In my life I have come across many brilliant and beautiful ways to change or evolve in oneself, yet I often wonder how I can apply these ideas and insights into my life. There have been countless books atop the bestseller’s lists telling me how to live in the moment, and I’ve read a number of them, but it hasn’t really taken hold.
I think part of the difficulty is in seeing or sensing any results. We can only know what is happening to us, we can’t know what might have happened if we had acted differently. In the same way, we see ourselves as being so separate and isolated from others, we don’t acknowledge the effect we have on those around us, just by the energy we give off.
I’ll give you a recent example from my life that clearly showed me how this works. I was at the dentist. Now I’m never in a very good mood for a dentist visit, and this day was no exception. I was only going for a cleaning, but I always felt a sense of “tsk, tsk” coming from the hygienist because of my poor flossing habits. She always made me feel like I was being scolded (not in specific words, but in her tone, in the energy she gave off) like a mom might do. It happened every time, to the point where I didn’t want to even go.
But there I was, willing to face the Muzak, mouth wide open, the suction drying out my cheeks, and the hygienist digging in with her picks and blasters. I knew I had a good half hour, so I decided to experiment. I began to think about the hygienist and how she made me feel. Then I switched direction and thought that she probably did have children, and that she was, in her way, showing me that she cared about me and the health of my teeth, in the same heartfelt way as she might care for her own children.
I followed this thread, sensing immediately how it had softened me inside. And I thought about the work she was doing, not very pleasant work, but she was serious and thorough, as you would want someone in her position to be. So I began to think of the service she was providing, and the healing that she wished for me (and all the clients, I’m sure), and less about the style she used to convey it. That style might come from somewhere in her life that I can’t know anything about, and it obviously triggered something in me. I began to see us as two psychologies colliding, yet below the surface the intentions were good.
As she finished her work and asked me to rinse, I felt very warm inside toward her, very appreciative. And then a miracle happened. She put her hand on my arm and said, in a very warm tone of voice, that she didn’t mean to give me a hard time, and that she had cleaned everything up so that my mouth was in great shape. Our eyes met and what passed between us was the true connection of a human to a human.
I consider this a miracle because I had not said a word to her, my mouth was agape and filled with instruments and fingers. I had only been thinking, but what I had been thinking changed everything. It changed me, and it changed her. She absolutely had picked up on the kind thoughts I was having toward her, and she had felt and understood them in a way that spoken words would have made awkward and clumsy. It was a pure and honest transmission.
Now when I interact with people, whether friends or strangers, I try to practice this. I think upon the fact that they are human too, with their own world of struggles, and that I just want to witness them in a way that confirms their existence and their unique beauty.
Of course I forget sometimes and have to catch myself from going down some well-worn path in my brain, but when I do get back on track, the small miracles that I see happen around me always make me feel brilliantly alive.
We are what we think about, and it affects our experience of the world. Try this. It works. All it requires is taking a step outside of yourself, and becoming an aware participant in the greater world around you.