We so often dismiss our little insights, our moments of priceless joy and precious union with life.
Sunday one week ago I had experience I feel is worth sharing. I was out and about in the Clifton area of Bristol and I happened upon a piece of writing on a sign- the kind of writing that you may often see on the back of public toilets-graffiti-esque. It said: ‘Smiles: 20 offered, 3 returned’.
I recalled a piece I listened to recently from Eckhart Tolle’s a new earth. To quote directly on the section entitled abundance from chapter seven: ‘Who you think you are is also intimately connected with how you see yourself treated by others. Many people complain that others do not treat them well enough. ‘I don’t get any respect attention, recognition, and acknowledgement’ they say. ‘I am being taken for granted.’ When people are kind, they expect hidden motives. ‘Others want to manipulate me, take advantage of me, nobody loves me’. Who they think they are this: ‘I am a needy little me who’s needs are not being met’. This basic misperception of who they think they are creates a dysfunction in all their relationships. They believe they have nothing to give and that the world and other people are withholding from them what they need. Their entire reality is based on an illusory sense of who they are. It sabotages situations, mars all relationships. If the thought of lack, whether it be money, recognition or love has become part of who you think you are- you will always experience lack. Rather than acknowledge the good that is already in your life, all you see is lack. Acknowledging the good that is already in your life is the foundations for all abundance. The fact is whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world. You are withholding it because deep down you think you are small and that you have nothing to give. Try this for a couple of weeks and see how it changes your reality: Whatever you think people are withholding fro you: praise, appreciation, assistance, loving care and so on… give it to them… you don’t have it… just act as if you had it and it will come. Then soon after you start giving you will start receiving. You cannot receive what you don’t give. Outflow determines inflow. Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you already have, but unless you allow it to flow out, you won’t even know that you have it. This includes abundance. The law that outflow determines inflow is expressed by Jesus in this following image. ‘Give and it will be given to you, good measure pressed down, shaken together, running over will be put into your lap.’ The source of all abundance is not outside you, it is part of who you are. However, start by acknowledging and recognising abundance without; see the fullness of life all around you. The warmth of the sun on your skin, the display of magnificent flowers outside the florists shop, biting into a succulent fruit or getting soaked in an abundance of water falling from the sky. The fullness of life is there at any step. The acknowledgement of that abundance all around you awakens the dormant abundance within. Then let it flow out. When you smile at a stranger there is already a minute outflow of energy. You become a giver, ask yourself often- what can I give here, how can I be of service to this person, this situation’
I decided to start smiling at passers by as I have had the phrase ‘Outflow determines inflow…’ in the background of my awareness for some time now. I counted smiles given as anyone who I made eye contact with and whom I felt received me visually for more than 1-2 seconds and would have registered that I was smiling at them. My ratio turned out to be: 20 smiles given, 10 received. I was delighted.
It was immensely enjoyable. I noticed a few things. Firstly, I was lighter hearted on my walk. Secondly, I was much more receptive to people- in the direct sense of noticing their aliveness, their authentic presences, their colours and contours and also emotionally. It seemed like I picked up their underlying emotion like osmosis.
Later that day I was reflecting on this emotional sensitivity that I felt was heightened in me with this little experiment. The following understanding may sound over-simplistic but it is what came to me. We have linguistic thought- the inner voice, do that takes the form mainly of words, chatter, old music records stories, lists of things to etc. Also we also have emotional thought: the way in which we can intentionally tune into and give attention to our emotional energy and that of those around us.
This came as quite an insight to me as it felt quite freeing to tune into what emotion I wanted to feel and also to feel open to receiving the emotional energy of those I smiled with, spoke with or interacted with that day and in the days since.