gratitude will begin to transform your consciousness so you start to detect Divine Presence and Divine Mercy all around you, which in time tremendously lessens your fear and suffering. For, it will make you aware of the maternal protection of God and of how the entire universe and all of life is constantly giving you signs of God's glory, beauty, and love. Practicing gratitude not only heals you of vanity and pride; it also heals your fear, grief, and insecurity of separation.
Gratitude is an amazing grace crowned in heaven with peace.
In Silence as
Bright as Round White Light
of full moon,
In Blessed Stillness
of new moon season
Life and Breath
As the monk advances in practice, feelings of hardship decrease and he is suffused with energy and sustained by joy. The marathon monk has become one with the mountain, flying along a path that is free of obstruction. The joy of practice has been discovered and all things are made new each day. Awakened to the Supreme, one marathon monk described his gratitude thus:
"Gratitude for the teachings of the enlightened ones,
gratitude for the wonders of nature,
gratitude for the charity of human beings,
gratitude for the opportunity to practice ... "
The right here is an inner, not an outer, state of being rooted in Love ... Not only am I alert to the present moment, I am hopefully, wishfully, longingly expecting something in it. Gratitude deepens both the attentiveness and the expectancy. Through gratitude I am not only glad for where I am and for all the possibilities inherent in where I am, I am also able to accept the everything or the nothing that is given. Gratitude enables me to find my very own place, humbly and joyfully, in the right here.
In the very last conversation we ever had, five days before his death, the subject came around to gratitude ...
"If you're quiet enough, as still as that mountain, you can hear in your heart a silent ‘thank you.' The whole universe, if you listen in your heart -- every blade of grass, each bird, each stone -- it is all ‘thank you.' We are born into ‘thank you' ... every step of the way is ‘thank you.' "
Rafe may not have heard the stars move. But I believe he was hearing "the Love that moves the stars and the sun."
The essence of all beautiful
art, all great art,
The ancients sometimes said
that the worst sin is
ingratitude, which is a
forgetting of the greatness,
beauty, truth, and goodness
of the Source that is
constantly creating us--
in other terms, a forsaking
of Being and of the Good.
Were there no God, we would
be in this glorious world
with grateful hearts
and no one to thank!
Grandfather cultivated gratitude at every step. On Fridays, after noon prayers, he retired to his room for a half hour ritual. Eyes closed, hands on heart, grandfather melted into a trance. Softly, at times in silence, he intoned continuous words of heart-felt thanks to God interspersed with recitations from the Holy Book. At times his body swayed with his outpourings; other times he was still. Tears poured profusely down his cheeks, soaking his shirt. Curious family members who secretly peeked in invariably burst into tears.
Thou that has given so much to me,
Give me one thing more--
a grateful heart.
When you no longer have expectations, the unexpected kindness of others and small acts of consideration become like "sweet manna from heaven." The feeling that rises spontaneously within one's heart at such times is true gratitude. When one is accustomed to kindness, one can lose the feeling of gratitude. One must constantly return oneself to the spiritual starting point of no expectations.
Gratitude is the memory of the heart.
Gratitude gentles us
and grants us grace.
As I express my gratitude,
I become more deeply aware of it.
And the greater my awareness,
the greater my need to express it.
What happens here is a spiraling ascent,
a process of growth in
ever expanding circles
around a steady center.