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The end -- in all of the monastic traditions, of both East and West -- consists in cultivating mindfulness, being mindful. And "mindful" may be a little misleading, because it sounds a bit much like mind-over-body, but it has nothing to do with mind over or against body. I think "wholeheartedness" is the English word that expresses better what mindfulness as a technical term means; that you respond to every situation from your center, from your heart -- that you listen with your heart to every situation, and your heart elicits the response.

If you're really mind-full, and if you underline that aspect of fullness, wholeness, or wholeheartedness, it reveals the gift character of everything. A partial view often misses the gift character of things. The full view consists of seeing each situation as purely gratis, and if you get that in mind, then your response is gratefulness.

That would be my practice: to try to live gratefully. Sometimes gratefulness has a passive connotation: You sit back and say thanks or something like that. Well, again, that's not grate-fullness. The fullness shows itself when you realize that the gift within every gift is opportunity -- mostly the opportunity to enjoy.

We have thousands of opportunities every day to be grateful: for having good weather, to be able to sit in such a beautiful room on such comfortable furniture, to have slept well last night, to be able to get up, to be healthy, to have enough to eat. When you begin to think about just those most basic and obvious things, then you begin to think of the other people who don't have any of this -- of the people who are blind, who are lame, who are sick in bed, who are dying. But even before you start that, you should learn to enjoy those things which you have and be grateful. There's opportunity upon opportunity to be grateful; that's what life is.

--Brother David Steindl-Rast

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6 Previous Reflections:

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    On Jan 19, 2008 Sudhir Kidyur wrote:
    You get drowned in your situation, with frustration, disappointment, finances. You feel life has been unfair. You beging to think life is a drudgery, till you hear the story of the person next to you. You then realize, your ocean of troubles and turmoils is in reality a paradise. Only when you start counting your little little blessing you beging to realize how very lucky you are to live the life you have. To be truly grateful is no big strife if only we can sit back and enjoy what we have. Be grateful, truly, and that brings laughter and makes the whole world brighter.

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    On Jan 4, 2008 Sig wrote:
    i am grateful for this day. for the roof over my head, for the job i hold, for the car i have that get's me home and to the job i have that pays for the roof over my head and the car that gets me to the job i have. follow me? i'm grateful for those who love me, and who i love, and follow me?

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    On Jan 4, 2008 Ravi Sheshadri wrote:
    Being grateful makes like easy and enjoyable.

    I am gratful for
    I am alive today
    I had a cosy room to sleep last night
    I have lovely, healthy children
    I have a loving & understanding wife
    I am working for saving lives
    I have a good work team
    I am financially stable
    There is no end. But this comes to the mind only if done mindfully.

    Thansk for reminding again.

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    On Jan 4, 2008 Jenni wrote:
    Today I am grateful that I read these writings. I am grateful that I live in a space that allows me to be free. Today I am grateful to be alive and well.

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    On Jan 4, 2008 Me wrote:
    I am a very lucky person. Even on my darkest days I believe that.

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    On Jan 4, 2008 Nikhil wrote:
    I am reminded of Lord Buddha who brings his hand on the cheek when the mosquito is there. Shortly thereafter, he once again brings his hand even though the mosquito is not there.When asked -Lord Buddha replied in the first instance, I took my hand unmindfully while in the next instance, I took my hand mindfully.
    When you create reality, you are mindfull. When you live someone else's created reality, you are unmindfull,bored,tired....

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