Living Gratitude

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Happy Thanksgiving!

No Thursday Evening “Silver Spring Community” Online Program

November 25, 2021, 7:00 to 8:45 pm

No Friday Evening “Open-to-All” Online Program

November 26, 2021, 7:00 to 8:45 pm

Dear Still Water Friends,

I’ve always liked giving thanks as a spiritual practice. I appreciate the Thanksgiving holiday because it brings friends, families, and sometimes strangers, together in a celebration of gratitude. As Brother David Steindl Rast highlights in this excerpt from Gratefulness: The Heart of Prayer, in the simple act of giving thanks, we learn to love and to enliven our lives:

We grow in love when we grow in gratefulness. And we grow in gratefulness when we grow in love. Here is the link between the two: thanksgiving pivots on our willingness to go beyond our independence and to accept the give-and-take between giver and thanks-giver. But the “yes” which acknowledges our interdependence is the very “yes” to belonging, the “yes” of love. Every time we say a simple “thank you,” and mean it, we practice that inner gesture of “yes.” And the more difficult it is to say a grateful “yes,” the more we grow by learning to say it gracefully. This sheds light on suffering and on other difficult gifts. The hardest gifts are, in a sense, the best, because they make us grow the most.

We know that our deepest joy springs from living in love. The key to that joy is the “yes” which love and gratefulness have in common. Thanksgiving is the setting in which that “yes” is most naturally practiced. This makes gratefulness a school in which one learns love. The only degrees one receives in that school are degrees of aliveness. With every “yes,” one relationship or another grows deeper and broader. And aliveness can only be measured by the intensity, depth, and variety of our relationships. If the fullness of gratitude which the word grate-ful-ness implies can ever be reached, it must be fullness of love and fullness of life.

Wherever you are this Thanksgiving, you may wish to share, or say silently to yourself, the Five Contemplations we say before meals at our Still Water events:

This food is the gift of the whole universe – the earth, the sky, and much hard work.
May we eat in mindfulness so as to nourish our gratitude.
May we transform our unskillful states of mind and learn to eat with moderation.
May we take only foods that nourish us and prevent illness.
We accept this food to realize the path of understanding, love, and joy.

I wish everyone a Thanksgiving holiday filled with gratitude and love.

A bow to everyone in our extended Still Water community.

Mitchell Ratner

Upcoming Still Water Special Events:

  • Online Book Talk with Kaira Jewel Lingo  — Sunday, December 12th, 4:30-6:00 pm
    The Still Water Mindfulness Practice Center is pleased to join with The Opening Heart Mindfulness Community and the Washington Mindfulness Community for a talk with Kaira Jewel Lingo on the release of her new book, We Were Made for These Times
  • Still Water Five Mindfulness Trainings Preparatory Classes — November 11th to December 19th, 2021
    Practitioners who are interested in receiving the trainings on January 8th are asked to participate in preparatory classes. Still Water will offer a series of five online classes, between November 11th and December 17th, 2021, each exploring one of the Five Mindfulness Trainings. Each of the training classes will be offered twice per week, on Thursday and Friday evenings, from 7:00 to 8:45 pm. Aspirants need only attend one of the evenings per week, though they may attend both evenings if they choose.
  • Transmission of the Five Mindfulness Trainings — Saturday, January 8th, 2022
    The Still Water Mindfulness Practice Center will again join with the Mindfulness Practice Center of Fairfax to transmit the Three Refuges and the Five Mindfulness Trainings. This year the transmission ceremony will take place online on Saturday, January 8th, 2022, beginning at 9:00 am and ending before noon (Eastern time).

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