One summer I sent out a letter requesting personal stories of acts of service that have been provided to you or that you have given to others. The response was more than overwhelming; it was inspiring and has led me into an entirely new direction of personal and spiritual thought. I decided to share some of the perspectives I gained because I feel like writing a “feel good” article.
The many letters that I received, close to over 1,300 now, made me feel — well, “good” is not exactly the right word. These letters touched something deep in my soul. I guess one way to put it –- and I’ve never said anything like this before -– is that these letters renewed my sense of love and appreciation for people in general. And that’s something to write about.
These letters renewed my sense of love and appreciation for people in general
So what exactly is it about these wondrous letters that led me into a spiritual place once again? First of all, nothing beats being reminded that, regardless of the vastness of space in this universe, we really are being watched over and cared for, even in the midst of the worst of our struggles.
Nothing beats being reminded that we really are being watched over and cared for
Somehow this universe has a design we cannot comprehend -– one in which the entire setup is mathematical and orderly, and yet our essence is known. Our thoughts are felt and our prayers are answered. I believed that before I read these letters; now I believe it all over again and on a deeper level.
It is impossible to saturate yourself with letters containing stories of goodness and generosity and not feel a rush of spiritual force surround you like a warm blanket. At times I had to stop reading the letters because I became so emotional. I wanted to reach right through these letters and embrace the authors with a hug and gratitude that they took the time to share a piece of their life’s journey with me and with others. As I sit here writing this to you, that warm rush fills this room again, because it feels so good to share with others such lovely stories about the people who live in -– or near -– our lives.
Of the many touching and surprising insights that I gained through reading all these letters, I was most taken by this fact: it requires so very little to do so much for another person. When someone we know is going through a very difficult time, it’s easy to decide that there is little we can do to help out, especially when it may appear that an individual needs so much.
It requires so very little to do so much for another person
And yet, people who shared incredible stories of loss, of homelessness, or of the death of a loved one recalled that what mattered most to them during these times was the friend who dropped in, for example, to offer support without needing to be thanked for dropping by -– emphasis on “without needing to be thanked.” What people most appreciated was to be in the presence of someone who knew how to give without the expectation of recognition.
Many, many people cited how extraordinarily healing it was to be with someone who was not as psychically or emotionally needy as they were, but had come by simply to be present.
I gave this example much thought, because so many people mentioned it. What is it about not having a private agenda that is so healing? The only explanation that makes any sense to me at all is a psychic one. I have maintained for years that this business about being “gifted” as an intuitive is an exaggerated bit of New Age hype. The truth is that you are all so intuitive that a great deal of your inner stress comes from the fact that you do not, first of all, accept that truth as a fact of your life; and secondly, you don’t know how to manage all of the psychic data that continually filters into your system
What is it about not having a private agenda that is so healing?
How can this be otherwise? Consider how much time the average individual in our spiritual culture focuses on him- or herself. We have become a culture of the “self.” We are forever learning and testing new methods of processing our lives, from rehashing our past to examining our present relationships to fretting about our future. We investigate falling out of relationships and our emotional insecurities so much that it’s become a lifestyle. Relationships are valued, in fact, by whether the “other” can support our endless need for personal growth, which in many cases means an agreement to deal with the “other’s” pain.
We are saturated with spiritual material and with a vocabulary scripted for inner exploration. All of these activate your psyche. You cannot become an internally focused individual without also expanding your life’s psychic field. And a part of that consequence includes an increased ability to sense the agendas of other people -– not just under stress, but also in general.
What is the psychic energy like of a private agenda? Let’s consider that for a moment.
Think about the times when you’ve had an itinerary with someone, when you’ve had something on your mind or in your heart that you wanted to discuss with someone, but were hesitant for whatever reasons. The other person might inquire, “Something on your mind?” And if you deny it because you are fearful of the outcome, that other individual will not believe you because he or she “feels” your private agenda. It transfers into that other person’s psyche as heavily as a sledgehammer, because the vibrations of a private agenda are thick with their presence. The mood between two people with private agendas becomes tense and conversations become uncomfortable, to say the least. A nervous atmosphere descends into the auric field between you and the other and you can feel a separation, because your private agenda is like a black hole draining all the energy in the atmosphere. It’s as impossible to disguise a private agenda as to fail to pick up one.
To be with an individual free of a private agenda now strikes me as one of the most genuinely healing acts we can provide for another person. I never realized that before, but now I have the greatest respect for that act of service.
