It is only human to worry. We worry about what is important to us - are our children driving safely? Will they get good grades? Will they live a happy, satisfied lives? Are our parents healthy and safe? Will we be successful in our jobs? Will this or that project be completed on time? …and on and on. Yet almost everything that anyone worries about has not really happened yet. We all worry about the future –usually with a glass half-full or even mostly empty perspective, and in the process, we sacrifice the now, and enjoying each precious present moments of our lives.
There are, of course, some people who by nature are predisposed to look at life’s glass and are joyful that it is half full, but even those happy-go-lucky people sometime face despair and see it as half-empty.
If the ever-expanding field of various forms of meditation is any indication, we, as human beings, cannot really stop worrying. The good news is that we can make our lives a little better, by redirecting our thoughts to be more in the present - the happiness we get by holding a loved one; the laughter and joy that envelops us during the late-night conversations we have with our friends and families; the sense of fulfillment of one’s soul when viewing a beautiful piece of intricate Islamic artwork; the feeling of joy one experiences when wearing beautifully designed modest clothing that reflects one’s values.
“Persist in gratitude, and you will slowly become one with the Sun of Love, and Love will shine through you its all-healing joy” Rumi
Being in the moment is an integral part of being thankful. So how does one give thanks? and make thankfulness a natural deterrence against those nagging worries that lurk in the back of our minds?
As it turns out, there is not much to it. It is as simple as monitoring one’s thoughts and developing the habit of frequently focusing on the things we have now, and how blessed we are for having those things.
Of the many specific techniques to choose from – praying, meditating, and according to experts, keeping a journal, to record one’s blessings.
What makes keeping a journal so effective is the actual act of writing things down. And if one can perform this act at the same time every day, it further improves its effectiveness. Just like developing any habit, the start will be slow, but if one continues to do this for at least thirty days, the transformation of one’s thoughts is said to be remarkable.
As the Quran says, “Anyone who is grateful does so to the profit of his own soul ” (31:12)
And in the Bible “I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” (Psalms 9:1)
Being thankful and grateful comes from a place of abundance and riches. If your heart is full, and your mindset is of growth, nurturing and joy; thankfulness and gratitude will come naturally to you.
The effort it takes to be thankful and give gratitude is miniscule when compared to the peace of mind and heart full of joy we experience.
‘Shukr’ (Thankfulness) – original artwork to help you remind of the new habit to develop
Blog and artwork by Zulfiqar Rashid