The small ripples we create

The other day I was the gym with Joel and since we had just arrived in Sydney we were looking at various different fitness centers to see which one would suit us the best. One gym, close to our hotel had a 7 day free membership. Pretty much from the get-go, it was clear to me, that I wouldn’t be sticking with this gym, although I thought that I could still enjoy the 7 day free membership and then just take off. I imagine this can’t have been a great experience for the manager I was working with there, who’s questions about whether I wanted to sign up throughout my week there, I always politely declined and when she asked me on the last day, I didn’t even have the guts to say I wasn’t going to sign up, and instead I said I’d come back tomorrow, which of course I didn’t. On top of all of this, I’m sure she knew all this time.

Looking at this incident from various angles, one could say that that’s no big deal. No one got hurt, I didn’t even break the law, and not even the gym’s rule of the 7 day free trial. And yet, I can only imagine how the  manager there must have felt. She might have gone home and chatted with her friends, telling them about the foreigner that just exploited the system. And possibly, the next time someone asked for the 7 day free trial, she’ll be a bit suspicious from the beginning, even though that person’s intention is much more pure than mine. That friend she told about the incidents now also has a bit of a bitter taste in her mouth about the world getting worse and everyone exploiting things.

Granted this is just an assumption, this small act on my behalf, has possibly created a small ripple of negativity, impacting that manager’s life and likely many others that I will never know of. It’s like bringing a small amount of negativity into the world, the may feed on itself and keeps spreading, much further than one could ever imagine.

Similarly, I recently read a quote from Headspace co-founder Rich Pierson, where he said:

“Say you slam a door in someone’s face. Maybe you’re not even conscious of it. And that ruins their morning, and they go on into their office and shout at somebody. That’s a tiny moment, but it ripples out. People say, ‘How are you going to improve the health and happiness of the world?’ Well, if you’ve got millions of people being more mindful of tiny moments like that in their day, yeah: The world will look slightly different.”

Karma as a real, graspable element in our lives

To me, all of this, is what I understand under the word “karma”. Karma to me, isn’t some esoteric or mystic phenomenon, where you connect 2 random events with each other. Like telling a lie to someone and then getting ill. It’s much more real and factual. It’s the many small ripples we create. The more doors we slam, the more ripples of negativity we bring into the world and the more of that will affect us negatively.

Conversely, the more positive ripples we create, the more random acts of kindness, where we help strangers, take great are of our friends and loved ones, the more positivity we’re bringing into the world, which will equally affect us and make our lives better.

The more I’ve learnt about the concept of interdependence, meaning that everything is connected with each other, the more I realize that everything we do matters. Every small step we take changes the people around us and ourselves. I believe that if there’d be a way to track all of this, each of these tiny actions we do every day, we could see how someone who is very positive, successful and happy achieved this because of all the good and positive acts he committed in his life and vice versa.

At the end of the last gym session after our 7 day free trial, Joel and I walked back to the gym and he said to me “I don’t normally like to leave things like that.”, I immediately understood what he meant and agreed and felt I could have handled this all a lot better and with much more thought and care of everyone involved. A quote that we often share in situations like this, when we might fail to leave things in the positive or better state that we found them in, comes from Jim Rohn:

“Showing a profit means touching something and leaving it better than you found it.” — Jim Rohn

I feel that that is an incredible concept, how much good could we all create if we lived by it? So far, I found meditation to be a good start to noticing these tiny moments more and taking better care of things.

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