TC348: Cafe Book Club presents The Book of Joy-Pillar 6: Gratitude

TC348: Cafe Book Club presents The Book of Joy-Pillar 6: Gratitude

In this week’s podcast, host Robin Masiewicz and co-host Amy Frost continue their discussion on The Book of Joy. This week we focus on Pillar 6: Gratitude – I am Fortunate to be Alive

The quotes below are excerpted from this chapter.

Greet each day with gratitude

“Every day, think as you wake up, ‘I am fortunate to be alive. I have a precious human life. I am not going to waste it.'”

Gratitude is the recognition of all that holds us in the web of life and all that has made it possible to have the live that we have and the moment that we are experiencing. Thanksgiving is a natural response to life and may be the only way to savor it. It allows us to shift our perspective toward all we have been given and all that we have. It moves us away from the narrow-minded focus on fault and lack and to the wider perspective of benefit and abundance.

It is gratefulness that makes us happy

Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Catholic Benedictine monk and scholar who spent a great deal of time in Christian-Buddhist interfaith dialogue explained, “It is not happiness that makes us grateful. It is gratefulness that makes us happy. Every moment is a gift. There is no certainty that you will have another moment, with all the opportunity it contains. The gift within every gift is the opportunity it offers us. Most often it is the opportunity to enjoy it, but sometimes a difficult gift is given to us and that can be an opportunity to rise to the challenge.”

“A grateful world is a world of joyful people. Grateful people are joyful people. A grateful world is a happy world.”

In the video below, Brother David Steindl-Rast talks about the power of gratitude.

Joy is the happiness that does not depend on what happens

“Whatever life gives to you,” Brother Steindl-Rast explains,”you can respond with joy. Joy is the happiness that does not depend on what happens. It is the grateful response to the opportunity that life offers you at this moment.”

Unforgiveness robs us of our ability to enjoy and appreciate our life, because we are trapped in a past filled with anger and bitterness. Forgiveness allows us to move beyond the past and appreciate the present, including the drops of rain falling on our face.

Gratitude cuts across the negative bias

Scientists have long known that our brains have evolved with a negative bias. It was no doubt advantageous for our survival to focus on what was wrong or dangerous. Gratitude cuts across this default mode of the mind. It allows us to see what is good and right and not just what is bad and wrong.

Grateful people do not ignore the negative aspects of life, they simply choose to appreciate the positive

Grateful people do not seem to ignore or deny the negative aspects of life; they simply choose to appreciate what is positive as well: “People with a strong disposition toward gratitude have the capacity to be empathetic and to take the perspective of others. They are rated as more generous and more helpful by people in their social networks.” The are also more likely to have helped someone with a personal problem or to have offered emotional support to others.

Keep a list of things for which you are grateful

People who focus on gratitude, by keeping a list of what they were grateful for, exercised more often, had fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives, and were more positive about the week ahead compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events. Similarly, those who focused on gratitude were more likely to have made progress toward their important personal goals. So it seems gratitude is motivating, not demotivating. Grateful people report more positive emotions, more vitality and optimism, and greater life satisfaction as well as lower levels of stress and depression.

Gratitude helps us catalog, celebrate, and rejoice in each day and each moment before they slip through the vanishing hourglass of experience.

When we recognize all that we have been given, it is our natural response to want to care for and give to others.

The Eight Pillars of Joy:

  1. Perspectives: There are many different angles
  2. Humility: I try to look humble and modest
  3. Humor: Laughter, joking is much better
  4. Acceptance: The only place where change can begin
  5. Forgiveness: Freeing ourselves from the past
  6. Gratitude: I am fortunate to be alive
  7. Compassion: Something we want to become
  8. Generosity: We are filled with joy

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!