We all belong to the world in concentric circles of relationship; some more distant and others close, some with people different from us and others more similar. Living within this web of connectedness can bring us the greatest of joys and the deepest challenges. We are prone to preferences and patterns, fears and habits of behavior which can build bridges to other people, and also tear them down. And much of how we operate in our relationships is unconscious and beneath our awareness. Always, the domain of relationship offers fertile ground in which we can learn the most about ourselves, one another and life as a whole. And our capacity for connectedness matters a lot, as our future as a species will depend mightily on our ability to collaborate and cooperate for the common good.

Grateful Living can offer a powerful form of “engaged” or “interactive” mindfulness. This means that we have the opportunity, when we practice, to bring our full attention to HOW we relate to others. Gratefulness can open our hearts to one another in ways that break down barriers and facilitate connection. We can more easily respond rather than react, inquire rather than opinionate. Compassion is awakened in living gratefully. As the Dalai Lama says, “When you practice gratefulness, there is a sense of respect towards others.”