As 2020 comes to
a close, I feel it’s more important than ever to choose to be grateful (there
is always something to be thankful for!), to focus on things within my control
and to work hard to make a positive difference. When it comes to gift-giving
this holiday season, I want my focus to be more on creating memorable
experiences and relationship-building and less on frenzied shopping and the
accumulation of more stuff. I think I can find greater joy and happiness if I
simply slow down, breathe more deeply (and more often) and enjoy the
moment—being more present for myself makes me more present for those around
me—a true gift! Too often, I’m thinking about what’s next or worrying about
whether I did or said the right thing. Does this happen to you, too?
I have found that meditation and prayer is an
excellent way to slow down and become more centered, more grounded and more
present. This article by Jack Kornfield provides a beautiful meditation on
gratitude and joy that I think can help take us all lovingly into the upcoming
celebrations of the season—enjoy!
I offer this meditation that opens our hearts to gratitude and joy this holiday season.
yourself sit quietly and at ease. Allow your body to be relaxed and
open, your breath natural, your heart easy. Begin the practice of
gratitude by feeling how that, year after year, you have cared for your
own life. Now let yourself begin to acknowledge all that has supported
you in this care:
With gratitude, I remember
the people, animals, plants, insects, creatures of the sky and sea, air
and water, fire and earth, all whose joyful exertion blesses my life
With gratitude, I remember the care and labor of a thousand generations of elders and ancestors who came before me.
I offer my gratitude for the safety and well-being I have been given.I offer my gratitude for the blessing of this Earth I have been given.I offer my gratitude for the measure of health I have been given.I offer my gratitude for the family and friends I have been given.I offer my gratitude for the community I have been given.I offer my gratitude for the teachings and lessons I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the life I have been given.
Just as we are grateful for our blessings, so we can be grateful for the blessings of others.
to breathe gently. Bring to mind someone you care about; someone it is
easy to rejoice for. Picture them and feel the natural joy you have for
their well-being, for their happiness and success. With each breath,
offer them your grateful, heartfelt wishes:
May you be joyful.May your happiness increase.May you not be separated from great happiness.
May your good fortune and the causes for your joy and happiness increase.
the sympathetic joy and caring in each phrase. When you feel some
degree of natural gratitude for the happiness of this loved one, extend
this practice to another person you care about. Recite the same simple
phrases that express your heart’s intention.
gradually open the meditation to include neutral people, difficult
people and even enemies, until you extend sympathetic joy to all beings
everywhere, young and old, near and far.
dwelling in joy until the deliberate effort of practice drops away and
the intentions of joy blend into the natural joy of your own wise heart.
is a bestselling author, Buddhist practitioner and a key teacher in
introducing and spreading mindfulness practices in the West. For more
information about his teachings, podcasts and books, visit JackKornfield.com.
I wish you so much joy and happiness this holiday season. Please be safe and be well.