Yesterday, I heard columnist David Brooks on the radio describing a moment he experienced as he watched his children playing in the yard:

“It’s one of those moments when life and time feel like they’re suspended. I had a feeling of being overwhelmed with gratitude. Reality sort of spills outside its boundaries. You experience a joy that’s greater than anything you ever feel at work. You are sort of alerted to a higher joy and you want to be worthy of such moments. That’s a moment where gratitude and grace – unmerited love – lifts you up and inspire you to try to be higher.” (David Brooks, Aspen ideas Festival)

He goes on to speak of “people who radiate an inner light,” who “glow with gratitude and grace” and describes being seated beside the Dalai Lama. Brooks’ 50 minute talk outlines commitments one can make to reach for such light. It’s the kind of thinking worthy of a New York Times columnist and Yale professor. I cannot aspire to such heights.

I hope it’s simpler than that. I imagine that a daily practice of gratitude and joy can polish me smooth.

In the same way I return my attention to the breath when I am meditating, this month I aspire to return my attention to gratitude when I notice is has strayed.

I laugh at myself because of this orientation to the future: hope, imagine, aspire… All tilted toward the not yet. Why not just drop into gratitude and claim higher joy now?