Gratitude, generosity and joy excite me in their ability to bring us to a state of mindfulness. It is difficult to practice either without being present. They require an intentionality that takes us out of our "doing" mindset that drives us to charge through task after task without reflecting on our goals or motivations. This practice can even soothe our suffering as we open to a wider universe of possibilities.
"With gratitude, what we are not doing is nearly as important as what we are doing. Its hard to
multitask while practicing gratitude. We are unlikely to be checking our cell phone or mindlessly eating a hamburger. When we practice gratitude, we aren't engaged in jealousy, greed, grasping or comparison. We are creating a space in our experience. As we leave the realm of judgment, comparison and criticism, our natural wisdom and compassion emerge."
I like the progression from the gratitude of Thanksgiving to the generosity of the holiday season. As we open our hearts to gratitude and the people and circumstances that caused it, we that generosity won't lead to scarcity but abundance. I suggest in
The Power of Generosity
"a mindset of abundance facilitates the ability to let go and share our gifts with others. This doesn't mean we must always be generous. Powerful research connects generosity to happiness but only if we are thoughtful about it."
Finally, we often associate this season with Joy. The Buddhist tradition offers the concept of Muditā, or Sympathetic Joy. We observe the happiness of others and allow it to nourish us. In
Where Does Joy Come From and How Can I Get It
, I write,
"By finding joy in others, we can awaken the joy that lives in each of us. How beautiful to think, 'I know how you feel' when we see another person full of joy and delight! This activation carries the secret - that we hold the tools for joy inside of us. With presence, mindfulness, and of course practice, we can find joy and experience its benefits."