Gratitude and Generosity

By: Arrigo S.

Wow! Being accepted to an Ivy-league university, winning the lottery, acquiring fame, or achieving our dream job would be (or at least would appear to be) the best possible thing that could happen to you. Or would it?

We all fantasize about these lofty goals, and become lost in the illusion that our lives would be fulfilled, and that we would have achieved success when we acquire something or become someone we’ve always mused about. But enough is enough, and we should avoid waiting for destiny to happen and make us happy. Instead, we should enjoy the present moment and be grateful, for as Buddha said, “gratitude turns what we have into enough.”

The word gratitude derives from the Latin word gratia, meaning gratefulness or grace itself. In fact the Roman philosopher Cicero said “gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” My fellow scholars, consider this; if external conditions were capable in making you truly happy and satisfied, wouldn’t you feel the constant need to do this, get this, or become this. Ponder on this; how is it possible that the Buddhist monks who virtually have nothing and live in poverty are much more content than people like “When did we beat Japan at anything?” Donald “It was a great night for Mexico” Trump, who are famous and have millions. Certainly the Buddhist monks have something that the “better off” do not have, that something is the tree of inner peace which bears many fruit, one of these fruits being gratitude. Remember to thank someone or something, whether that be your parents, God, or the Universe, even when you feel unlucky or cursed, because there is always someone who has it much worse then you do and surprisingly is coping with his/her difficulties. Be grateful and an incessant feeling of optimism and joy will accompany you through your life, assisting you in even the most challenging situations. Once in a state of intense being generous to others will become as natural as breathing; your neighbor’s best interest will be your top concern. Being grateful for the miracle of life will serve as an incentive to make sure this precious gifted is preserved. A kind act towards a person in need, whether a known friend or stranger will always reap benefits that outweigh the “cost” of that act, in fact the American poet John Holmes said “there is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” You, yes you the reader, are not obliged to assist every person in the world, all you need to do is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and help someone, anyone, right now. The longest serving first lady of the United States of America Eleanor Roosevelt asked “when will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?” Evidently there is no clear cut answer to this question, but what is certain is that life’s beauty is self-evident and we must preserve it.

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