More gratitude

A little more on gratitude this Thanksgiving Day…

Here is a wonderful video worth watching from TED:

And here is a lovely poem by Rev. Max Coots:

Garden Meditations

by Rev. Max Coots

Let us give thanks for a bounty of people.

For children who are our second planting, and though they
grow like weeds and the wind too soon blows them away, may
they forgive us our cultivation and fondly remember where
their roots are.

Let us give thanks;

For generous friends…with hearts…and smiles as bright
as their blossoms;

For feisty friends, as tart as apples;

For continuous friends, who, like scallions and cucumbers,
keep reminding us that we’ve had them;

For crotchety friends, sour as rhubarb and as indestructible;

For handsome friends, who are as gorgeous as eggplants and
as elegant as a row of corn, and the others, as plain as
potatoes and so good for you;

For funny friends, who are as silly as Brussels sprouts and
as amusing as Jerusalem artichokes;

And serious friends as unpretentious as cabbages, as subtle
as summer squash, as persistent as parsley, as delightful as
dill, as endless as zucchini and who, like parsnips, can be
counted on to see you through the winter;

For old friends, nodding like sunflowers in the evening-time,
and young friends coming on as fast as radishes;

For loving friends, who wind around us like tendrils and hold
us, despite our blights, wilts and witherings;

And finally, for those friends now gone, like gardens past
that have been harvested, but who fed us in their times that
we might have life thereafter.

For all these we give thanks.

Source: “Garden Meditations” by Rev. Max Coots, minister emeritus of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Canton, New York, as quoted on Patchwork Reflections.

On Gratitude

Here are some lovely gratitude quotes:

“Practicing gratitude is an especially beneficial way to counter the painful emotions and stressors that come with the holiday season. … thoughts of gratitude are
embodied in cascading physical processes which can trigger physical circuits that dampen the release of stress hormones.” – Rick Hanson

“These two people are hard to find in the world. Which two? The one who is first to do a kindness, and the one who is grateful and thankful for a kindness done.”
— Anguttara Nikaya 2.118

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” – John Milton

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”
Thornton Wilder

“To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.” – Albert Schweitzer

Thich Nhat Hanh has a meal recitation – the first two lines are:
“This food is a gift of the earth, the sky, numerous living beings and much hard work.
May we eat with mindfulness and gratitude so as to be worthy to receive it.”

“Gratitude springs from an insight, a recognition of interdependence,  that something good has come to me from another person, that it is freely given to me.  The moment this recognition dawns on me, gratitude spontaneously dawns in my heart. You can feel either grateful or alienated, but never both at the same time. Gratefulness drives out alienation; there is not room for both in the same heart. When you are grateful you know that you belong to a network of give-and-take and you say “yes” to that belonging.” – Brother David Steindl-Rast

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” – Cicero

Joseph Goldstein, wrote in his book One Dharma, “when we feel true gratitude, whether toward particular people or toward life, metta (lovingkindness) will flow from us naturally. When we connect with another person through gratitude, the barriers that separate begin to melt.”
“Gratitude is the key to unlocking a more open and rewarding perspective on life. Feelings of appreciation are always accompanied by the elevation of one’s state of life and the broadening of one’s perspective. And, the more our life expands, the more profound our sense of gratitude becomes, to the point where we can feel appreciation even for the problems we face in life.” – Soka Gakkai International

“Gratitude …. turns the mind in such a way that it enables you to live into life…. Having access to the joy and wonderment of life is the antidote to feelings of scarcity and loss. It allows you to meet life’s difficulties with an open heart. The understanding you gain from practicing gratitude frees you from being lost or identified with either the negative or the positive aspects of life, letting you simply meet life in each moment as it rises.” – Phillip Moffitt
“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘thank you’, it will be enough.”
Meister Eckhart

“The path to happiness is forgiveness of everyone and gratitude for everything.”
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Pictures of the sand mandala in construction at the Gallo Center

Here are some links to pictures that taken by Reva Damir of the Tibetan monks and the construction of the sand mandala in the Gallo Center lobby:

Day 1 (Tuesday)

Day 2 (Wednesday)

Day 3 (Thursday)

Day 4 (Friday)

Day 5 (Saturday) – finish of the mandala, dispersal and closing

A deep bow of thanks to the beautiful pictures taken by Reva to share with all of us!  What a blessing!

To learn more about mandalas and some interactive videos of how they represent 3-d structures, check out these links:

Here’s a description of the program “the Mystical Arts of Tibet” that the monks presented at the Gallo Center.  The Yak Dance wasn’t performed and one of the five wisdoms was missing from the Dance of the Celestial Travellers due to a problem getting a visa to the US.

Right Livelihood

Here are a few quotes that might be worth considering:

Vietnamese Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh wrote,
“To practice Right Livelihood (samyag ajiva), you have to find a way to earn your living without transgressing your ideals of love and compassion. The way you support yourself can be an expression of your deepest self, or it can be a source of suffering for you and others. ” … Our vocation can nourish our understanding and compassion, or erode them. We should be awake to the consequences, far and near, of the way we earn our living.” (The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching [Parallax Press, 1998], p. 104)

“I long to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.”
– Helen Keller

And here is an article worth reading about the attitude we bring to our occupations… “Everything is Practice.”