Between You and What Really Matters
Do you see your life and what you do with it as “purposeful”? With all that is happening around our planet and between nations it’s easy to perceive our individual selves as insignificant and, in the process, get lost in what we interpret as the minutia of our own personal existence. Six degrees of separation is a theory based on the idea that every human being on the planet is six or fewer steps away (by means of introduction) from any other person. This means the world is smaller than we may imagine and that who we are and what we do with who we are matters to others. When we pause and see how interconnected we are we’ll realize it is impossible NOT to have an effect on others far beyond our knowing. While we may never know what effect our life has on others it doesn’t mean the effect we do have is insignificant.
I share a personal story with you because it illustrates how this awareness recently became a reality in my own life. Occasionally I receive kind notes from people who have read my books. Often they share their story of how something they read made a difference in their life. As an author I am always humbled and honored to receive such communications. Having said this, recently while zipping through a cache of backed up emails I opened one that especially caught my attention. This note was from a gentleman who had just read, The Art of Uncertainty – How to Live In the Mystery of Life and Love It, and he was telling me how the book affected him and that he was sharing it with some of his friends. Of course, that brought a smile to my face. He went on to share how grateful he was that the book had been translated into Persian (Farsi)…and that is what caught me by surprise. While several of my books have been translated into various foreign languages, I had no idea one had been translated into Persian and–as it turned out–neither did my publisher.
At first, I recoiled a bit with the news because it meant that the book had been published in Iran without consent of the author (me) or my publisher. Of course this was Mr. Ego (aka, mini-me) taking it personally. Then, in a heartbeat, a subtle and peaceful voice whispered in my ear, “Yes, but think of the ripple effect–there is wonderful news here–consider the lives that you would have never otherwise touched who will be affected because this has happened.” That deeper voice never fails to deliver when I am willing to hear it. The moral of this story is, this isn’t just about me connecting with people on the other side of the planet in a manner I could never, in a million years, have made happen on my own; it’s about you and the fact that we are all ripple makers. That is why we are here!
Have you ever thought of yourself as a pebble? Metaphorically speaking, on the “pond of life” that is exactly what you are when you consider those who are affected by the ripple effect of your thoughts, deeds, and actions. You might even be a “rock” turning ripples into waves. Just consider the lives you touch during the span of a day, a year, or a lifetime, perhaps without ever realizing it. If we are all separated by only “six degrees” or less, maybe it’s the Universe’s way of helping us realize our oneness–our interconnectedness–and the “ripple effect” is the connective tissue that ties us together.
The takeaway is you really do matter; everything you do has an impact on someone, somewhere, even if you don’t know them. I thank my new friend in Iran for sending me an email making me aware of the Persian translation and to the translator for honoring the intent of my words. In the process they have become “pebbles” sending out ripples that continue to touch other lives. The same goes for you as well: It could be a stranger on the other side of town who is affected by a kind word you extend to your neighbor who, in turn, extends an act of kindness to that person. Then again, it could be a person on the other side of the planet who is affected via the ripple effect initiated by you when you post that special picture or story on Facebook that opens hearts and puts a smile on everyone’s face which they then “share” with others, and so on it goes…
So, the question we must ask ourselves isn’t, will I make a difference in the world? The real question is, what kind of difference will it be? May the ripples you send forth this day be guided by the impulse of loving-kindness, selflessness, non-judgment, compassion, and joy. This is what our world needs now and you are the “perfect pebble” to make some mighty waves.
Dennis Merritt Jones has been involved in the human potential movement and the field of spirituality for the majority of his life as a teacher, author and keynote speaker. His most recent award winning book is “The Art of Uncertainty ~ How to Live in the Mystery of Life and Love It.” Jones is also the award winning author of “The Art of Being ~ 101 Ways to Practice Purpose in Your Life” and “How to Speak Science of Mind.” Dennis writes a free weekly MindfulPurpose E-Message available through his website, www.DennisMerrittJones.com, and is a regular columnist for the Huffington Post.