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David Steindl-Rast: Want to be happy? Be grateful
The one thing all humans have in common is that each of us wants to be happy, says Brother David Steindl-Rast, a monk and interfaith scholar. And happiness, he suggests, is born from gratitude. An inspiring lesson in slowing down, looking where you’re going, and above all, being grateful.
Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk, meditates and writes on “the gentle power” of gratefulness.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM?
Many first met Brother David Steindl-Rast through a viral video called “Nature. Beauty. Gratitude,” where Louie Schwartzberg’s footage of time-lapse flowers in bloom is narrated by Brother David’s moving words asking us to simply be … grateful. Since 1953, Brother David has been a monk of Mount Saviour Benedictine monastery in New York, dividing his time between hermitic contemplation, writing and lecturing. He’s the cofounder of gratefulness.org, supporting ANG*L (A Network for Grateful Living).
He was one of the first Roman Catholics to participate in Buddhist-Christian dialogue, and is the author of The Ground We Share, a text on Buddhist and Christian practice, written with Robert Aitken Roshi. His other books include Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer and Deeper Than Words. His most recent book is 99 Blessings, a series of prayers for the general reader — whether people of faith, agnostics, or uncertain.
A member of the Calmaldolese order of monks, and well-known for his far-reaching interests in theology and science (he has explored the implications of contemporary physics with Fritjof Capra, the author of The Tao of Physics), Steindl-Rast does a wonderful job of exploring the relationship between prayer and that sense of gratefulness that comes with love, which is at the very center of what it means to be human. “To bless whatever there is, and for no other reason but simply because it is, that is what we are made for as human beings,” he writes. Connecting contemplation and action, he affirms that contemplation may best be realized by “acting in love.” “Thinking about God is important,” he states, but “acting in God leads to a deeper knowledge. Lovers are closer to love than scholars who merely reflect on love. It would be a bit awkward to reflect on kissing while you kiss.” –Doug Thorpe
From the Author
It makes me happy that, after almost two decades, this book still finds a steady stream of new readers. Now and then, I hear people who made Gratefulness their daily reading in a time of crisis, in sickness, or on their deathbed. This fills me with awe. So does that fact that groups who read and discuss books together have found this one helpful. What do I myself like about it? That it treats the main aspects of gratefulness in a systematic way, without – I hope – being dry. And I specially like the list of key words arranged from A to Z (yes, I even have one for “X”).– Br. David Steindl-Rast, March 2002