Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • There is something

  • you know about me, something very personal,

  • and there is something I know about

  • every one of you

  • and that's very central to your concerns.

  • There is something that we know

  • about everyone we meet anywhere in the world,

  • on the street,

  • that is the very mainspring

  • of whatever they do

  • and whatever they put up with,

  • and that is that all of us

  • want to be happy.

  • In this, we are all together.

  • How we imagine our happiness,

  • that differs from one another,

  • but it's already a lot that we have all in common,

  • that we want to be happy.

  • Now my topic is gratefulness.

  • How is the connection between

  • happiness and gratefulness?

  • 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 they are deeply happy.

  • They radiate happiness. You are surprised.

  • Why? Because they are grateful.

  • So it is not happiness that makes us grateful.

  • It's gratefulness that makes us happy.

  • If you think it's happiness that makes you grateful,

  • think again.

  • It's gratefulness that makes you happy.

  • Now, we can ask,

  • what really do we mean by gratefulness?

  • And how does it work?

  • I appeal to your own experience.

  • We all know from experience how it goes.

  • We experience something

  • that's valuable to us.

  • Something is given to us that's valuable to us.

  • And it's really given.

  • These two things have to come together.

  • It has to be something valuable,

  • and it's 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.

  • And when these two things come together,

  • something that's really valuable to me

  • and I realize it's freely given,

  • then gratefulness spontaneously

  • rises in my heart,

  • happiness spontaneously rises in my heart.

  • That's how 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 experiencing, by becoming aware

  • that every moment is a given moment, as we say.

  • 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,

  • and this moment is a gift.

  • It's a given moment, as we say.

  • Now, we say the gift within this gift

  • is really the opportunity.

  • What you are really grateful for is the opportunity,

  • not the thing that is given to you,

  • because if that thing were somewhere else

  • and you didn't have the opportunity to enjoy it,

  • to do something with it,

  • you wouldn't be grateful for it.

  • Opportunity is the gift within every gift,

  • and we have this saying,

  • opportunity knocks only once.

  • Well, think again.

  • Every moment is a new gift, over and over again,

  • and if you miss the opportunity of this moment,

  • another moment is given to us, and another moment.

  • We can avail ourselves of this opportunity,

  • or we can miss it,

  • and if we avail ourselves of the opportunity,

  • it is the key to happiness.

  • Behold the master key to our happiness

  • in our own hands.

  • Moment by moment,

  • we can be grateful for this gift.

  • Does that mean

  • that we can be grateful for everything?

  • Certainly not.

  • 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 can be grateful for everything.

  • I said we can be grateful in every given moment

  • for the opportunity,

  • and even 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.

  • It isn't as bad as it might seem.

  • 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,

  • and we only miss it because

  • we are rushing through life

  • and we are not stopping to see the opportunity.

  • But once in a while,

  • something very difficult is given to us,

  • and when this difficult thing occurs to us,

  • it's a challenge to rise to that opportunity,

  • and we can rise to it by learning something

  • which is sometimes painful.

  • Learning patience, for instance.

  • We have been told that the road to peace

  • is not a sprint,

  • but is more like a marathon.

  • That takes patience. That's difficult.

  • It may be to stand up for your opinion,

  • to stand up for your conviction.

  • That's an opportunity that is given to us.

  • To learn, to suffer, to stand up,

  • all these opportunities are given to us,

  • but they are opportunities,

  • and those who avail themselves

  • of those opportunities

  • are the ones that we admire.

  • They make something out of life.

  • And those who fail get another opportunity.

  • We always get another opportunity.

  • That's the wonderful richness of life.

  • 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 street.

  • Stop. Look. Go.

  • That's all.

  • But how often do we stop?

  • We rush through life. We don't stop.

  • We miss the opportunity because we don't stop.

  • We have to stop. We have to get quiet.

  • And we have to build stop signs

  • into our lives.

  • When I was in Africa some years ago

  • and then came back,

  • I noticed water.

  • In Africa where I was, I didn't have drinkable water.

  • Every time I turned on the faucet,

  • I was overwhelmed.

  • Every time I clicked on the light,

  • I was so grateful. It made me so happy.

  • But after a while, this wears off.

  • So I put little stickers on the light switch

  • and on the water faucet,

  • and every time I turned it on, water.

  • So leave it up to your own imagination.

  • You can find whatever works best for you,

  • but you need stop signs in your life.

  • And when you stop,

  • then the next thing is to look.

  • You look. You open your eyes.

  • You open your ears. You open your nose.

  • You open all your senses

  • for this wonderful richness that is given to us.

  • There is no end to it,

  • and that is what life is all about,

  • to enjoy, to enjoy what is given to us.

  • And then we can also open our hearts,

  • our hearts for the opportunities,

  • for the opportunities also to help others,

  • to make others happy, because nothing makes us more happy

  • than when all of us are happy.

  • And when we open our hearts to the opportunities,

  • the opportunities invite us to do something,

  • and that is the third.

  • Stop, look, and then go, and really do something.

  • And what we can do is

  • whatever life offers to you in that present moment.

  • Mostly it's the opportunity to enjoy,

  • but sometimes it's something more difficult.

  • But whatever it is, if we take this opportunity,

  • we go with it, we are creative,

  • those are the creative people,

  • and that little stop, look, go,

  • is such a potent seed

  • that it can revolutionize our world.

  • Because we need, we are at the present moment

  • in the middle of a change of consciousness,

  • and you will be surprised if you --

  • I am always surprised when I hear how many times

  • this word "gratefulness" and "gratitude" comes up.

  • Everywhere you find it,

  • a grateful airline, a restaurant gratefulness,

  • a cafe gratefulness, a wine that is gratefulness.

  • Yes, I have even come across a toilet paper

  • that the brand is called Thank You. (Laughter)

  • There is a wave of gratefulness because

  • people are becoming aware how important this is

  • and how this can change our world.

  • It can change our world

  • in immensely important ways,

  • because if you're grateful, you're not fearful,

  • and if you're not fearful, you're not violent.

  • If you're grateful, you act out of a sense of enough

  • and not of a sense of scarcity,

  • and you are willing to share.

  • If you are grateful, you are enjoying

  • the differences between people,

  • and you are respectful to everybody,

  • and that changes this power pyramid

  • under which we live.

  • And it doesn't make for equality,

  • but it makes for equal respect,

  • and that is the important thing.

  • The future of the world will be a network,

  • not a pyramid, not a pyramid turned upside down.

  • The revolution of which I am speaking

  • is a nonviolent revolution,

  • and it's so revolutionary

  • that it even revolutionizes

  • the very concept of a revolution,

  • because a normal revolution is one

  • where the power pyramid is turned upside down

  • and those who were on the bottom are now on the top

  • and are doing exactly the same thing

  • that the ones did before.

  • What we need is a networking of smaller groups,

  • smaller and smaller groups who know one another,

  • who interact with one another,

  • and that is a grateful world.

  • A grateful world is a world of joyful people.

  • Grateful people are joyful people,

  • and joyful people,

  • the more and more joyful people there are,

  • the more and more