Corey W. deVos shares with us the discussion of Br. David Steindl-Rast and Ken Wilber on the many ways that we can recognize and express the radical abundance in our lives.
Mindfulness, sacredness of the moment, appreciation and gratitude, enjoy a marvelous thanksgiving heartfelt insight and understanding by Ken !
Image by Sheri Munce
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It’s that time of year again—the leaves have begun to change, the birds are making their exodus toward the equator, and some of us have begun arming ourselves to the teeth with rock salt and ice scrapers. As the curtain of another year begins to draw to a close, we prepare our hearts and minds for the emotional circus of the holiday season—often on a purely unconscious level, like a mammal instinctively preparing for hibernation, as we wait for the warmth of the holidays to come over us like an old familiar blanket.
How extraordinary that the unifying force of gratitude can bring all of us to the same dinner table! Extraordinary, but not surprising. After all, gratitude does not fall under the purview of any particular religion, philosophy, or culture, but rather infuses and informs all of these. Gratitude is core to the human condition itself. It is the substrate of all our most meaningful relationships—with our family and friends, with ourselves, and with God. Our gratitude is the immediate and effortless response to the radical abundance offered to us at every moment, an abundance that surrounds us even during our darkest times, whether we can see it or not. But not only do we express our gratefulness forabundance—as we offer our devout appreciation, we can also feel great fullness as abundance. That is, in the act of offering gratitude we actually become the source of all abundance, feeling the infinite love pouring through our hearts like sweet syrup, an inexhaustible warmth that floods the galaxies swirling behind our eyelids.
Although Thanksgiving is a primarily American and Canadian holiday, the act of expressing gratitude belongs to no culture alone. Acknowledging that a significant portion of the Integral Life audience lives outside North America, we nonetheless wanted to share the spirit of this holiday with you all, so that together we can all sit at the same table, break bread, and offer our most sincere thanks for the many blessings of our lives.
Br. David and Ken open this dialogue by discussing Br. David’s book, Music of Silence: A Sacred Journey Through the Hours of the Day. Br. David explains how after so many decades of Christian contemplative practice he has developed a profound appreciation for how the hours of the day and the seasons of the year are connected to sacred moments and sacred realizations.
Ken comments that Spirit has many beautiful aspects that different people resonate with, and Br. David responds by saying that the aspect that has become the theme of his life is gratefulness, or Great Fullness. Addressing this Great Fullness in the context of contemplative prayer, Br. David begins by saying that prayer is simply the opening of one’s heart to the mystery we are confronted with, and that this opening is a natural manifestation of sincere gratitude. If we harbor preconceived notions of what we will be grateful for, says Br. David, we may be thankful, but we are not actually grateful.
Here Ken points out that gratitude can function as a bridge between traditions. For example, the equanimity of the Buddhist tradition, often known as the “mirror mind”—the perfect reflection of all that is arising moment to moment—is so utterly peaceful that it tends to appear devoid of the overflowing of love that is so prominent in the Christian tradition. But situated between love and equanimity is gratitude, and both Christians and Buddhists share a deep gratitude for what is simply given in each moment, and it is in this Great Fullness of the heart that the traditions can meet.
In closing, Br. David and Ken discuss how, in order for a person to realize equanimity in terms of loving all that arises and of genuinely embodying the Great Fullness that is gratitude, he or she must learn to listen with an infinitely silent ear. This ear, says Br. David, is actually the innermost Heart, or that which is the common center of all creation, flowing through all forms as its own manifestation.
We hope you enjoy this exchange between two friends who beautifully embody the gentle practice of gratitude through the endearing mutual appreciation they demonstrate in this dialogue….
via Integral Life.