We all belong to the world in concentric circles of relationship; some more distant and others close, some with people different from us and others more similar. Living within this web of connectedness can bring us the greatest of joys and the deepest challenges. We are prone to preferences and patterns, fears and habits of behavior which can build bridges to other people, and also tear them down. And much of how we operate in our relationships is unconscious and beneath our awareness. Always, the domain of relationship offers fertile ground in which we can learn the most about ourselves, one another and life as a whole. And our capacity for connectedness matters a lot, as our future as a species will depend mightily on our ability to collaborate and cooperate for the common good.
Grateful Living is “interactive mindfulness,” Brother David says. This means that we have the opportunity, when we practice, to bring our full attention to HOW we relate to others. Gratefulness can open our hearts to one another in ways that break down barriers and facilitate connection. We can more easily respond rather than react, inquire rather than opinionate. Compassion is awakened in living gratefully. As the Dalai Lama says, “When you practice gratefulness, there is a sense of respect towards others.”
This seminar explored love in families of different kinds from traditional to contemporary. Here are the films watched at a 2015 film seminar at Esalen.
(2007) This (audio only) Thanksgiving prayer offered by Br. David, accompanied by Gary Malkin’s inspired music, looks towards the possibility of our world uniting in an overflow of gratitude. (4:56)
(December 2014) Whether in political theory or popular culture, human nature is often portrayed as selfish and power hungry. University of California, Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner challenges this notion of human nature and seeks to better understand why we evolved pro-social emotions like empathy, compassion and gratitude.
(Brain Pickings) In a culture that makes it easier to be a critic than a celebrator, where it takes growing commitment to do the opposite, how heartening to be reminded of the ennobling gift of gratitude, of the elevating capacity of being one another’s champion…
Empty Hands Music’s mission is to spread seeds of goodness in the world through selfless service, music, and love. All of Empty Hands Music’s offerings are gifts to the world.
For more than a year, artist Lori Portka painted her gratitude through individual pieces of art for 100 people who have made a difference in her life. This beautiful film captures Lori’s motivation and some of the reactions from the recipients of her gratitude at an emotional exhibition of the 100 paintings.
Through a vibrant Charter for Compassion Partner Network, CfC welcomes and communicates the sharing of information, stories and experiences that touch the work of compassion. Sign the Charter for Compassion here and learn about initiatives to cultivate compassion around the globe.
(2014) At the Greater Good Gratitude Summit, Sara B. Algoe of University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, describes her research into how gratitude affects romantic partners’ feelings for one another, as well as their style of relating to each other.
(2015) A bunch of skeletons kiss, hug, and dance in front of a crowd … to make an excellent point about love. Also, it’s not scary, we promise.
(2015) Dr. Amit Sood, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, a fellow of the American College of Physicians, and a well-respected researcher and practitioner of integrated medicine, put together the following short on how to cultivate a (very) happy brain. It’s backed by an evidence base, and it’s powerful. So go ahead and give his lessons a try. It’s the doctor’s orders.
(2014) At the Wisdom 2.0 Conference, Br. David connects grateful living practice to the key components of mindfulness: wisdom, awareness, and compassion. *Video starts at 5:10
(2013) At the Greater Good Gratitude Summit, the renowned authors and teachers define and explore the relationship between these two critical concepts.
In this remarkable account, what begins with frantic tears and a language barrier becomes an opportunity to recognize that “not everything is lost.”
(2012) Brother David shares his thoughts in this opening address to the Fetzer Institute’s “Global Gathering: A Pilgrimage of Love and Forgiveness” in Assisi, Italy
In recent years, science has explored the impact of feeling grateful on our health, sleep, relationships and more. For a deep dive into the particulars of why living gratefully matters, we offer this list of studies.
We are grateful for the following books which have delighted, informed and enchanted us with their bold and loving invitations to children (of all ages) to live a wholehearted and grateful life.
(2009) Br. David talks about the challenge of finding a guide or guru.
14-year-old triplets Leo, Nick and Steven Argel have been blind since birth. Growing up, their single mother had a hard time caring for them, and she rarely allowed them outside their home. But when they were 10 years old, Ollie Cantos—another blind man in their community—got word of their situation and knocked on their door.
A story of an inner journey – sparked by an accident on a river trip – that uncovers the depths of awareness and compassion.
Gratitude as the root of a common religious language.
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