QUESTIONS  about  G R A T E F U L N E S S

Photo: GiftA time of questioning is a time of gestation, when new qualities come to life in us. Pause here to read the questions others ask about the practice of grateful living, and perhaps you'll want to leave one of your own.

ANSWERED QUESTIONS (click on title for full Q/A)
Dankbarkeit ist kein Gefühl
Brother David: Tiefes Vertrauen ins Leben ist kein Gefühl, sondern eine Haltung, die Sie bewusst einnehmen.
When a loved one dies: Hard questions; living the answers
Jeff Collins: An intuitive experience of the underlying ground of love and awareness is under all of our living. That ground is palpable to some extent to almost all of us at least some of the time.
Finding Joy in a World of Heartache and Suffering
Saoirse McClory: It is so easy for pain to eclipse the beauty, truth and goodness in the world and yet, beauty, truth and goodness are never far away.
School Project on Gratitude
Brother David: Whenever I am grateful, I feel more joyful, more awake, and energized in mind and body: I feel “in tune with Life.”
Receiving Forgiveness
Brother David: God takes us out of alienation, unless we insist upon staying in it.
Caring for Too Many
Patricia C. Carlson: What do you do when you cannot keep up with the hundreds of people in your sphere?
Compassion and Church
Patricia C. Campbell: Hardened dogma might be far from the ways of the living God.
A Quieter Expression
Patricia C. Carlson: We cannot know how far our influence will reach, but we can continue to refine ourselves in the light of Love so that more and more goodness shines through us.
The Role of Guilt
Patricia C. Carlson: Guilt doesn’t necessarily help anything, but guilt can be a key to our need to take action or to orient our lives so that they’re more and more in tune with a stream of caring and of helping to heal suffering in ourselves and others.
Purely about Gratefulness
Margaret Wakeley: We respect and provide material from all different faiths, as well as material that is not connected with religion at all.
Worries about Losing a Partner
Patricia C. Carlson: Gratefulness calls you to enjoy the gifts of this present moment, in a trusting spirit that recognizes the ways you've been provided for throughout your life.
Radical Impermanence
Norman Fischer: Every moment partakes of eternity, if only we could fully live it.
Self-forgiveness
Brother David: A loving, caring, motherly Presence, closer to us than we are to ourselves, has forgiven us, before time ever was.
Nirvana and Gratefulness
Patricia C. Carlson: There may be built-in benefits to the spiritual practice of gratefulness that would be hard to match elsewhere.
Ungratefulness
Patricia C. Carlson: Live in the joy of knowing that your life is a gift. Living joyfully can be irresistible.
Catholic Naturism
Margaret Wakeley: We need to be able to discern personally and to be flexible and intelligent.
Being Kind to Yourself as Active Practice
Patricia C. Carlson: Consider your progress an omen of more good things to come!
Spiritually Drained
Patricia C. Carlson: You could imagine that this was a divine restlessness: that is, that something deep within yourself knows there’s something more you’re looking for.
Grateful to Whom?
Patricia C. Carlson: If you do not already have a perspective on who the Giver of All Good Gifts is, then why not live in amazement, as you would if someone gave you a diamond but did not leave their name?
Sensing Departed Loved Ones
Brother David: There is no measuring stick for closeness.
Lingering Grief
Patricia C. Carlson: It may be that the word "sweetness" hit a raw nerve.
Praise & Contemplation: Polar Opposites?
Patricia C. Carlson: It takes most of us a lifetime of experience and wisdom to know when the fullness we feel in the Presence calls for song, music, and poetry; and when it calls for us to set aside self-expression...
The Value of Not Saving Time
Patricia Carlson: "Saving time" has become a bit of an idol that undercuts our natural human need to idle.
Beyond One-Dimensional Language
Patricia Carlson: The irony is that no one can tell you in words how to get from language to your fuller life.
Sin as "Sundering"
Brother David: It is helpful to think of ways in which we can heal wounds that sin creates.
Can a deceased loved one see what’s in your heart for them?
Patricia Carlson: To know what your ongoing connection is with a loved one requires a clear heart. And a clear heart comes at the high price of grieving fully.
How can judgment be turned into greater compassion?
Norman Fischer: It's important to remind yourself that judgment is really common. It's not just your problem, so you shouldn't blame yourself.
