June 3, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 66°F


Figure of Soul: Gratefulness is a power prayer

One sentence told by a wise man named Meister Eckhart is enough to encapsulate the importance of gratitude: “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” 

I did not really appreciate the power of gratitude. I feared the universe would take back what I was grateful for to balance the good and bad — the ups and downs. So, I thought if I was always grateful, bad things would happen to me. As if establishing this belief of mine, whenever I expressed my gratitude, whether in silence or out loud, the opposite would happen. For instance, if I said, “I am thankful for today’s warm weather,” it would be all snowy and cold a day later. When I say, “I am grateful for my laptop that connects me with the creative world,” as biased as I could be, the laptop would start lagging. 

After having multiple “incidents” like these, I made myself fall into a life without gratitude. This experiment of living was, in simple words, harsh. Every day went like I was the least favorite child of nature. I would find things that troubled me, like thinking about how I was dissatisfied with my productivity before going to bed. And as a result the next morning, I would wake up fearing that the day would not go as I had planned. Essentially, I tried to take full control of my life to dodge the universe reclaiming what made me happy. However, in doing so, there was nothing left for me to feel grateful about, or I thought so. I stood against the flow of nature. I forgot the universe is much greater than me. I did not know the seemingly “worse” things like failures and rejections bring something I could be grateful for — because that is how the universe guides us to our lessons. 

Gratitude means giving full power and your trust to the universe instead of trying to force it to make something happen. To be grateful is to recognize that we are just part of a much more complex and interconnected universe. By trusting the universe to work for us, we are giving up the need to control everything. 

But this trust does not come for free. I think the universe tests us to see how we react if we receive and lose all we want. When you receive the good energy of the world, will you help the universe expand and share it with others? In the face of losing something that brings you joy, will you embrace gratitude and look forward to the lesson it holds so that you can avoid missing out on an even more important opportunity? 

Appreciating something symbolizes that you are affirming your love for the universe and yourself. Because you are also part of the universe and contain it inside yourself, too. When love and trust bloom from the same root of gratefulness, your actions follow, and you flow with nature without holding yourself from happiness through fears and worries. The same energy attracts itself. When you focus on what brings you joy and positivity, the universe will mirror your energy and bring more of that. In other words, your life flows where and how your energy goes.

FIGURE OF SOUL is a column written by first-year psychology major Ninjin Tumurbat (she/her) that analyzes metaphors. Contact her at ntumurbat@ithaca.edu.