Saturday, 19 March 2016

Wise Champions of Thankfulness - Day 25

The Dalai Lama

Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing. Harper Lee

There are people who think that being thankful for the good things in our lives  is a way of ignoring the difficulties in life, of ‘brushing them under the carpet’. That I think is to the miss the point. Being thankful does not mean we ignore what is wrong or what is difficult. Far from it, I think that by developing an attitude of thankfulness we can deal better with what is wrong in life. It can help us to speak up effectively rather than from a position of moaning about everything in a generalised way. It is not ‘either or’. We can be thankful for what is good and beautiful in our lives, but still recognise what isn’t so great. It doesn’t mean being complacent or passive. This echoes wisdom from the Dalai Lama “Open your arms to change but don’t let go of your values.”

Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman philosopher, apparently considered gratitude to be a virtue above all others.  Mother Teresa said about gratitude “It is when you focus on what you have rather than what you don’t.” The Bible encourages us to live thankfully and in recent times Oprah Winfrey has written about keeping a gratitude journal daily asserting that it helps her to be more contented.

I like the Serenity Pray which asks for “the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  There are various versions of this and there are many quotes about being thankful and gratitude. In a small book on my desk I write down those wisdom words which speak to me.

Today: One of the things I have learnt is that it is easy to read a good quote, nod my head in agreement and another altogether to develop a habit of gratitude. Learning to be specific in what I am thankful for helps me to dig a little deeper and see the value. Today I am thankful for good, wise friends.


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