Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Repaying Gratitude

“To the generous mind the heaviest debt is that of gratitude, when it is not in our power to repay it.”

--Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Experience the Miraculous

The truth is, we don’t need to expect a miracle to experience the miraculous. Life itself is a miracle. Our very being is predicated against impossible odds, odds infinitely more daunting than winning the lottery. Going back to the very first human beings, all our ancestors lived to puberty, chose the only mate they could have chosen for us to exist, made love at the only possible moment and united the only possible sperm and egg to keep our tenuous prospects alive. Then go back a billion years further, all the way to the ur-paramecium. And back billions of years before that, hedging the earth’s bet on the combustion of gasses and the pinball of stars. A single, unbroken thread connects us to the very moment of creation. The Universe was pregnant with us when it was born.

Rev. Forrest Church, UU 21st Century

Raise Your Arms to the Skies

There is guidance for each of us, and by lowly listening, we shall hear the right word. Certainly there is a right for you that needs no choice on your part. Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which flows into your life. Then, without effort, you are impelled to truth and to perfect contentment.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson, 19th-Century

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was,
"Thank You,"
that would suffice.

—Meister Eckhart, 14th-Century,
German Philosopher

Let us pray to the God

Let us pray to the God who holds us in the hollow of his hands — to the God who holds us in the curve of her arms — to the God whose flesh is the flesh of hills and hummingbirds and angleworms — whose skin is the color of an old black woman and a young white man, and the color of the leopard and the grizzly bear and the green grass snake — whose hair is like the aurora borealis, rainbows, nebulae, waterfalls, and a spider's web — whose eyes sometime shine like the evening star, and then like fireflies, and then again like an open wound — whose touch is both the touch of life and the touch of death — and whose name is everyone's, but mostly mine.

And what shall we pray? Let us say,
"Thank you."

Rev. Max A. Coots, 21st Century UU


When the mind knows, we call it knowledge.
When the heart knows, we call it love.
When the being knows, we call it prayer.

Osho, 20th-Century Indian Mystic

An Accounting Of Gratitude
The grateful soul of the wise person is the true altar of God.

I say to myself: Be thankful.

Be thankful for the happiness you have known in times past, the moments of mirth and ecstasy, the years of health. How many of your dreams have come true; promises, long deferred, have so often at last been made good.

Be thankful for the dearness of your loved ones, the fidelity of your friends, the courtesy and kindness repeatedly shown you by total strangers.

Be thankful that your fears have again and again proven groundless, that you have survived so many close calls, so many narrow escapes; and that the same good fortune has generally followed your children in their misadventures, and your friends likewise.

Be thankful not only for the joys that have accompanied your way, and the unnumbered gifts of a kindly providence. Master the harder art of gratitude for life’s sterner lessons. You have known pain, pain that has given you warning of unseen dangers. You have known failure, failure that shattered false hopes of easy victory, and toughened your spirit for renewed efforts. Having made mistakes, you have learned important lessons. Having encountered obstacles, you have found courage and endurance to surmount them. Having known sorrow and loneliness, you have discovered that even these have quickened your sympathy, and taught you your need of others.

Be thankful, then, that so much you have not sought and would have by-passed if you could, nonetheless has proved enriching to your experience. Even in life’s dark labyrinthine ways and bitter moments, the person of faith and hope can trace the workings of a mysterious wisdom, and impartial providence, a more than human love.

—Philo Judaeus, First-Century, Jewish Philosopher and Historian