I want to share something very personal about
myself with all of you today…
I desire to be happy.
And now, may I point out the obvious to you?…
Every one of you alive on this planet,
also desires to be happy.
The desire to be happy is something that we all know for certain that we all have in common.
We share this desire with about everyone we meet anywhere in the world, on the street.
Happiness is the very mainspring of whatever they do and whatever they put up with.
In this, we are all together.
How we imagine our happiness,
is what differs from one another.
But…if you really stop and think about it, happiness is the great unifier.
It’s the one thing that we have all in common… the desire to be happy.
Now my topic today is NOT happiness…it is
What is the connection between happiness and
Many people would say, well, that’s very easy.
When you are happy, you are grateful.
But think again.
Is it really the happy people that are grateful?
We all know quite a number of people who have everything that it would take to be happy, and they are not happy, because they want something else or they want more of the same.
And we all know people who have lots of misfortune, misfortune that we ourselves would not want to have, and yet they are deeply happy.
They radiate happiness.
How is that possible?
Because they are grateful, they radiate happiness.
Now, we can ask, what really do we mean by gratefulness?
And how does it work?
In order to explain this, I am going to appeal to your own experience.
We all know from experience how it goes.
Imagine that something is given to you that you view as being valuable.
And it’s really given.
Did you catch that…?
It has to be something valuable, and it has to have been given as a gift, a real gift.
You haven’t bought it.
You haven’t earned it.
You haven’t traded it in.
You haven’t worked for it.
It’s just given to you.
In my life, it has been when these two things have come together,
that gratefulness has spontaneously arisen in my heart.
It is in that moment of gratefulness that I have experienced unadulterated happiness.
That is how in my opinion, gratefulness happens.
Now the key to all this is that we cannot only experience this once in a while.
We cannot only have grateful experiences.
We can be people who live gratefully.
Grateful living, that is the thing.
And how can we live gratefully?
By becoming aware that every moment is a GIVEN MOMENT,
or in other words…
It’s a gift.
You haven’t earned it.
You haven’t brought it about in any way.
You have no way of assuring that there will be another moment given to you.
And yet, that’s the most valuable thing that can ever be given to us, this moment, with all the opportunity that it contains.
If we didn’t have this present moment, we wouldn’t have any opportunity to do anything or experience anything.
This moment is a gift.
Science has proven that grateful people are healthier, happier, and live longer lives.
So why not give it a try?
Does that mean that we can be grateful for everything?
We cannot be grateful for violence, for war, for oppression, for exploitation.
On the personal level, we cannot be grateful for the loss of a friend, for unfaithfulness, for bereavement.
But I didn’t say we should be grateful for everything.
Just grateful for the free gift that life is to us.
I believe that we can be grateful in every given moment for the opportunity.
We can even be grateful when we are confronted with something that is terribly difficult.
We can rise to this occasion and respond to the opportunity that is given to us.
This idea may seem difficult at first glance, but bear with me for just a moment because it really isn’t as hard as you might think.
Actually, when you look at it and experience it, you find that most of the time, what is given to us is opportunity to enjoy the little every day moments.
We only miss it because we are rushing through life and we are not stopping to see the moment and how precious it actually is.
So how can we find a method that will harness this?
How can each one of us find a method for living gratefully, not just once in a while being grateful, but moment by moment to be grateful?
How can we do it?
It’s a very simple method.
It’s so simple that it’s actually what we were
told as children when we learned to cross the
But how often do we stop?
We rush through life.
We don’t stop.
We miss the opportunity because we refuse to slow down and stop.
We have to stop.
We have to get quiet.
And we have to build stop signs into our lives.
And then we can also open our hearts.
When our hearts are open, we are so much better at spotting the opportunities.
The opportunities not only for ourselves, but also the opportunity to help others.
To make others happy.
Because nothing makes us more happy than when we are responsible for making another person happy.
And when we open our hearts to the opportunities, the opportunities invite us to do something.
Stop, look, and then go.
Really GO and do something.
And what we can do is whatever life offers to you in that present moment.
But whatever it is I challenge you to take this opportunity, to really go with it, be creative.
I have noticed that it is those people who are actively creative, and have learned how to take that little stop, look, go, are happy and content most of the time.
This idea is such a potent seed that it can revolutionize our world.
So lets go plant some seeds.