We will post various quotations on the theme of Gratitude for your consideration and comments.  They will be posted intermittently throughout the month.

Here are a couple to get us started.

"Swift gratitude is the sweetest."    —  Greek Proverb

" Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it."

— William Arthur Ward

"Gratitude is the memory of the heart." — J.B. Massieu

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

The death anniversary of HPB is Thursday May 8th:  White Lotus Day

Why is gratitude an art and a power?

 

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I like what Emerson said, "Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”  Especially the last sentence.  How often do we tend to become frustrated, angry, and disillusioned when life does not go well for us?  We should be grateful for those challenging situations and events that create growth.   I can't remember how many times I have been through difficult times in my life but having gotten through them looked back and actually was glad to have done so because I overcame the difficulties and learned and grew form the experiences. 

Gratitude can certainly put things into perspective, like Jeffrey says.  When gratitude is given to others, the act informs them that they are appreciated and valued. Benefits are given to the bearer and the receiver in one simple selfless act.  When one shows gratitude it elevates the bearer and the receiver together.  

But is gratitude always selfless.  Could there be underlying motives when one shows gratitude, such as a gain of political power?  Could gratitude be used as a tool for power?  Just a thought.  I sit on a board of directors of a foundation that is nonprofit.  We raise money to give grants to other nonprofit service agencies.  I also volunteer at my local food pantry.  In both organizations there exits ugly politics.  Groups that started with good intentions find that the original intentions become blurred.  In my experience I find that a mere thank you can turn in to favors given masked under the guise of gratitude. 

I hate to be a Debbie Downer but for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction.  

That raises a good question Shari, is it really gratitude when we are trying to get something out of it for ourselves?

Your right Tamiko.  It wouldn't be genuine gratitude would it.  

I think gratitude, when whole-hearted and pure, is a selfless sentiment responding to a selfless act.

More Quotes on Gratitude

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” 
― Epicurus

“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.” 
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

Tamiko, Shari, and Md TN all bring up good points.  This all reminds me of a verse of a Buddhist prayer which goes something like this, "If one whom I have helped my best and from whom I expect much harms me in an inconceivable way, may I regard that person as my best teacher."  If we can have gratitude for those trials that come our way then perhaps we can be grateful for what we have and not desire to have more.  This is a hard thing, but this kind of gratitude is worth learning.

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” 
― Thích Nhất Hạnh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” 
― Meister Eckhart

Good Eckhart quote and so true, I love Eckhart

New Eckhart quote just added by Moderator TN.

"Gratitude is the memory of the heart." — J.B. Massieu

Why is gratitude the memory of the heart?

I'm not sure if I would say that gratitude is the memory of the heart, though putting it that way was obviously significant for Massieu.   At it purest, gratitude does seem to be of  the heart for it expresses something of our connected-ness to other beings, to the movement of life at large and the possibilities it contains.

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Permalink Reply by Tamiko Yamada on May 15, 2014 at 11:54pm

Maybe it is related to the concept that we are all related and connected which is itself a heart quality  you might say.

Permalink Reply by Grace Cunningham on May 23, 2014 at 4:14pm

Gratitude seems to be a recognition of our common humanity and therefore is a gesture of the heart.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on May 7, 2014 at 11:34am

Kevin Durant won the MVP trophy for the National Basketball Association yesterday.  His acceptance speech was a list of thank you's to all the players and coaches that have helped him along the way.  His longest and more profound thank you went out to his mother who raised him under the most difficult circumstances.  His heartfelt praise for his mother left all in attendance without a dry eye.   It is heartwarming to see a public figure display the soul quality of gratitude so completely.  You get a sense of the driving power of gratitude in many people of excellence.

Permalink Reply by Ryan Hauck on May 8, 2014 at 11:38am

One of my favorite quotes on gratitude is from Neale Donald Walsche.

"The fastest way out of Judgement, is to move into gratitude.. "

 

AUM

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on May 8, 2014 at 12:38pm

Please share with us why it is one of your favorites?

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on May 8, 2014 at 2:09pm

Here is a good one from a former US President:

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.


John F. Kennedy

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on May 10, 2014 at 4:27pm

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.” 
― Alphonse Karr, A Tour Round My Garden

“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us - and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. 
Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.” 
― Thomas Merton

Permalink Reply by Tamiko Yamada on May 10, 2014 at 4:37pm

Gratitude is a power because it bestows upon its object the positive charge of love both to the giver and the receiver.  Life atoms are elevated by this activity and energy is added.  Thought is power, we are told, and when we are in the mental posture of gratitude we are drawing from energies deeper inside of us than when we are in a ordinary state of of mind.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on May 13, 2014 at 9:47pm

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice. ~Meister Eckhart

You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.

~G.K. Chesterto

 

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on May 15, 2014 at 11:40pm

 "Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other."

— Randy Pausch    Author of The Last Lecture

"When you practice gratefulness, there is a sense of respect towards others."

— The Dalai Lama

Permalink Reply by Tamiko Yamada on May 16, 2014 at 12:13am

In the East we are taught to reverence the lineage of the Teachers.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on May 18, 2014 at 10:20am

What is the relationship between the idea of gratitude and the idea of devotion?

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Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on May 18, 2014 at 1:19pm

Thoreau on Gratitude:

“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite - only a sense of existence. Well, anything for variety. I am ready to try this for the next ten thousand years, and exhaust it. How sweet to think of! my extremities well charred, and my intellectual part too, so that there is no danger of worm or rot for a long while. My breath is sweet to me. O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.”

Permalink Reply by Tamiko Yamada on May 20, 2014 at 2:29pm

Is he speaking of the joy of consciouness?  For him is perception itself, learning itself, the only possession he requires for contentment?

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on May 19, 2014 at 10:17am

I found this in my reading this morning attributed to Anon.

"A good environment in the present has been earned, not by our personality, but through the efforts of other personalities the real "I" in us has lived in in the past.  Let us pause and send a thought of gratitude to those dead and gone personalities, whose efforts and endeavors are not dead and gone and are responsible for placing us where we find ourselves today."

Permalink Reply by Tamiko Yamada on May 20, 2014 at 2:31pm

What a fascinating perspective!  What ever blessings we may be enjoying may not be due to any efforts in this life but perhaps are due to the toil of past personalities.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on May 21, 2014 at 9:01pm

From the Dalai Lama:

"Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can."

Permalink Reply by Don Petros on May 23, 2014 at 12:09pm

that is a very beautiful commentary. thanks.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on May 24, 2014 at 5:10pm

"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."     —  G. K. Chesterton

"Reflect upon your blessings -- of which every man has many -- not your past misfortunes, of which all men have some."     —  Charles Dickens

"We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.   — Cynthia Ozick

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on May 27, 2014 at 10:43pm

“And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart:

Your seeds shall live in my body,
And the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart,
And your fragrance shall be my breath,
And together we shall rejoice through all the seasons.”
― Khalil Gibran

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on May 30, 2014 at 11:13am

Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.
— Aesop (620-550 BC), Androcles

No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.
— Saint Ambrose (340-397 AD), De Spiritu Sancto

I can express no kinder sign of love
Than this kind kiss. O Lord, that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!
For thou hast given me in this beauteous face
A world of earthly blessings to my soul,
If sympathy of love unite our thoughts.
— William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Henry VI: Part 2 (1590), 1.1.20

Permalink Reply by Grace Cunningham on May 30, 2014 at 12:08pm

I am sure at some time in everyone's life they have been the witness of a heartfelt thank you being given to a deserving party.  What is clear is that both people are all aglow.