A friend who is an atheist asks about the strength of faith.
She asks about prayer — how to, not why.
I gave a professional answer, as a counselor, about seeking the wisdom of a local minister or faith leader, because she lives far from me.
As a friend, I offer this humble suggestion: Start your day with gratitude, as soon as you wake.
Think of some small thing for which you’re most thankful, and just say ‘thanks’ to the universe.
Repeat throughout the day, as needed.
No religious beliefs required. No labels.
Current science shows that expressing gratitude — in words, song, dance, just smiling at the neighbors — helps improve mood and outlook.
No matter how troubling life becomes, I’m confident that “saying your gratitudes” will be as uplifting as any formal prayer.
It’s a simple way to ease into meditation, however/whenever that appeals.
It’s an essential element of yoga.
And it replaces despair with hope.
I give thanks for you, my friend, from afar.