The Place of Self-Sacrifice
Sr. Michaela Terrio: If we can hold a vision of the well-being of the whole Body of Christ, of all people, of our planet with everything on it, this will affect our view of every single small or large act of self-giving.
When Pain Comes Full Circle
Patricia Carlson: The pain is bursting out with full force for your attention, a vital messenger, and you can only partially keep it at bay.
Finding Balance as a Caretaker
Patricia Carlson: To refuel from time to time so that you can love your life is nowhere near selfish…it’s essential!
Christian Mantra for Gratefulness
Patricia Carlson: Mantras give us clarity, and they also allow for a quality of questioning that awakens dormant depths in us.
The Round Dance
Sr. Michaela Terrio: One way of looking at the interrelationship of the world's religions sees them as mirroring on earth God's own great circle dance.
When others don't see your marriage as you do
Patricia Carlson: To wind up questioning yourself and to mediate constantly between friends and family gets exhausting after awhile!
Rekindling Hope When Violence Seems to Rule
Patricia Carlson: Most of us do not “convert” once and for all, but rather have the experience of the Shaker hymn: “To turn, turn, will be our delight, ‘til by turning, turning we come ‘round right.”
Nothing Passes Except Passing
Brother David: When we die, we go back to the One who is Life, because we are life from this Life.
How Do I Choose between Prayer Practices?
Patricia Carlson: Does this practice help me connect heaven and earth, so that my bliss is well grounded and my practical life is inspired?
Gratefulness and Warring Religions
Brother David: We need a spiritual practice that unites all members of this Earth Household.
A Narrow Escape
Gratefulness Webteam: You can give of yourself as freely as you have been – for your entire life! – receiving.
Spiritual Dissonance
Patricia Carlson: The risk in multiple initiations is becoming scattered; the blessing is abundance. The risk in a single initiation is becoming narrow; the blessing is focus.
A Contemplative Calling in Family Life
Patricia Carlson: Family life finds our weaknesses and magnifies them. Where we thought we were holy and peaceful, we find ourselves impatient, angry, or despairing. If we can bring the wealth of our innermost soul to this experience, we can bring it to almost anything.
The Grief of Estrangement
Patricia Carlson: Your sorrow may need to become a companion rather than an enemy; you may need to turn to it for the wisdom and sensitivity it can provide.
A Calling or a Daydream?
Norman Fischer: Try to conceive of your daily tasks as part of your practice and bring your whole mind and heart to them.
The Challenge of Discernment
Michael J. Mahoney: With patience, perseverance, and the grace of loving others, we may develop toward a higher sense of self.
The Way, the Truth, and the Life
Patricia Carlson: Jesus himself recognized this holiness everywhere present.
Is Prayer Merely Wishing?
Brother David: Prayer expresses the desire of our innermost depths.
A Small Vessel
Brother David: Frugality might be an important element of learning to be grateful.
Prayer of Petition
Sr. Michaela Terrio: Prayer implies trust that God will respond with love, even if the answer is not what we expect.
Following the Path
Patricia Carlson: There's almost nothing more encouraging than a genuinely searching spirit.
Sifting through a Crisis
Brother David: Faith requires a tremendous effort of the heart, to give in to the guidance which is always there.
Gratitude towards One's Nation
Brother David: One form of gratitude is to hold our nation accountable for the constructive values humanity holds in common.
The Mystery of Disaster
Brother David: We ought to be grateful for anything -- uncomfortable though it may be -- that makes us meet Mystery face to face.
The Arc of Healing
Patricia Carlson: Each of our relationships has a trajectory that death doesn't destroy.
When Doing Less Helps More
Patricia Carlson: It's so much easier when you're down and out to respond to someone's loving listening if they have no underlying agenda.
Gratefulness and Divorce
William Young: In practicing gratefulness during this time, we do not fail to acknowledge our grief, but rather embrace it with a gentleness aimed at discovery and healing.
Buddhism and the Self
Norman Fischer: Gratefulness seems to be at the heart of the religious experience, no matter what the tradition.
When Gratefulness Feels Phony
Patricia Carlson: For most of us, becoming authentic takes a lifetime.
Finding the Heart in Disillusionment
Patricia Carlson: Your grief marks a turning point in which you can clearly see reality and, rather than let life come to you, rise to meet it by building in yourself confidence, hope, and fortitude.
