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Friday, July 10, 2015

Living Beyond the Five Senses: Recognizing Each Other

Once the shift occurs toward spiritual transformation then a wonderful realization unfolds; that is, that there are countless others who are also on this path. We begin to recognize the transformation in other people by the way they speak and act, which is often revealed in the smallest of gestures. We may see a man in the grocery store that is patient and kind with an elderly customer in a way that we have never noticed before. We may see a woman at the workplace that will not participate in gossip but rather, observes quietly and does not feed it with her energy. In another instance, there is the recognition of something different when a stranger in a restaurant offers a table and chairs to a couple in a most kind and loving manner. We begin to see, know, and feel a world within the world that was once out of our awareness because when thoughts change, then a different world becomes available. Not only do we see a difference in the world but there is also a stirring to participate in it and perhaps understand it.

The changes may also bring about a need to seek out others who want to connect and discuss spiritual matters in a deep and profound way. The shifts that occur in the mind and the body become a force of attraction but also a tie that bonds us to others who are similar. The quality of relating to others also changes so it becomes about caring at a deep level. It becomes about helping others, giving of the self, making positive changes, and less about what is wrong with the world. The connection to others slowly moves away from gossip, complaining, or focusing on one’s own life conditions.
In many instances, people begin charitable work but caution must be given that it is not undertaken in a self-serving way; to impress others, to get a promotion at work, or to make one look “better” than others who do not participate in charity. As spiritual changes occur, charitable work shifts in the mind so the attitude becomes more about others as part of the self. Caring about others becomes about connecting with an open heart and eventually, the sense of self dissolves and there is only a sense of connecting. The gain is the connectedness itself.

Another great insight is that every person that comes into one’s life, no matter how minimal the interaction, is there for a reason because they have attracted each other for a reason.   There is something important to learn or to share with each other, and this is part of the grand design of life. Each of us is part of a complex and integrated system where we attract to us exactly what we need and the people we attract are perfectly in tune with those needs. Holding this in the forefront of the mind means that there are no bad bosses, no bad friends, no bad spouses or lovers, no betrayal, and no need for resentment in relationships. There is only learning so the deepest level of growth can occur. We can stop seeing differences in culture, skin colour, race, age; all the things that are used to separate ourselves from each other which are usually rooted in fear. Fear that someone will have more resources, more money, or a job we may want. This thought pattern is usually learned at a young age which teaches us to separate ourselves from others and keep others at bay. This is simply a thought and when challenged, can be replaced with a new thought that is not fed from fear.
As a deeper sense of connection develops then the need for recognition also decreases. We do not need to tell people what we have, what we have done, or to be set apart from others with praise. We do not need to self-promote in any way, either directly or by putting others beneath us in some fashion. In fact, it becomes clear that all achievements in life are connected to countless people and when a success happens, it’s because many people have made a contribution to that success.

If the CEO of a company donates a large sum of money to a charity it’s because someone hired him at a job which paid him a very good salary. The salary could be paid because the company produced a product or service, which likely involved the efforts of many people which in turn, each helped to produce the generous salary. This includes the people who work at producing the product one step at a time, people who answer phones, keep track of accounts, speak to customers, relay information to others in the company, and on and on it goes. The donation to charity carries the energy of each and every person involved.

Similarly, a doctor can help treat illness because she had people who gave her the opportunity to attend medical school, had very good teachers who gave of their time and skills; then there are the numerous individuals who built hospitals, clinics, medications, equipment, and all things that support the practice of medicine. A doctor does not exist as such alone. The connection to people is infinite and once this is realized, we can see that the boundary between the self and others really only exists in the mind.

As we expand our spiritual awareness and our consciousness then we also come to see the domino effect of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. What we do affects everyone around us and spreads like one domino hitting another, perhaps farther than we can even imagine. When a parent is verbally harsh or condescending to a child then the negative influence of that is carried with the child out into the world. That child then goes to school with the reverberations of those thoughts and feelings who may act that out by hitting or name-calling other children. The recipient of that negative behaviour then carries this home and acts out the pain with siblings by hitting, belittling, or name-calling. The original negative thought planted by a parent into one child continues to spread out to more and more people, which will eventually become rooted in the minds of entire neighbourhoods or communities as that child grows into an adult with those thoughts.

The original form of negative thoughts and feelings can also be subtle such as using damaging words or constantly correcting someone; which is reminding them that they can do nothing right. It can also be passive aggressive by purposely not helping someone in order to let them struggle, or withdrawing support in some way so they can suffer. Negative thoughts and the pain they cause are all the same in the end, no matter what form they initially take. Every act that hurts others spreads like a cancer in ways far greater than people can even imagine when they are not aware of what every human act does on the planet as a whole.

The other side to this notion is that all positive thoughts, feelings, and behaviours also spread through a family or community like wild-fire. When a woman helps one person in an unexpected way then that person carries an uplifted feeling which can spread to others. When a man helps a stranger get gasoline for his stranded car then the recipient carries with him a little bit of upliftment when he carries on with his own life. Perhaps he tells the story to others and that uplifts them too. In turn, they feel just a little better for having heard about the deed and they bring that home to their family and friends. When there is recognition of how far reaching every single word or act spreads to others, then there is the realization that when one person acts with a positive word, emotion, or behaviour then the whole world gets a little better too. Every thought, feeling, and action matters on a global scale.

Teresa L. DeCicco, PhD