Spiritual Culture Evolving Talks ‘Gratitude and Peace’ – Part 1 – GRATITUDE

Posted on September 11, 2011 by


September 11, 2011 and the First day of the Season for Interfaith – Intercultural Celebrations and the anniversary of 911.  Spent the morning in collective meditation that eased into listening to series one in a series of nine Spiritual Culture Evolving Talks that began in 2010/2011.  These were  hosted by Jim Kenney, former Global Director of the Parliament of the World’s Religions and an expert  in world religion and culture. and Dr. Barbara Fields, Executive Directory, Age of New Global Thought.

The first speaker is Brother David Steindl-Rast and is on Gratitude from the Perspective of Christianity.  Here is the information shared with the audio of Brother David’s discussion. ” Brother David  is an Austrian-American Roman Catholic theologian and Benedictine monk, notable for his active participation in interfaith dialogue, and his work on the interaction between spirituality and science. In addition to being a pioneer in Buddhist-Christian dialogue, he has contributed to understanding and peace in the world through interdisciplinary social commitment. Among the vital findings which have brought changes in the scientific view of spiritual practice are: the role of gratefulness in political and altruistic action, the relationship between gratefulness and happiness.”

Listening to the questions Jim and Barbara put to Brother David are unique for my as a layperson as I have never had the opportunity to hear these types of questions or the frank answers.  Listening to this is beyond my expectations and I find myself excited.  Why?  This goes beyond all the concepts I have been told and experienced in my life about religious culture.  This is not what I expected.  It is changing my world view beginning with the first question and answer.

What would you tell someone of another faith who has no experience with your religion about Christianity?

Brother David said he would establish a context on a deeper basis than that of each of their particular faiths.  He would connect to the deep trust in life and basic faith all humans share.  He then went on to say the same human faith we all share and expresses itself is like what Jesus expressed.  He described Jesus as a mystic  with a deep relationship to the divine.  The divine that is the ground of how we all come to godlike motherly love and caring.  He called Jesus a  non-violent revolutionary, seeing all human beings as citizens and as equals and standing up against oppression and the exploitation and domination system of this world.

I had never heard Jesus described as a mystic divine revolutionary or as a non-violent revolutionary and I find this inspiring.  My mind connects this statement with what I have heard about Gandhi and to a personal connection with the practice of Dr. Marshall Rosenberg’s model of Nonviolent Communication.  Excitement is building!

The next question relates to the theme and describing gratitude.

It is the opinion of Brother David that the word gratitude is overused and has become too  common to us, like the word coin.  When used it doesn’t have a deeper meaning.  He prefers to use the word gratefulness as it may wake people up when they hear it.    He goes on to say that when you think of the word gratefulness that your heart fills with appreciation.  Gratefulness is from something given.  As the vessel fills and overflows thankfulness is extended out.  Something given,  gratefulness coming in and becoming appreciation – extending thankfulness.  To hear this summary is beautiful!

He suggests grateful living with an attitude of gratefulness as a way to shape the days circumstances.  Every moment is a given moment and every moment you could be grateful for being given this opportunity.  Yet he also realizes that no you can’t be grateful for everything.  He goes on to say that the things you can’t be grateful for now become opportunities to do something about it.  To learn and growth by it and that they turn into opportunities to become grateful for when you look back.   Can you remember a difficult time and looking back now and being grateful for what you learned from it?

He has another interesting theory that is exciting with regards to a world view.  I am not wanting to give it all away as I would like to stimulate your curiosity into listening to this audio for yourself to connect with the depth of Brother David’s, Jim’s and  Barbara’s experience.  If you find yourself drawn to wanting more, email me at renee@insideawareness.com and type Gratitude talks into the subject line.

Part Two – Peace to follow.