A Simple Invitation to Gratitude

In Consolations, David Whyte says, “Gratitude arises from paying attention, from being awake in the presence of everything that lives within and without us. Gratitude is not necessarily something shown after the event, it is the deep, a priori state of attention that shows we understand and are equal to the gifted nature of life…”

There is a profound truth which meets us in this simple ‘state of attention’ David Whyte so beautifully captures here. I don’t know what it is, but something in my intuition literally gives me chills. When we participate in this original state of attention—natural and common enough for a young child, yet deep enough for a great sage—we simply understand. We understand and are equal to this mysterious gift rooted in the deep nature of life itself. It as if the very purpose of life is to evoke that which is greatest and most gifted in each of us, whether human or more-than-human. It is as if this simple and original state of attention, what mystics call the sacrament of the present moment, is the great ground out of which we are born and the world too is born. The world gifting us into existence and our simple gratitude returning the giftedness of the world to its original source.

Whyte goes on, “…the underlying gift of life and incarnation as a living, participating human being is a privilege; that we are miraculously, part of something, rather than nothing… Thankfulness finds its full measure in generosity of presence, both through participation and witness. We sit at the table as part of every other person’s world while making our own world without will or effort… Thanksgiving happens when our sense of presence meets all other presences. Being unappreciative might mean we are simply not paying attention.”

Choose to participate in the gift of life itself living among you and through you this week. Choose to witness the miracle of incarnation happening through the subtle generosities of presence meeting one another. Give thanks with your whole Self!