There is not now, nor ever, a shortage of tragic, unjust, and violent events occurring around the world. The news media exploits these events and brings them into our brains 24/7 with an unrelenting insistence.
Our nervous systems are vulnerable to these kinds of information. They signal danger and set anxiety on edge. Could ebola come to my town? Will someone I know get beheaded by ISIS? Watching the news can make it seem like the world is coming to an end.
Still what we miss could be more important than what we get fed from the news.
There are countless non-events that don’t get registered by attention. All the acts of kindness, cooperation, and love that go unnoticed. While there is rioting in Ferguson, our cities don’t burn on a daily basis. While there is crime, corruption, and cruelty, there is a greater abundance of the absence of these actions.
Spend a day trying to notice all the things that are going right (or not going wrong) just under your nose both in your personal life and your community. This shift in perspective is akin to switching the figure and ground. It’s not that unwanted things don’t occur, we choose to highlight the hidden occurrence of the mundane.
For me personally, I am grateful for many things in my life: family, people, dogs, travel, experiences, and opportunities. It’s been a rich year. Thank you!
I am also grateful that the world hasn’t blown itself up. When I was in college during the 1980s nuclear disarmament was the most pressing issue. We seemed convinced that MAD would be realized (if you recall, MAD is the acronym for “mutually assured destruction”). That never happened.
I am grateful that I get to write more and more. I will have two books coming out in 2015 (The Awakened Introvert and Mindfulness A-Z) and some other exciting writing projects.
I am grateful for my readers who have persisted in reading this blog despite my frequent absences.
I am grateful for the teachings of the Buddha and the practice of mindfulness that he recommended. Without these, I’d be lost. I am grateful that I live in a time and culture that is receptive to these teachings.
I trust that you have much to be grateful for as well. It is my wish that you don’t have to look to hard to find these.
Peace to everyone on this snowy day of Thanksgiving!