How to Increase our Level of Appreciation

Appreciative vs Unappreciative
[14:7] Your Lord has decreed: “The more you thank Me, the more I give you.” But if you turn unappreciative, then My retribution is severe.

Therefore if we can increase our ability to be appreciative we can reach new levels of Submission.

Exercise #1 – Make a list of some of the things that you are thankful for.

  • Having two legs and the ability to be able to walk without any difficulty
  • Being able to take a walk and view the ocean and all the beauty that God has created. There is no reason why nature looks so amazing. God could have made nature look ugly, but just looking at the sunset and ocean is awe-inspiring.
  • Having a family for support and love
  • Having friends to talk to and support each other
  • Health and wellness
  • Balance. Something so simple as crystals being misplaced in your inner ear can cause your brain not to be able to tell up from down.
  • The companionship and love of a dog
  • Spouses that God pairs us up with to grow in righteousness
  • Children that teach us selflessness and compassion
  • Freedom of religion – to be able to practice our religion without being persecuted
  • God’s guidance
  • Life experiences and the ability to be able to analyze and learn from our life experiences through the knowledge of the Quran.
  • Analyze our life experiences under God’s light
  • The ability to be able to see all the colors in the world
  • Trees that produce us with wood, food, shade, paper, etc.
  • Rain that provides fresh water
  • Fresh warm water that allows us to enjoy showers
  • iPhone, iPad, iPod for apps and communication
  • Being able to help others through charity
  • Knowing God and having a book from our Creator that explains so much to us
  • Knowing what it means to be appreciative vs. unappreciative

Exercise #2 – Pick one thing in your life and imagine how different your life would be without that one thing

This is known as the George Baily Technique from the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”. This approach is different in that as oppose to thinking about the items we are thankful for where habituation can blind us to the value in this approach we imagine that we no longer had that item and what life would be like.

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/12/03/the-george-bailey-technique/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewe4lg8zTYA

Some of the examples that we discussed were the following:

Feelings: Imagine having no feelings. No feeling of love, care, joy, enthusiasm. Or no sense of feeling to pain or pleasure. Congenital Analgesia is the rare condition where someone does not feel physical pain. Most people who have this condition historically did not survive very long, because they would injure themselves and never know that their injury has caused an infection that needs to be treated. Pain is an indicator to us to gauge our behavior without, pain we lack the feedback to make good decisions about our health.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/18/magazine/ashlyn-blocker-feels-no-pain.html?pagewanted=all

Oxygen. The atmosphere is made up of 20.95% oxygen. This is the perfect ratio of oxygen to sustain life. If oxygen in the atmosphere increased by one percent then the likeliness of combustion increases by 70%. Meaning that our ability to put out a fire would be 70% more difficult and the likeliness of a fire erupting increases by 70%. Think of how difficult it would be to put out a forest fire under this context. Reversely if the amount of oxygen was diminished by just one percent then the ability to start a fire becomes 70% more difficult and this would have a major factor in regards to our ability to harness fire for our technological advancement.

Teeth: Our teeth are marvels of God’s creation. If we didn’t have teeth we would not be able to enjoy the satisfaction of biting into a potato chip, or steak or bowl of cereal. So much of our experience eating involves our ability to chew the food and it’s texture. Without teeth food would taste bland and many foods would be inconsumable.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/26/health/mary-roach-on-studying-food-and-how-humans-eat-it.html?pagewanted=all

Optimism: Imagine if you had no hope and were unable to think positively about the future. How depressing would life be. There is no comprehension that times of hardship or adversity could be turned around and that there is a good reason for everything.

Rain: Imagine if we had no rain. That all water would need to be piped in from the sea, rivers and lakes. How much of the world would no longer be habitable. How much harder would it be to grow the basic foods to sustain life. There would be no rainforest and most the life on land would be wiped out.

Spouse: Spouses bring contentment and tranquility. Without them we would lack this in our life and would not have someone to share these experiences with.

We need to be appreciative and look at life in awe and never turn unappreciative:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsOo3jzkhYA

29 year old hears sound for the first time. Are we this appreciative for the ability to hear?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99E9fDgZZuE

The awe of witnessing a double rainbow. Are we this in awe at God’s creations?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxmmvHsDeuI

Little girl witnesses rain for the first time. God be Glorified.

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