“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”
--John Muir (Scottish-born American Naturalist, Writer, Founder of the Sierra Club, and “The Father of the National Park System,” 1838-1914)
One of the most significant discoveries during my lifetime has been the gradual understanding that at the most basic levels we are all inextricably interlinked. Long thought to be nothing more than an occasional curiosity concerning the behavior of elementary particles, there is more and more evidence that this interconnectedness is constantly present in our lives.
The work of people like the late David Bohm, Rupert Sheldrake, Dean Radin, Ervin Laszlo and many others has gradually begun to put these essential ideas on a much firmer footing. That’s not to say that every scientist in the world accepts these concepts: they certainly do not. But science grows by slow steps. Each observation adding to the one before, like grains of sand being heaped onto a giant ant heap. Sometimes things turn out to be wrong, and then it’s back to the drawing board. Or the ant heap gets re-arranged.
But rather than argue about the theory, I would like to suggest that you try an experiment. It is particularly effective if you are in a close relationship with another person.
If you are at work or away from the other person for some other reason, spend every free moment during the day thinking kind, loving thoughts about the other person. Feel a sense of gratitude that they are in your life. Do nothing else. Don’t specially call, email or IM them. Just do the thinking and feeling about them. And when next you see them, have a look at their initial reaction toward you. It’s extraordinary how often people find that when they next meet up, the person who’s been thought about in this way is particularly warm and loving.
I don’t recommend doing the converse, and thinking mean thoughts about someone and waiting for the fallout. But if the other person is tired, dispirited or distant when you meet, it’s a good idea to see if your thoughts about them may be factored into the equation.
Clearly there are a hundred things that will determine how people react toward each other. Is it a new relationship or a mature one? Are people tired or distracted by work or children? Has there been an argument, illness or trouble with relatives or neighbors? The list is almost endless.
But I would suggest that you try this experiment for yourself and see what you come up with. If you send them, I’ll publish any interesting observations, with the usual guarantee of anonymity.
And by the way, there are some rigorous scientific experiments being conducted right now to test this phenomenon.
“Your life and my life flow into each other as wave flows into wave, and unless there is peace and joy and freedom for you, there can be no real peace or joy or freedom for me. To see reality--not as we expect it to be but as it is--is to see that unless we live for each other and in and through each other, we do not really live very satisfactorily; that there can really be life only where there really is, in just this sense, love.”
-- Frederick Buechner (American Presbyterian Minister and Writer, 1926-)