We have all seen the image of the stone dropping in the water and the ripples that are created. It is almost the perfect metaphor for how the dynamics of human life work. It reminds us that we are all always influential participants and that we are all ultimately connected. What is not often noted however is when the ripples meet an object like a boulder in the pond, and are reflected back to their source. The wavelength is different as the ripples return, but they do return.
The pond represents your life on planet Earth and you are the stone. You have just ‘dropped in’ for your life and you are a walking radiator. You are radiating energy at all times. It’s called attitude. And attitude is made up of your thoughts and feelings (including the emotions you create and feel). You are surrounded by boulders, otherwise known as ‘other people’. Some are close and some are far.
And then one day, while you are just getting on with your life, Mary walks up to you and ‘dumps’ all her negative energy on you. She aims her stress, her anger, her resentment, perhaps her rage at you. Why you? Why does she target you? Why not someone else in the room? It’s unlikely to be because she knows you will listen, or even because you care about her. Her angst is directed personally at you. Why, because it is likely you gave her the same energy yesterday, last week, last year. You are now getting ‘your own’ (energy) back. You are receiving what you gave out. In that moment most of us find it hard to realize this ‘prior dimension’ of the interaction, as all we can think about is how to defend our self.
And then comes Fred. Fred also walks up to you and ‘fires’ his negative energy at you. And you’re thinking, “Now what is going on here? Fred and I don’t have a history. I hardly know Fred”. This is the moment when it’s useful to be a little enlightened regarding the laws of energy exchange. There are three principles that can shape your response back to Fred in such a way that you do not prolong a negative ‘ripple and reflect’ exchange.
Do not absorb and recreate. It’s easy to absorb and recreate the negative energy of others especially if we take it personally. The best workshop in the world is of course watching television or the movie. That’s where we practice getting sucked into the drama of others and recreating the emotional states of others within ourselves. And then, when we step out into real life, we are well practiced in judging others and generating negative energy of our own towards others.
Do not reflect. As the old saying goes ‘it takes two to tango’. If we send back negative energy what will they do? Likely send it back to us. And what will we do? Send it back to them. And so on. It’s called the ‘ding dong’ of relationship. You ding and I dong! And how long does it go on for? Sometimes years in organisations. Sometimes lifetimes in families. And when things don’t go well in more intimate relationships, sometimes it’s called marriage!
Transform. Each of us has the ability to transform energy. When the child throws the angry tantrum does the mother throw it back? No, she accepts the energy of the child’s mood, receives it, turns it around, and gives back love in the form of understanding, or empathy, or support, or whatever is appropriate. So if we can do it with children why not with big people? In any relationship the one who transforms and sends back positive energy would be called ‘the leader’. That’s what leaders do because they understand that the cycle of exchange will not break itself, it will not transform itself. Someone has to break out of the repetitive and what usually becomes a habitual creation and projection of negative energy.
The dynamic of human life is defined by such energy exchanges. All relationships are simply an exchange of energy. It begins in the invisible realms of thoughts and attitudes and emerges into ‘the visible’ through behavior and interaction. It is sometimes referred to as the law of reciprocity. In the east it is called the law or philosophy of karma. In the west it is sometimes encapsulated by the saying ‘as ye sow so ye shall reap!’ In Newtons world it is described as ‘for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’. Or as many of us say when we watch someone who is obviously on the receiving end of what they have already given out to others ‘what goes around comes around’.
You can see examples of this dynamic in the media every day. In fact it’s the stuff of modern news and documentary programmes. The Palestinians and the Israelis, North and South Korea, China and Tibet, Pepsi and Coke, Real Madrid and Barcelona, Sunnis and Shiites, Protestants and Catholics, the Government and the Unions, bosses and employees are all examples of reciprocity at work. At a more personal level there have been numerous documentaries about ‘neighbours from hell’ in which a relationship of reciprocal violence has gone on for years. The evidence of rippling energies in the pond of life is all around us. It is the ‘ripple effect’ and most of us will have had one or several ‘rippling relationships’ in our life at any one time.
It reminds that we have to careful about the quality of energy we are emanating. Even when it is invisible. It also reminds us to look at what is around us now, and at what is coming to us now. It may be the result in some way or other of what we have given out somewhere, some time in the past. When we understand this unbreakable law of human exchange we begin to understand why things happen, why events happen, why many people’s behaviour happens the way it does. And why history repeats down through centuries. It also reveals to us one the most powerful secrets of success in life.
What is the basis of a harmonious human relationship? What is the absolute minimum, which if it is not present, means there isn’t a real relationship? It is respect. The law of reciprocity reminds us that if we want respect to be the foundation of our relationships it means we have to give it. Perhaps the most frequent mistake in human relationship in the world today is we ‘expect’ to get respect. Especially if we have a so-called position within an organisation or community or family. And when we expect respect and don’t get respect then the most common response is to generate and give anger. And if not anger, then one of its subtler forms such as animosity or resentment. And then we wonder why it comes straight back at us in almost the same form!
When we see life as a pool of rippling energies we can also see how the ‘ripple effect’ delivers justice in the most natural way. It is a justice that cannot be escaped on any level.
What we don’t realise is the ‘ripple effect’ can easily become the ‘cripple effect’. Everything we think and do, not only ripples out into the world, it also creates an impression and leaves a memory within on our own consciousness. If one day you become angry towards someone, you will create a memory of that person intertwined with your anger. This recording within your consciousness is like a non-physical groove that contains a record of how you perceived them, and the energy of your anger surrounding that image. Two days later you see the same person and that triggers the recorded image and the anger. The emotional turbulence inside your consciousness spills into your mind, making it very hard for you to remain positive and communicate effectively with them. Your thoughts and feelings are destabilised and distorted by your anger. In effect you are crippled by your own emotion as you interact with them. Most of us experience this, sometimes many times a day, but we are not able to see that we cripple ourselves, preferring to blame the other person. Which is why we can stay emotionally crippled for a long time and not even realise it. The solution is to realise three important things.
- The other person does not generate your anger – you do – you don’t have to create anger in response to them – restore your awareness of choice at the level of your emotions
- When you create any negative emotion you hurt yourself first and most
- You created the anger towards another because they did not do what YOU wanted, which means it is basically a selfish emotion
These insights are both enlightening and freeing when applied in a practical way. When realised they can heal the habit of becoming upset with others and thereby allow us to connect and communicate positively. When we realise our anger is a selfish emotion that simply drains our own energy, we can choose not to disempower our selves. When we realise we cannot control others actions anyway, we may even laugh at ourselves for attempting to do the impossible in the first place. And when we free ourselves from wanting others to dance to our tune we are able to refocus our time and energy on something much more important, creating and singing our own song, and dancing our own dance.. so to speak!
Question: With whom do you experience the ‘cripple effect most in your life currently?
Reflection: Why have you created a negative emotion around that person?
Action: How do you see yourself responding differently next time you meet – rehearse in your mind first, then act it out in the interaction with others.
Source Credits: Bahrain Meditation Center of Inner Beauty Consultant