Attitude of Gratitude
“The most important decision you make is to be in a good mood.” ~ Voltaire
After an incredible weekend at IOY/OBX last week, I was reflecting on what made the retreat so special. The house, frankly, was a bit more worn than what MJ and I had expected (a big ol’ frat boy party house with 80’s décor), but the theme we chose ― Spreading Happy ― could not have been more appropriate to the group that filled the house with their smiles. (Check out our pix here.)
I mentioned the above Voltaire quote in one of our sessions. Even though the practice of yoga is about unconditionally observing whatever’s present, we talked about how a conscious shift toward a positive attitude both on and off the mat is the key to happiness. One of the simplest ways to make that shift is by practicing gratitude. Can’t do that fancy pose? Think about what your body can do rather than what it can’t. Is your boss being a butthead? What can her/his behavior teach you about compassion? Not loving your meal? Your mother was right. There are starving kids in China. We are SO lucky for the bounty of food available to us.
Jack Kornfield writes that the aim of spiritual life is to awaken a joyful freedom, a benevolent and compassionate heart in spite of everything. Buddhist monks, he says, begin each day with a chant of gratitude for the blessings of their lives. They also offer the following prayer of gratitude for the suffering they have been given: Grant that I might have enough suffering to awaken in the deepest possible compassion and wisdom.
Now that is seriously spreading some happy.