Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gratitude as Motivator

Somewhere in my reading and listening, I came across the assertion that the Unitarian Universalist experience often leads to an awareness of how SMALL each of us is in the world and of our total dependence on the Web of Existence. This feeling of smallness can lead to many reactions: fear, wonder, anxiety, uncertainty, awe. In UU's, a common reaction is gratitude. Gratitude to the Mystery of Life, to a Higher Power, to God for making our lives and experiences possible.

Progressive Christianity tends to emphasize this gratitude as a motivator. Christians give back to the world, live in kindness, serve justice in gratitude for the blessing of life.

Some Christians work from a center of fear. There will be retribution in this life or the next if one does not perform good works, live a life of service. Other Christians look forward to Salvation in the afterlife. If one does all the right things, one will be rewarded with eternal Bliss.

All three motivators--Fear, Salvation and Gratitude--can result in the same outcome. I think that's important to remember.

But I like the concept of immediate payback. I get blessings from Life. In gratitude, I say "Thanks" to Life right away by supporting Life and encouraging Life to bloom. I also like being grounded here and now. Being fully present in the miracle that is Life. There is less drama with Gratitude as motivator, but Life hands out enough drama of its own. I don't need to create more.

How's your motivation today?


  1. Hello!
    I am grateful for your words. It reminds me of when William Ellery Channing was asked if he had been saved, he answered to the effect that he hoped he was being saved every day...
    Blessings, BU

  2. Thanks, BU. "Being Saved Every Day". What a wonderful outlook. Adding that to my own acknowledgements of life's gifts.