Bhante Buddharakkhita was about to start the evening when he noticed that the Christmas lights were on in our room. Bhante asked that they be left on, and the main lights turned off, so as to mark the time of the year which, to those of us in western society, is Christmas. Such things, that may seem not to be an issue to us, are to others a trigger for anxiety and stress. As this was the case for some in our audience, Bhante explained that to run for a lifetime from such things does not make them better or resolve them. Sooner or later you have to face such triggers and where better than in a group of like minded people who are all learning to meditate. Bhante then further explained that to help resolve such issues in his own life he would reverse the process by acknowledging the event, and trigger, and instead of allowing it to stress him, he would tell himself to relax. In this way he managed to resolve his anxiety and simply relax.
Bhante continued his talk, returning to his subject of gratitude, prior to leading the group in a meditation with gratitude foremost in mind. Bhante used the image of floating in a swimming pool to relax and extend his gratitude to the universe before moving to a breath meditation.
After the meditation Bhante used his ample wit and humour to continue his subject of gratitude. Bhante encouraged us to look for gratitude in all situations and used, as examples, his experience in teaching meditation to a group of children of various ages. In doing so we can resolve situations that make us anxious or annoyed.