Offering Thanks PDF Print E-mail
Written by Edward Larson   
Wednesday, 25 November 2009 18:03



As contrary as it seems, we don't need any more wonderful events to be grateful for in order to live a more grateful life. How we experience our life depends not on external circumstances and conditions but on what we choose to attend to. Where will we place our attention today?


At each moment we are supported by countless beings and forms. We wake up in a rush, throw on some clothes, bolt down some coffee and fly out the door and into our car and on to the rest of our day, all without noticing and appreciating, the bed that without fail cradled us all night long, the furnace that functions year after year with little or no complaint, the unceasing beat of our heart, the fact we woke up at all, the electric light that burst into life at the flick of a finger, the unbroken chain of remarkable events and hands that brought us our coffee beans.


Each day we receive the labors of countless beings present and past, from the person who built our house, our roads and schools, to the inexpensive abundance of water and food, grown by someone, harvested by someone, shipped and sold to us by someone. Do we have the regular use of a restroom, a bed, a decent shelter? I do not subscribe to the belief that we all “are born alone and die alone” after all there was at least one other person in the room with us all at birth. Not one among us could have lived past infant hood without the constant care and sacrifice of another person. The very fabric of our lives is suffused with support and good intentions. If it were not so, abnormal and atrocious actions would not stand out with such shocking clarity.


I believe we all possess an essential goodness. The Dalai Lama is found of saying "We all want happiness and we all want to avoid suffering." I believe this really is at the core of much if not all of our motivation. No one intends to suffer and if in a darker moment we wish harm on another being it is because we mistakenly believe their suffering may bring us some pleasure or happiness.


A few years ago I encountered the practice of Naikan where one examines three questions: "What was I given?" "What did I give?" And "What difficulty did I cause?" When we practice this exercise on a daily basis our perception of life, other people and their motivations, changes in a deep and quiet way.


If we want more to be grateful about, we ought to practice being grateful more often.




Portrait of Jessica, (who against all logic, has supported, carried and deeply loved me for 14 years)

acrylic on Masonite, 24x30in




Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 November 2009 19:31

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