Dogged Love
Patricia Carlson: People have a great desire to love and be loved, and when you prove yourself loving, you bring out the best in them.
The Scope of Meditation
Patricia Carlson: Meditation has strong roots in all religious traditions.
Nature's Wisdom
Zsuzsanna Budapest: Should I be concerned about my daughter's involvement with Wicca?
Unreliable Once Again
Patricia Carlson: What about the opportunity to be creative, to try something different, and to see how the situation turns around as a result?
Being with the Bereaved
Patricia Carlson: Your young neighbor’s death underscores the Inca prayer: “O, for how short a time you have lent us to each other.”
Breaking Bread
Brother David: Human beings anywhere in the world will understand breaking bread together as a gesture of love and communion.
Genuine Dialogue
Brother David: Exclusive statements of faith are always inadequate. Inter-faith dialogue teaches us to make them inclusive.
Spiritual Companionship
Brother David: We all need to share what deeply matters to us.
Facing Infirmity
Norman Fischer: We will know that our very infirmity has brought us to spiritual heights we never knew were possible. And we will have a great sympathy for all people -- and for everything in this world.
Gratefulness in Action
Brother David: Again and again i have to remind myself to look beyond these grim facts to see the full picture.
God as Giver, Gift, and Thanksgiving
Brother David: Grateful living allows us to experience that we are (by pure grace) alive with the very life of the Triune God.
Reincarnation and Purgatory
Brother David: Both ideas express the hope that our inner growth can continue after our death.
Shattered Dreams
Patricia Carlson: Sometimes gratitude begins with giving yourself credit for the difficulty you’re having.
Gratefulness as a Sign of God's Presence
Patricia Carlson: The more aware we become, the more we experience the Beloved even in the midst of our mistakes and apparent “failures.”
Why Religions Go Wrong
Brother David: The further that lava flows down a volcano, the thicker and colder it gets. You would never guess that it once shot out hot from the innards of the earth.
Can You Remain Grateful When You're Being Used?
Patricia Carlson: If you are sacrificing some part of yourself in order to see a good cause to completion, then you will find in time that whatever you’ve lost in the process gets returned to you in good measure.
Staying on Earth
Patricia Carlson: You've reached a threshold of limitation, and beyond that lies an abundance of caring and renewal that you actually do already sense to be near you. Otherwise, you would have given up long ago.
Antidote to Self-Centeredness
Brother David: Grace, rightly understood, is not something added but a letting go.
Too Much Compromise
Lama Surya Das: Everything changes, yet we can remain steadfast and find harmony and centeredness amidst it all.
Teaching Gratefulness
Brother David: As a teacher, you can look for moments of wonder, multiply moments of wonder, to share with your students.
Stability within Community
Brother David: Stepping back for the sake of faithfulness is, in some cases, the very condition for holding steady.
Christian/Buddhist Paradox
Brother David: Whatever we say about God, no matter how true, falls infinitely short of the full truth.
Gifts from Near Death
Patricia Carlson: It's as if you've wandered into a new country and want a map that shows you landmarks, pathways, and the goal of your journey.
Rosary Prayer as Christian Mantra
Brother David: Meditating on spiritual depths transforms the heart into the beauty it contemplates.
Ikiru: To Live
Brother David: "To have death daily before one's eyes" is a trigger to deeper awareness.
Gratefulness amid War
Norman Fischer: You can be grateful for your own kind heart and discriminating mind, that yearns for peace and justice.
Utter Undeservedness
Brother David: The richness of blessings you feel in your own life gives you an abundance out of which you can let healing flow.
Day of Awakening
Brother David: The opportunity to stand up and be counted is the gift of this hour.
Jealousy's Good Side
Brother David: What is "positive" about jealousy? Well, maybe the fact that it makes your little self so miserable that you simply have to switch over to your true Self.
The Treasure Within
Brother David: The most brilliant gift is within us.
Prayer for Results
Brother David: Everybody pleas for help when they’re in trouble.
Build Lightly
Brother David: Living purely on hope, we trust God to meet our needs.
A New World Vision
Brother David: Gratefulness counteracts fear, prevailing consumerism, and exploitation of Earth's resources.
Hilfe für die Depression
Brother David: Dieses wird auch vergehen.
