Recently I tried this experiment with a group of young couples. I told them to write a ten minute thank you journal during the middle of my class. As the participants dutifully wrote down, one skeptic casually looked out of the window. When I urged him to write he said matter of factly that these things don’t work. I reasoned for a few minutes but then left him alone and focused on the others in the room.
Ten days later I received a call from the same cynical friend. He profusely thanked me and was emphatic, “It works!!” he said. I asked him to share more of his realizations. He explained how it was a drag writing down the good things others had done for him but he tried nonetheless. Initially his mind protested because he felt he had done so much for others and they hadn’t reciprocated to his kindness. It took him a great deal of courage to break the self-obsession trap and really think about the niceness of others. Slowly, he recalled one person’s kindness and wrote a few sentences thanking him. Then another and within ten minutes he was hooked to the exercise. He wrote on for another forty five minutes and ended up thanking even the sun, rain and the trees for what they give him abundantly daily. He said he never realized in his twenty eight years of life that he owed a thank you to sun and the trees.
As the exercise ended he got emotional; he even began to see those who did wrong to him as his benefactors. It was overwhelming, he confessed, to thank those who had harmed him. But he could see he belonged to the universe and how in the larger scheme of things, we are all connected and forgiveness helped him feel divine.
Still feeling uninspired? Maybe you really are starved of love. You could do with a little of self-love. Write for ten minutes something wonderful about yourself. Appreciate yourself. See the difference.
Making it happen – Attention in Association
We need good friends. The association of sincere people helps us check our motivations. It’s like being packed up together to face the enemy from within. When we reveal our struggles to another friend or confess our shortcomings and remain attentive in the association, we stay humble and the sinister plot of the enemy is busted.
Attention to a friend means gently being present, with all our senses, to the act, thought and sound we are interacting with. An example: a friend talks to you excitedly about his new job. If you are present; if you calmly allow your senses to receive his joy, concerns, or fears, he’ll feel connected to you. If however you are planning a response to his chatter or worse, wondering when he will keep his mouth shut, he’ll soon feel disconnected.With the right kind of people around you, if you cultivate these keys, life will be beautiful. The mind and intelligence will be compelled to toe your line of thoughts and not the other way round. With the inner world in control, the enemy outside will be quelled with ease.