Cultivating Gratitude

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Cultivating Gratitude

Why should our parents have always got it right?

It’s even strange that we should expect, let alone demand that. When we think it through, it’s somewhat ridiculous, but our idealistic mind can easily look for that. So it’s a good opportunity to cultivate a sense of compassion, of kindness and of forgiveness. And whatever the difficulties are that have come from family life – inherited along with the blessings and the benefits of our childhood – we realize these can also be a tremendous source of wisdom when we meet them with an open heart rather than with complaint, criticism or judgment.

When we meet those difficulties with openness, then there’s a different chemistry there and the difficulties become a source of insight. Ironically, it is oftentimes precisely those difficulties and painful areas of our lives that help us to wake up most effectively and encourage us to develop a deeper understanding and a more all-encompassing quality of wisdom. It is when things are painful and difficult that we are encouraged and motivated to pay attention. With comfort we tend to drift off, whereas pain gets our attention. We have to see: What do I do with this? Where is it coming from? How can this be accommodated? How can this be understood?

Cultivating gratitude for our parents is not just a sweet sentiment that we’re trying to paste over our lives; rather it’s a source of deep practice, a source of wisdom, a source of profoundly wholesome qualities that we can develop.

This reflection by Ajahn Amaro is from the book, Gratitude, (pdf) pp. 74-75.