Q: I recently bought Br. David’s book on Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer. A question I still have is whether the spiritual practice of gratefulness can enable a person to realize the same peace and joy as those individuals who practice Zen and other Eastern spiritual paths. Christianity does not talk about nirvana or moksha but can we attain these states through the universal practice of gratitude ? — R., Japan

A: Dear R.,

Sounds like something has been deeply stirred in you through your reading. Hope you’ll continue exploring in this vein!

I don’t know of anyone who has done a comprehensive study of Zen (etc.) states compared to gratefulness practice. But if you sit in meditation and still your thoughts while letting your cup of gratefulness overflow for the sheer gift of awareness, you would find yourself in a state of profound peace and joy. And it doesn’t stop there: If you bring that great fullness back into life, becoming conscious of the supreme gift that each encounter and each moment is, you would be in a state not unlike Sahaja Samadhi, the yogic divine insight brought into everyday life.

There may be built-in benefits to the spiritual practice of gratefulness that would be hard to match elsewhere. Gratefulness is inherently focused away from our egos, for instance, and most of us naturally understand what gratefulness is. So this practice — whether practiced in quietude or amidst the bustle of life — can cut straight to the heart of the matter.

Be well,