Şükran: Enlivening with Thankfulness
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation of all abundance.”
― Eckhart Tolie
Every day a new blessing, a unique favour, a new joy comes from God without asking, without desiring. So many of His gifts are known, and numerous others remain unknown. I become silent when I think of giving thanks out of the realisation that we can never provide the thanks that God Almighty deserves.
Thankfulness is a boon. Throughout life, we go through a multitude of mental states. From ecstasy to misery, we take turns in the endless cycle of states. These states define the quality of our life. A state of thankfulness is also a state of contentment. Contentment is a feeling of satisfaction. A peaceful experience far removed from the tiring desire to constantly have more. Thankfulness turns a miserable life into a joyful existence. To paint a faint picture of life’s invaluable blessing, waking up in the morning and breathing the fresh air is a dull affair to most. It takes staggering things to work in our favour starting with the perfect distance between the sun and our earth, the ongoing biochemistry for more than 3.5 billion years. Molecular bonding, photosynthesis, bees, and much more are known and some of which lie undiscovered.
A great deal of knowledge and insight are required to recognise the pricelessness of life. But unfortunately, most people consider life a saga of seemingly endless suffering. The world, to them, becomes a place of punishment stretching from the cradle to the grave. Yet, while life has its lot of struggles and hardships, there is ease and joy. Life is a gift, a priceless one at that. It can’t be bought but only gifted by the Creator. Life is a supreme favour that has been granted to us. The Qur’an puts this truth in perspective using a question whose answer is known to all, “Is there not a time when each human is nothing yet worth mentioning?” (Qur’an 76:1).
The measure of thankfulness can only be in proportion to our realisation of the blessings that we have received from God. God inspires us to thank Him because he has blessed all, although not equally, yet his mercy embraces all creatures in the measure “He desireth”. All partake of His blessings at an individual level, yet most are ungrateful for the gifts received from Him. Thus I conclude that the most significant benefit of thankfulness arrives from the treasury of His Divine mercy and favour. I can never give the thanks that are due to me. I would fall astronomically short. Yet, I feel thankful that God has inspired me from His mercy to be grateful at times that have nothing to do with any trait, merit or quality I possess but entirely from His Divine Will bestowing what he likes on whom he likes.
God is beyond good and evil. He is the first cause, yet I feel God is good, kind, generous, subtle and every kind of goodly name and trait is His. He is gentle at the same time, powerful, and irresistible. He is everything. Being subtle does not decrease his Power, and being irresistible does not reduce His gentleness. He is more significant than anything we can conceive and imagine. Our imagination is subjected to limitations, but God is beyond any limit. He is the Infinite beyond imagination and fancy.
Life might be an uphill struggle for some and a walk in the park for others. Nevertheless, the wise man recognises the merits of thankfulness. In the arsenal of the wise, gratitude is the weapon, and contentment is a shield against the vicissitudes of time. Since life is a priceless gift, developing its possibilities is critical to our overall existential career. Thankfulness aids us in the cultivation of habits that value life, recognise the supreme blessing, strive to make the best out of it and preserve it most suitably.