Welcome to DAY 6 of our practice. Let’s begin…
Please close your eyes while you take three slow, deep breaths. Then open your eyes and consider the invitation to: “Be Surprised.”
In Teaching Gratefulness, Br. David writes “Yes, it is indeed possible to teach and learn gratefulness. A good starting point is surprise. We can cultivate surprise at waking up to another day, surprise at whatever the weather happens to be that day, surprise that there is anything rather than nothing!”
Taking nothing for granted, it could be said that we are always available to surprise. We are open to the fact that there is a lot more going on, and a lot more possible than our sometimes limited capacities can even imagine. In cultivating a greater availability to the experience of surprise and wonder, we open the door to gratefulness, awe, and hope.
In the recognition that gratefulness can be practiced and learned and that surprise can be an effective first step in that learning, we invite you today to:
- Set an intention to drop expectations, be curious, and open to surprise. Notice how simply setting this intention impacts you.
- Allow yourself to marvel at our extraordinary planet Earth and its place in the cosmos. Here we are hurtling through space, 93 million miles from the sun. Our planet dwells in the Milky Way, a galaxy that is around 100,000 light years across and that is one of approximately 100 – 200 billion galaxies (estimated by the Hubble telescope). Wow – let yourself be surprised and wonder at that!
- Be open to surprise in your interactions with people today. Notice when you think you know how someone is going to respond or what they are going to do. Allow yourself to drop that expectation. What happens?
- At day’s end, reflect upon the surprises of the day and explore how it feels and what might have changed as a result of following your intention to be surprised.
- Write about your experiences in a journal and/or share below.
If you would like to explore this topic further, you might appreciate:
- Iñaki – a video (1:00) of an 8-year old boy responding to the question “What’s the most beautiful thing that happened in your life?”
- An African Elegy – a poem by Ben Okri
- Pale Blue Dot – a video (3:26) reflection by astronomer Carl Sagan.
Enjoy the full eight-day A Grateful Day | A Grateful Year practice.
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After yesterday’s meditation to discover beauty within, without and to affirm it with a resounding ‘yes’, today’s ‘be surprised’ is a delight, and I have enjoyed being surprised all day by the bright sunshine and the rejoicing plants after two days of rain (the cause of the plants’ rejoicing). The skillful organisers may have planned it that way but surprises don’t have to be organised, they’re ready made for the moment.
To me, the biggest surprise of all is that mankind has evolved on this planet and that we are alive sharing all life and all magnificence created here.
The fact that we have consciousness and that we are alive but for a brief cosmic moment is a surprise to embrace. Feeling anything but a wondrous surprise at all of this beauty is to miss its essence and the incredible gift we have all been given.
If I am open to surprise, it means I might not be in control, I might give up control and that feels scary. I do want to be open to it, but I need to acknowledge that scary feeling and still be open to the moment.