How do you go about your day? What kinds of interactions do you have with other people? Do you spread negativity or positivity? Each encounter we have with another person is an opportunity to spread our light to others.
Our attitudes are contagious and we often don't notice when we've caught a good or bad attitude from someone else. These then spread from one person to the next. Something you do in the morning could have an effect on someone tonight. Wouldn't you rather it be something that makes them feel good?
Several years ago, a clerk in a gas station said something that made me feel like I had been hit over the head with a stick. When I got to the register, I might have been in a slightly bad mood. Also, I always liked to get in and out of places like that as soon as possible, so I wouldn't try to talk to anyone or really make eye contact. As I paid, he said, "You could smile," with emphasis on the 'could.' It was a little bit of a risk on his part -- some customers might tear his face off. I was taken aback...and I smiled. I didn't mean to appear grumpy, but I can see where I did. More importantly, that made me feel a little better and made me think I should pay attention to how I'm affecting those around me.
We've all encountered the opposite kind of clerk. We remember how they were a jerk and maybe tell others about it. But if we complain to others, we are spreading bad feelings, too. So when you are out on a lunch break and find Mr. Rude at the gas station, don't come back to work and tell everyone about him. Break the chain of negativity and don't let him affect you and others.
You can help others feel better, too. It is OK to smile at someone as you pass them in the hall at work, for instance, or say something nice to people you meet. There was a new lady working in our cafeteria and I noticed that she seemed unhappy and didn't want to be there slinging food. But I figured she wasn't thinking about her effect on others. One morning, I asked for my usual sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit and she looked a little sour again. She said, "Sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit, anything else?" I couldn't resist so I replied, "Just a smile." There was the stick over the back of the head. I saw it jolt her just a little and then she smiled so I smiled and said, "Thanks!"
In many near death experiences, people report a "life review" where they saw their entire life all happening at once. Some say they also saw it through the eyes of other people and they felt what it was like to be the other person in all their interactions. And they saw how those actions rippled out to infinity. They saw that we are all connected and that when we hurt someone else, we are hurting ourselves. Stop and think about that for a minute, I'll wait.
So it seems to me that at the moment of death, you will get to feel all the good and all the bad things you did to others and how it affected the entire world. Isn't that reason enough to follow the golden rule?
Spread your light everywhere you go. Do something that you think will make others feel a little better. Smile. And remember the ripple effect.
Based on the Daily Thought from October 11, 2012: The Ripple Effect