Grateful Self-Acceptance
Patricia Carlson: You recognize loving acceptance outside yourself because it lives in you, too.
The Prophetic Stance
Brother David: The prophet speaks out against the community but stays in the community. That is what is so difficult.
Gratefulness and Celibacy
Brother David: If our choice to be celibate outside of marriage is truly life-affirming, we are not choosing a safety zone, but a direction in which to move and grow.
Practicality versus Risk
Patricia Carlson: You may be surprised at how an answer becomes clear, just at the moment you need it most.
Dare to Let Go
Brother David: We hang on to something we can reach, hoping that it promises security.
Job-search Rollercoaster
William Young: Your very gratefulness beckons life to supply what you truly need.
H.A.L.T.
Brother David: Taking care of immediate needs helps lift depression.
Financial Insecurity
Patricia Carlson: In our lack we are thrown back upon the only true security we have.
Overcoming Fear
Brother David: Those who are really alive know that they have died many times in order to become so alive.
Hope in the Face of Violence
William Young: Precisely because there is so much horror and suffering in the world, it’s crucially important that we each sustain ourselves in hope, faith, and love.
Great Longing
Norman Fischer: Human longing is endless, and only something equally endless can satisfy it.
Faith and the Sexual Misconduct Scandal
Father Richard Rohr: We must both protect victims and heal sinners on both sides, an awesome task in this context.
Healing From Hurting Someone
Patricia Carlson: Ten Boom had in her hands embroidered fabric and showed the inquirer the tangled threads on the back, saying that this pattern was similar to the way we view our lives...
Accepting a Loved One's Suffering
Brother David: To find meaning means to receive it with a grateful heart from the very Source of life and meaning.
Coming To Terms With the Sorrow of Being
Linda Fisher: To relieve our suffering we must learn and experience what we have never been taught: that joy and sorrow are not opposites, but inherently interdependent.
Practices for Depression
Brother David: Don't force feelings of gratefulness (it won’t work).
Unexpected Grace
Staff: The priceless gift of the sacred presence, when it comes, is surely a response to our knocking on the door.
The Challenge of Teaching
Cheryl McGinnis: Lavish on yourself the same patience that you extend to your students.
Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
Brother David: Healing comes when you see the opportunity for growth that the painful situation has provided.
Reconciling a Gay Identity with the Catholic Faith
Linda Fisher: Gay and lesbian people of all religious traditions are demanding to be heard. More and more religious leaders are openly ministering to sexual minorities.
How 'Being' Peace Can Promote Peace
Norman Fischer: It's not so easy to step into the teeth of controversy, but we have to do it.
Joyful Suffering
Brother David: Sooner or later, to live means to suffer; but if you live gratefully you can through suffering become more creative and more truly yourself.
The Healing Power of Gratitude
William Young: Our disharmonies, brought back to the magnetic pole of the heart, realign with life’s rich wholeness, which is what authentic healing is all about.
Step Back! Step Up! Step Out!
Brother David: I must guard against the temptation to break the tension by merely lashing out in some habitual reaction. It takes discipline to wait and to respond only when I am grounded in my quiet center.
There Are No Evil People, Only Misguided Actions
Norman Fischer: It takes time to heal, but if you don't fan the fires of hatred and misunderstanding healing does come.
The Things We Will Never Have
Norman Fischer: nothing can be held onto. we always lose what we have. we never really get what we want. this is how it really is. it is not just our own sorrow. it is the sorrow of being itself.
In Gratitude for Earth's Bounty
Brother David: It's not so much a question of whether foods should be genetically altered but how we arrive at those decisions.
The Mystical Core of Gratefulness
Brother David: Giver, Gift, and Thanksgiving are one and divine.
The Practice of Absolute Presence
Norman Fischer: ...as long as we are observing, we are still somewhat separate from our experience.
What Is Life's Lesson For Today?
Brother David: Life seems to always give us just the right task for learning what we need to learn.
Living Life Moment By Moment
Brother David: What happens to us in life can't be explained as punishment.
Trusting Life
Brother David: Deep trust in life is not a feeling but a stance that you deliberately take.
Listening For Opportunity
Brother David: Even our worst troubles are jam-packed with opportunity
The Unfolding of Time As a Spiritual Practice
Norman Fischer: Although it may seem counter-intuitive, at least mathematically, prayer or meditation saves time!