This could be totally wrong, but I’m guessing that the decline of religious life in our culture has brought with it a decline in gratitude. Not that I am laying some sort of a religious trip on everyone—I am the first to cop to not maintaining an attitude of thankfulness.
But I do feel as though we (and I include me) have come to worship desire. Here in the United States, I sometimes despair that our state religion is consumption and our main prayer is for more.
I’m not even religious, but I sense from people I’ve known who take the spiritual aspects of their religions to heart an emphasis on being grateful for what God or the Universe or the Oneness has given them rather than on what they don’t have. I admire that. I’d like to have more of that in myself, because I, too, often find that my prayer, if I’m not careful, is for more.
Here is what I think: that being grateful for what I have makes me want less. Wanting less makes me consume less. Consuming less makes me treat the planet more kindly. The equation goes, therefore, gratitude equals kindness.
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