One day an experiment was conducted in an elementary school to observe the development of human behaviour. The children in the school were divided into two groups by age. Children under the age of 6 were grouped on one side of the massive gym, and all the children over age six were grouped on the other side. No one knew what was going on. Were they going to watch a play or listen to another boring speech? The kids didn’t know.
I never cut my own grass, but imagine for a minute that I decided I would. Imagine that I went and got myself the best lawn mower on the market. I brought it home. Beautiful red, really powerful electrically powered programmable machine. I plugged it in, positioned it at one end of the lawn in my backyard, turned it on and left it there to do its job, while I went and lay in my hammock taking a nap. What do you think would have happened? Now, I don’t know how your imagination works, but in my head, I can see this monster of a lawn mower trampling over my flower beds, and just spinning around in circles without actually doing what I wanted it to do.
I had never thought about this very important subject until my very first psychology class. First day of class my professor walked into the class room with a glass that had only a little bit of water in it.
As she raised a glass of water, we expected she would ask the typical “glass half empty or glass half full” question. Instead, she smiled and asked, “How heavy is this glass of water I’m holding?” Ok, so it’s not about perspective, I thought – what could it be about?
Anyone who has a toddler will relate to the fact that going shopping with them on Christmas eve when the snow is knee deep is not exactly a fun time. My 17 year old was a toddler once, and I’m sitting here remembering Christmas many years ago, when my toddler helped me learn an important law of attraction lesson.
I had just come home after a very long day because I wanted to look after a few things knowing that I would be gone for a few days. Got home and realized that there were still a few important things that I absolutely had to get that night. I had already picked up my son from the day care so I had no choice but to bring him with me. It was something I dreaded.
Getting a toddler to put on snow pants and get bundled up adds another fifteen minutes to your trip on each end. It always takes longer to run errands with kids in tow. If it was just me, I would have zipped in and zipped out of Walmart in no time at all. But with him I would have to take his stroller and I did not relish the idea. Any way off we went.
One day many years ago I came upon my mother sobbing her heart out. I have never forgotten that day. I hugged her and asked her what was wrong. She said she had been praying and that was why she was crying. I didn’t understand. “Why is praying making you cry?” I asked her. She said “because I am praying from the bottom of my heart”. And then she said something that has been with me forever, it has been at the heart of my search for God. She said, “all prayers are not the same, you have to pray so that God listens”.
At the time, I interpreted it to mean that you have to pray from the bottom of your heart. But as I saw my mother’s life unfold, I knew that there was more to the mix. She always prayed from the bottom of her heart; often she sobbed real hard but her life was tough and she was mostly a very unhappy person, and I knew that very few of her prayers were answered. I could not understand it.
I had an interesting discussion with one of my neighbours this morning. I was walking Stella like I always do, and we always say hello to Tony. Stella likes him and always wants to stop for a petting. He’s gutted his house and is slowly renovating it. Today he had a friend with him. We stopped and got talking. He told me that the place had been rented and he owned another rental property a few doors down. “That’s wonderful” I said, “it’s a great business to be in”. "No" he said "its really bad, especially these days". And then he started…he started telling me all the things that are “hard” about renting and all the “problems” he has had over the years. He was really on a roll. I stood there thinking “alright – I need to get away from you, or I need to butt into your rampage of complaining to make you stop”. Trust me, I wanted to walk away, but he’s a nice guy and he just wouldn’t understand that, would he?
It has been really interesting to watch the preamble and then the elections in the US. The heightened emotions and unwarranted stress – is it over yet? Who knows? People think that who they elect makes a difference. But in reality the well-being that we pray for can come to us regardless of who gets elected. Because the granter of wishes, the Source of all abundance, well-being and prosperity is that which we call God, the Universe, Source, Bhagwan, Allah – that higher power that orchestrates the movement of the planets, the rising of the sun, the changing of the seasons. Is there a government in the world that can do that?
“Thank God it’s not raining – we are going to have a wonderful day”, that’s what the neighbour across the street from me was saying to her little girl when I took Stella out for a walk a few days ago. We shouted pleasantries to each other and went on our way. For the rest of our wonderful morning walk, I thought about that beautiful little girl and what she was learning from her mother. Then I thought, that’s exactly what I learnt from mine, and then I thought that’s pretty much what everyone’s teaching out there – no wonder the world is such a mess!