What a phenomenal experience we had last week, when more than 500 people gathered to hear about the latest scientific studies and firsthand stories on the benefits of gratitude! Scientists from fourteen studies plus other presenters discussed everything from the chemical effects of gratitude on the mid-brain to its benefits in a range of relationships.
One gem I took away with me was a story from Nipun Mehta, founder of ServiceSpace, a four-year-old company that does projects related to volunteerism, technology and gift-economy. He spoke about the Karma Kitchen, a restaurant that has been going strong for four years now, where diners discover someone else has already paid for their meals – and they choose to pay for the diners who will come after them.
Mehta talked about the change in attitude he has seen when people move from transaction to trust. The movement goes through four stages, from gratitude to mental stillness (awareness and reflection), on to a sense of interconnection with others, and then to “pay it forward” behavior.
“We start with ‘We are enough; we have enough,’” said Mehta, describing the ethos that initiated and continues to nurture Karma Kitchen.
It’s thrilling to see people rediscovering the truth of “enough” and joyfully paying it forward for others to receive goodness. We may be used to hearing this message from our faith or religious life, but when it comes out of scientific studies and repeatable everyday experiences, it reinforces our conviction.
Your partner in ministry,