And here’s another thing that stunned me by its simplicity and power. In organizing all these letters into a presentation that would then become a book, I took note of the examples most commonly cited as acts of service that people are mindful of providing as a normal part of their everyday life. The two most popular were being conscious of smiling at others, whether friends or strangers, and holding doors open for people. Now here’s the other side of that: many people recalled with great warmth that someone held a door open for them “just when they needed to feel respected once again.” Holding a door open is NOT a small act of service; it’s a major big deal. If someone had asked me to anticipate what people would have listed as the most thoughtful actions we can provide for each other, holding a door open would not have been in the running. Yet, as it turns out, that action is an archetypal ritual of respect and for some people, one so meaningful that it renewed their sense of self-respect.
Hundreds of people in these letters noted encounters with homeless people, making a point of giving to a homeless person who approached them for money or food. Of the many regrets that people wrote about — that is, opportunities to be of service that they avoided -– encounters with the homeless was tops on the list. My conclusion, incidentally, is that rarely does a homeless person go unnoticed by any of us. We may not want to be bothered giving, but we certainly notice them. I am all the more convinced that we intuitively sense their energies because we are as intuitive socially as we are individually.
You know that you feel drained after being in places with crowds and that exhaustion does not just arise because of the noise generated by a group of people. It’s because you are saturated with random psychic energy without the skills required to brace yourself for that type of high-voltage exposure. The vibrations run through you like cosmic electricity, causing anxiety, headaches, chronic pain, and exhaustion. Perhaps it has occurred to you that these conditions are the consequence of psychic overload; if it hasn’t, register that as a very real condition to which you are extremely susceptible. And, so, make no mistake: you do sense the stress of people on the street who are ill or frightened and vulnerable because they are homeless.
The other side of that coin is that the most gripping stories were written by people who had themselves experienced homelessness. I have occasionally heard people remark after walking past a homeless person, “That guy probably lives better than I do.” Well, I can tell you from the letters written by people who have endured homelessness that this isn’t the case. Instead, they shared their humiliation at realizing that somehow their lives had led them to a place where the only way they could survive was through begging. “I could not believe,” one man wrote, “that it was me on the street holding a cardboard sign asking for money and food. I could not look anyone in the eye and I prayed nonstop that no one I knew would happen to walk by me. I was devastated.”
How much these homeless people appreciated those who reached into their pockets for change is without measure. And more than just change, they remembered most of all the few people who were not afraid of them -– who, in addition to dropping a dollar into their cup, added, ‘You’ll be okay. You’ll see. You’ll get out of this.” The gift of hope and dignity turned their lives around far more than the money. The money helped them to eat; the kindness helped them to heal. However your internal comfort zone has formulated your view of the homeless, never again assume that they are on the streets because they want to be or that the dollar you give them is not enough to make a difference. And if you cannot provide that type of support, rest assured that your psychic support in terms of compassion and prayer is, on some level, a profound act of healing.
I am sharing these stories with you because for me they represent a profound truth revisited –- and that is that it takes so little to do so much for another person. They also represent a profound truth revealed: that we have come of age intuitively and must leave behind the notion that we are emerging intuitives and confront the reality that we are functioning ones.
it takes so little to do so much for another person
FROM ME TO YOU
If you were sitting with me in my home this evening, I would ask you (tell you, more likely) to assume from now on that you are a highly intuitive individual as well as being emotionally and intellectually alive. It is no more extraordinary to be intuitive than it is to breathe. What you need to focus on now is why being intuitive scares you — and it does. I was originally going to explore the topic of “The Courage to Be Intuitive,” but I decided that it was premature. I needed first to share some insights about how much every single thing you do and say has an impact and influence on the lives of people in your world. I will no longer believe that anything is insignificant or goes unnoticed. We may not necessarily notice everything consciously, but we certainly pick up every bit of energy fallout or positive energy that has been downloaded into our lives. People are as anxious about positive intuitive hits as they are about intuitive debris, and more likely than not, most people can’t tell the difference.
So, if I may suggest a month’s assignment, pay attention to the world around you, but especially to this one truth: People sense your private agendas. They sense the stress or comfort level of your psyche and spirit. And because that’s so, you have an obligation to engage in more conscious dialog with those people. Pay attention to how challenging that is and why. But never again assume that you have any secrets, . . . at least of a psychic variety.
Secondly, although you have probably always done small and thoughtful things for people, I want to tell you that those acts are not small and they are incredibly thoughtful. When you hold a door open for someone, remind your self that it is really a ritual of respect, and while you may say, ‘Oh, I know that,” maybe you didn’t really realize how deeply that ritual is appreciated by the person walking in behind you. Everything you do, say, think, and radiate has the potential of being a force for healing. I honestly could never have said that prior to the arrival of 1,300 remarkable human stories.
To those of you who took the time to write those letters to me, let me say again, you have changed my life and I hope, changed the lives of others through sharing your letters. While I obviously cannot put 1,300 letters into one book, I have tried to represent each one of you in some way through the narrative between the letters. I am so grateful to each of you and to all of you who support my work. I can never thank you enough.