One of the science teachers at Irving Junior High in Lincoln, Nebraska liked to remind us seventh graders at the time, to never stop learning and to live one’s life with intellectual curiosity, humility, and gratitude. His “hypothesis of happiness” turned out to be one of the most memorable pieces of wisdom shared with me as an adolescent.
That science instructor was only one of other intuitive, compassionate teachers in public school who touched their pupils with wisdom. Their classrooms were not merely places to teach curricula, but they shared some personal knowledge and wisdom. In doing so, such teachers provided personal, relatable warmth. They showed sincere concern–a vital need for the nurturance of a young person. I feel grateful for their compassionate wisdom that was freely and generously given.
I once read somewhere that gratitude is one of the healthiest feelings we can have. When we express sincere thankfulness for what we have and who are our friends and acquaintances, the more likely we will continue to have things and people in our lives to be thankful for. There is a caveat that accompanies this idea: that is, to be careful not to use gratitude as merely a technique to acquire more stuff or to manipulate people.
The greatest form of gratitude is to feel thankfulness with zero expectations of further compensation and rewards. A person spontaneously feels this type of gratitude without prompting. The purest form of gratitude is not a business transaction. Pure gratitude spreads over one’s consciousness while contemplating nature. It’s a feeling that is beyond words and pictures. The grateful person feels glad to be alive and interactive with the world.
“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.”–17th century intellectual and poet, John Milton
Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. I hope people here in the U.S. and people elsewhere pause to feel gratitude beyond obligatory and socially acceptable forms of thankfulness. I wish for everyone to inwardly feel the sort of gratitude John Milton described.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes 20th century polymath and humanitarian, Albert Schweitzer. “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”