David Steindl-Rast

“When we sense the direction in which our heart is yearning, then we realize: In that direction lies God.”

“I’m not talking about long hours of prayer, long hours of meditation, spiritual reading or studying, or anything like that – because the essence of monastic life does not consist in any of those. Those are all means to an end. The end – in all of the monastic traditions, of both East and West – consists in cultivating mindfulness, being mindful. And “mindful” may be a little misleading, because it sounds a bit much like mind-over-body, but it has nothing to do with mind over or against body. I think “wholeheartedness” is the English word that expresses better what mindfulness as a technical term means; that you respond to every situation from your center, from your heart – that you listen with your heart to every situation, and your heart elicits the response.”

“Gratefulness is the only appropriate response to that which is given – and this life is a given. Every human being can realize that: We didn’t make ourselves, we didn’t even choose this life. If you train yourself to be grateful for everything, every moment, then when you come to something that you don’t like, you realize it’s still given and you have to deal with it. You will be alert to the gift within every gift, which is opportunity. In this case it may not be opportunity to enjoy but primarily the opportunity to do something about it.”

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