- The Facts:It is possible to have profound experiences in some of the most mundane encounters with others.
- Reflect On:How would your life change if every interaction you had with other people was infused with the conviction that we are all one?
It’s one of the things I like to do, as the receipt is being put in my hand: offer a grateful ‘thank-you,’ and look in the cashier’s eyes for an extra split-second and smile, and see if they are ready to share a spark of divinity that crosses between our souls.
Sometimes they are, as happened to me recently at a ‘No Frills’ express lane. I looked at the girl as she handed me the bill, she looked at me, and then came the recognition in her eyes, in her smile, whether conscious or not, that we are connected, that we see each other, that we are grateful to be alive to have this kind of experience. Magic.
Sometimes the cashier is not ready, and my smile is met with a furtive glance, back to the next matter at hand, the next customer in line. No matter. No effort to connect is wasted. Some of the energy still gets through and gives the person a lift.
Sometimes it is me who is not ready, and the smile from the cashier awakens me into appreciation. Imagine, they are the ones working a long, tiring, repetitive job and they take a moment to wake ME up!
When the cashier is efficient, friendly, light, then my appreciation for what they are doing pours out into that moment. When the cashier is slow, tired, fed-up, it is not so easy for me. But at times, I am prepared to take the opportunity to help reconnect that person to the vitality of life. Have you ever eased a busy, ragged, overwhelmed cashier into a moment of divinity with a warm smile of empathy? Have you ever made a frowning, wrinkled face light up? Try it! This may be the best experience of them all.
I’m just grateful to have found this practice. It did not come naturally to me. I was always shy, cautious, pensive, ‘in my head’. It was through years of watching a few trusted friends, seeing how they interacted easily and openly with strangers, that I started to try to adopt a new approach.
I had long been a student of philosophy and spirituality. But if the study of esoteric matters remains on the pages, in the words, in the concepts, simply a tool of the intellect to make one feel smart, evolved, superior, then the whole point is missed, not only about spiritual knowledge but about life itself.
At first, the practice for me was about trying to feel connected myself; it served to make me feel more comfortable in the world, especially around other people. As I continued to practice, and expand that practice into other situations, not just with strangers but with friends, loved ones, enemies, it really broadened and deepened my understanding of spiritual principles which I had previously fancied myself an expert in. Perhaps one of the most important realizations I’ve had through all this is that true knowledge is humbling. If one’s knowledge base serves to inflate one’s sense of self-importance in the world in comparison to other people, then it is not true knowledge.
The Unbearable Lightness Of Being
Our lives on this planet are fraught with difficult emotions: fear, sadness, anxiety, and many others. One of the great healing salves is to endeavor to demonstrate to others the knowledge that we are all one. Most likely, you have had this kind of experience in some situations in your life, like smiling at a cashier or hugging a loved one. The key to a great life is to work to expand this experience into all our interactions with people, to overcome the barriers of separation, not only in others but especially the ones within ourselves.