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First Things, November 2015

November 4, 2015
The beginning of spirituality is gratitude. The first movement from ego to enlightenment comes from recognizing that we are not independent beings, but that we are connected “in mystery and miracle” to the world around us. We do that by seeing the thousands of ways every day that our lives intersect with the lives of others. And when we appreciate that intersection we say, “thank you.”
The first step away from entitlement toward blessing is gratitude. Instead of going through the day saying, “The world exists to serve me,” and “I deserve this,” we become spiritually healthy when we begin to notice how the world continuously offers itself to my happiness. We become humble. Our minds fill with awe. And we say, “thank you.”
Although Thanksgiving is a secular holiday, for Unitarian Universalists it might be the most religious holiday in the year. But don’t wait until the end of the month to start feeling grateful. Start now!
It’s not hard to find reasons to say “thank you.” Large gifts like life and health. A good job. A home. A church community. Family. Friends. Food to eat. A city and its pleasures. The world of nature.
And small gifts. Moments of kindness. A place to sit. Watching a bird in flight. A beautiful face. A beautiful day. Something funny on television. Every breath.
You don’t need to feel spiritual in order to feel grateful. But starting to feel grateful automatically opens the soul to spirituality. Who are these beautiful creatures conspiring for my happiness? What is this amazing world filled with pleasures? Who am I, to be so lucky?
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