Gratefulness.org is a worldwide community dedicated to gratefulness as the core inspiration for personal change, international cooperation, and sustainable activism in areas of universal concern.
The group’s purpose provides education and support for the practice of grateful living as a global ethic, based on the teachings of Br. David Steindl-Rast and others. They offer free resources through our online hub, Gratefulness.org, as well as workshops, retreats, and local groups that teach people to cultivate gratefulness. The site aims to set up a spiral of learning, practice, and sharing that opens out into real-life action and service to society.
The practice of gratefulness moves people in four directions. In our personal lives, it has an inward aspect, restoring courage; and an outward aspect, inspiring generosity. In our social lives, it can be focused one-to-one, reconciling relationships, or it can be focused further afield: as an instrument for healing our Earth through reverence for nature, intergenerational respect, interfaith dialogue, and awareness of opportunities to serve.
These four directions add up to a commitment to live in the light of all we’ve been given. That means living fearlessly and therefore non-violently.
The website offers interactive resources; one of my favorites is the Gratefulness Labyrinth Pilgrimage. Users can choose to travel through the labyrinth on their own power or be carried through the site. Whichever mode you choose, you will find that going in towards the center and coming out from the center are experiences quite different from each other.
A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness of mind, body, and spirit, combining the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering, but purposeful, path. The labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and then back again out into the world, as in birth, death and rebirth.
Labyrinths are one of the oldest contemplative and transformational tools known to humankind and have for centuries been used for prayer, ritual, initiation, and spiritual growth.
They have been around for at least 4,000 years – and probably much longer – and are found in just about every major religious tradition in the world. They have been an integral part of many cultures, such as Egyptian, Peruvian, Indian, Greek, Celtic, Mayan and Native American. For the Hopi, the labyrinth was the symbol for mother earth and it was equated with kivas (rooms used for spiritual purposes).