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Coming from Gratitude

Redwoods Meditation

Coming from Gratitude


An amazing gift: when I gave the dharma talk at the Common Ground Meditation Center last Friday night, I opened with the Redwoods meditation. During the reception, a young man came up and thanked me heartily for bringing the Redwood into our beings as I did. He had lived in solitude for a month in top of a Redwood and then spent 6 more months with other tree people in a forest. Nick and I are going to have tea together this week and talk about what kind of a piece we can put together and take into the community. Exciting! It was such an honor to present your teachings, Joanna, to about 110 people in a 2 hour sit and dharma talk. The center director told me it was one of the most moving dharma talks they've had. So, just another little story for you about how your work is moving through the world. Love, Kaia

Download Redwoods Meditation PDF


Gratitude Practice

Coming from Gratitude
  • Write for a copy of "The Thanksgiving Prayer"*
  • Make a selection of 6 of these life forms (e.g., Sun, Waters, Fish, Plants)
  • Get everybody into small groups of 3 or 4 people
  • Leader reads one thanksgiving greeting: For example: "We give thanks to all the Waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength. Water is life. We know its power in many forms--waterfall and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the spirit of Water."
  • Then, in the small groups, each person describes one precious thing that they cherish about that life form, sharing how they experience it and what it means to them.
  • The sharing is done popcorn style (in no particular order) within the group.
  • When all have had a chance to speak (3 minutes should be enough) everyone repeats together the traditional words: "And now our minds are one."
  • After a pause, go on to the next life form, and repeat all steps.
*Originally published as Thanksgiving Address: Greetings to the Natural World by The Tracking Project, P.O. Box 266, Corrales, NM 87048

The Haudenosaunee Protocol

Coming from Gratitude
This is the protocol which the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois Six Nations Confederacy, used when opening their treaty meetings. Please stand. You may make the following gestures mentally or physically.

We offer salutations and respect to all present at this meeting
and to all who will be affected by it.

We brush off the chairs on which we sit--
to make a clear space for a meeting of minds.

We brush off from our clothing any debris picked up on the way--
to clear our minds of extraneous matters.

We wipe the blood from our hands--
to acknowledge and apologize for any hurt we have inflicted.

We wipe the tears from our eyes--
to acknowledge and forgive any hurt we have received.

We take the lump out of our throats--
to let go of any sadness or disappointment.

We take the tightness out of our chests--
to let go of any fear or resentment.

We acknowledge and pray for guidance
to the Great Creator Spirit of All Life.

Ho. So be it.

(This version is adapted by Ralph Metzner)

Gratitude Open Sentences

Coming from Gratitude
This process is done in pairs, according to instructions given for Open Sentences in Chapter 7 of Coming Back to Life (p. 98). Allow about 30 minutes. This is a highly pleasurable activity, and you may well want to invent your own open sentences. I usually use four from these five, and in this order:

1. Some things I love about being alive in Earth are…

2. A place that was magical (or wonderful) to me as a child was….

3. A person who helped me believe in myself is or was….

4. Some things I enjoy doing and making are….

5. Some things I appreciate about myself are…