Mid-Day Reflection: Gratitude

I offered a lunchtime program today at UST Law School on the subject of gratitude.  I selected that subject for our session both because we are little more than a week away from Thanksgiving Day and because is such an important spiritual practice, regardless of one’s faith tradition.

I gave a brief reflection discussing the difference it makes whether one’s stance is one of gratitude or entitlement and talking about the fact that studies have documented a variety of social, physical and psychological benefits of gratitude. I then suggested a number of practices for cultivating gratitude.  After my talk, we had an open discussion, during which the participants shared some of their own practices for cultivating gratitude.

Following our discussion we took some time for a silent exercise.  I invited the participants to take some time to reflect on some of the people who have had a significant positive impact on their lives and then to pick one of those persons and write a thank-you letter to them.  (“Write” as in take out a pen and put words on paper, not compose on a computer.)  After that, we paired up to share with each other something about the person to whom we wrote the note.  At the end we talked about some of the benefits of this particular practice, which was a very positive experience for all of us.

You can access a recording of my reflection here or stream it from the icon below. (The podcast runs for 18:06.)

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