has been teaching meditation since 1978. He leads workshops internationally, is a founding teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, Calif., and has taught his popular online Awakening Joy course since 2003. James coauthored Awakening Joy with Shoshana Alexander.
How much are you present for your own life? Most of us spend more time in our own inner world—worrying about the future, replaying the past, or lost in fantasy—than experiencing what life is offering to us right now. The present moment is where we can most directly be intimate with our life—touched by beauty and intimacy, while learning through the difficult lessons how to open our hearts.
Research shows that those who practice gratitude increase their feelings of joyfulness, enthusiasm, interest, attentiveness, and energy. Gratitude also activates other positive emotions such as kindness, compassion, generosity, awe, delight, love, and contentment. With gratitude we tend to see what is filling and fueling our lives rather than what is missing. You don’t have to wait for moments of gratitude to descend on you. You can consciously cultivate it through practice. When we pause to notice what we usually take for granted, a new world of possibilities opens up.