David Steindl-Rast: Anatomy of Gratitude

Dr. Joel Ying, MD

Physician, Educator, Storyteller. He hosts this website for "Living the Present Moment" as a conscious journey of Body, Mind, Emotion & Spirit. Holistic and integrative, his practice includes Tai Chi and Yoga, Craniosacral Therapy, Healing From the Core, Meditation. Always exploring his edges, he shares them in the blog, newsletter, courses, and online study group.

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“Gratitude … secures the kind of joy that us human beings look for. I always say joy is the happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens. And, usually, we have the idea, well, when something nice happens, then I’m happy, and when something bad happens, of course I’m unhappy. Well, you can be unhappy, and yet joyful. We don’t think of that. But there is a deep inner peace and joy in the midst of sadness. If we feel our way into it, we know that. For instance, losing a friend, a dear friend under normal circumstances, not to an accident and so forth, but under normal circumstances, losing our grandparents, losing our parents when they get very old, there’s a deep sadness, but there is also a great joy…a celebration, a joy for all the love that we received and gave, and that kind of joy is what we really want, because happiness is not steady. But joy can be steady. And that’s what we really want. We want the happiness that lasts.”
~ David Steindl-Rast

Joy is the Happiness that does not depend on being Happy. It does not depend on our emotional state, but comes from gratitude. Joy is inextricably linked to gratitude. When we access gratitude, we fill up with gratefulness. We well up with joy. When our hearts overflow with that joy, when it wants to make noise and sing, that is “thanksgiving.”

Spirituality begins with gratitude. When we are grateful, we come alive. Spirituality is ALIVENESS! How can we enliven our spirit? With anything that brings us alive. Waking up the body. Waking up all your senses. Allowing emotions to flow. Becoming alive to the great mystery of life and opening to gratitude.

In a prior post, I shared David Steindl-Rast’s TED talk on 3 Steps to Gratitude. In the link below, his interview with Krista Tippett’s On Being delves deeper into the “Anatomy of Gratitude.” Listen to the interview to discover more of his wisdom.

David Steindl-Rast: Interview by Krista Tippett

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