Gil Fronsdal on Gratitude
Born in Norway and residing in San Francisco, Gil Fronsdal is a writer and teacher of Buddhism. His focus has been on both Vipassanā and Sōtō Zen Buddhism. After being ordained as a Sōtō Zen priest in 1982, he traveled to Burma in 1985 to live as a Theravada monk.
Fronsdal received his PhD in Buddhist Studies from Stanford University, and works as a teacher as the Insight Meditation Center in San Francisco. He has published a number of books, including: Insight Meditation in the United States: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, The Dhammapada: A New Translation of the Buddhist Classic with Annotations, and A Monastery Within: Tales from the Buddhist Path. Fronsdal is well known for teaching mindfulness without the trappings of Asian culture: he has called on teachers of Buddhism in America to engage in teaching meditation without the need to adopt various Eastern cultural practices.
The importance of gratitude
In this free mindfulness video, Gil Fronsdal discusses the notion of gratitude. When aiming to practice mindfulness in our daily lives, it’s easy to simply focus on the nuts and bolts of the practice. We may meditate for a certain amount of time, or engage in a specific number of mindfulness exercises in order feel as though we’re making the progress that we need to make. However, this is only one part of the overall picture of what living mindfully means.
To live with true presence, clarity, and awareness, more is needed: namely, gratitude. When we practice gratitude, we become more aware of the present moment. By looking for things to be grateful for, we can internalize a sense of peace and wholeness. Our minds are always looking to differentiate between things, to dissect our reality, and to split our experience into “good” and “bad.” My practice gratitude, we bring our attention away from these discernments and back to the present moment.