Q: I am 17 years old and I am doing a major school project on gratitude/thankfulness. As Sir John Templeton asked: “How can we get six billion people around the world to practice gratitude?” I want to create a training program at my school. For my project it would be amazing, if you could answer the following questions for me. — Rafael Ruch, Zurich, Switzerland

Br. David Steindl-Rast answers Rafael’s questions…


What are you grateful/thankful for in the last year (2013)?

On a personal level, I am grateful that my health held out, in spite of my old age (87), that I was able to write and travel and lecture and spend time with good friends.

What are you grateful/thankful for in general/in your life?

Although I am not always as mindful of it as I would like to be, I am grateful for every single moment, because every moment offers me a new opportunity as a completely free gift. Specifically, I am grateful for the many opportunities to enjoy life through all my senses and to share this joy with others.

How does gratitude affect you/your state of being?

Whenever I am grateful, I feel more joyful, more awake, and energized in mind and body: I feel “in tune with Life.”

Have there been life-changing events/moments/situations in your life, which you are thankful for?

Several times in my life I was in immediate danger of death (almost being hit by a train at an open train-crossing, or facing an enemy machine-gun pointing directly at me from a few feet away, or having no food and thinking that I might die from starvation). At such moments I learned to appreciate life and live gratefully.

My life was also changed by discovering a simple method for grateful living: “Stop, Look, Go!” “Stop,” so as not to rush past the opportunity of the moment; “Look,” for the given opportunity; and “Go!” meaning “make something of this given opportunity here and now!”

Br. David Steindl-Rast
Br. David Steindl-Rast, OSB

Br. David Steindl-Rast, OSB

About the author

Brother David Steindl-Rast — author, scholar, and Benedictine monk — is beloved the world over for his enduring message about gratefulness as the true source of lasting happiness. Known to many as the “grandfather of gratitude,” Br. David has been a source of inspiration and spiritual friendship to countless leaders and luminaries around the world including Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Thomas Merton, and more. He has been one of the most important figures in the modern interfaith dialogue movement, and has taught with thought-leaders such as Eckhart Tolle, Jack Kornfield, and Roshi Joan Halifax. His wisdom has been featured in recent interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Krista Tippett, and Tami Simon and his TED talk has been viewed almost 10,000,000 times. Learn more about Br. David here.