Although David Steindl may seem a very religious man by the clothes he wears, this talk is not about religion. But it’s a very spiritual topic: Gratefulness.
In this inspiring TEDTalk, David Steindl-Rast, a monk and interfaith scholar, suggests that happiness is born from gratitude, not the other way around.
Below you can find the notes I’ve taken from the presentation, in case you can’t watch the video right now.
He starts asking, is it the happy people who are grateful? Actually, it’s not happiness that makes us grateful, it’s gratefulness that makes us happy.
He defines gratefulness as something valuable and a real gift, not earned it, not won it, not bought it. It’s given to you. When we get a valuable real gift gratefulness spontaneously rises in our heart and happiness spontaneously rises as well.
The key is that we can be people who live gratefully. But, how can we live gratefully? By becoming aware that any moment is a given moment. It’s a gift, because we didn’t earned it or bought it or inherited it.
But the gift within the gift is really the opportunity that lies in each moment. If we miss the opportunity of this moment, another moment is given to us, and another,…
Most of the time, what is given to us is opportunity to enjoy and we only miss it because we are rushing through life and don’t stop to see the opportunity.
The next idea was very inspiring for me:
Once in a while something very difficult is given to us and it’s a challenge given to us to learn, to suffer, to grow, to stand up. Those are opportunities as well. If we don’t see the opportunity, another opportunity (more challenge?) will be given to us.
In those moments it’s a challenge to rise to that opportunity. But we can rise to it by learning something, which is sometimes painful.
Those who avail themselves of those opportunities are the ones that we admire, they make something out of life. And those who fail, get another opportunity.
How can we find a method for living gratefully?
- Stop (we miss the opportunities becasuse we don’t stop. Get quiet, and put stop signs in your life)
- Look (open your senses to feel and enjoy)
- Go (do something. Be creative)
According to Steindl-Rast, this method can revolutionize our world.
We can be grateful in every given moment, which is different from being grateful for everything that happens to us or to our loved ones.
He ends the talk with the following:
If we are grateful we are not fearful, and if we are not fearful we are not violent.
If we are grateful we act from a sense of “enough”, we are willing to share, respect and enjoy diversity.
Is there an opportunity in front of you in this given moment? If it’s a challenging or painful situation, remember that you can do something now to see the opportunity and avoid having to be given a similar opportunity in the future.