Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Unseen Influences: gratitude and appreciation attract good experiences

This article was created as a counterpoint to the one about distress signals attracting predators. It could be that these phenomena are two sides of the same coin: perhaps it is only people who draw predators to them when they are feeling terrible who get good experiences after expressing gratitude and appreciation and giving out positive signals.

I still remember a time many years ago when I felt delighted with a children’s book I found in a discount bookstore. It was based on the Pinocchio story; it had lovely coloured pictures and simple text; it was a great bargain. I gave the book to someone as a present for her little boy. She told me later that it was ideal because he had not been very interested in learning to read, but he loved Pinocchio and this book had inspired him to want to learn to read so that he could understand the text. I didn’t know he couldn’t read very well nor that he liked Pinocchio, but perhaps the universe did!

I was thinking about this a week or two later when wandering through a street market. I happened to look down while passing a toy stall, noticed a children’s book that looked interesting, picked it up and immediately decided to get it. It was similar to the Pinocchio book but much better, because many Disney characters were in it and it cost half as much! The small boy and his mother loved the pictures and the amusing captions, and so did I.

I remember putting my hand on a big, blanket type shawl that was hanging from my door while telling this same women how soft it was, how much I liked the colours and how little it had cost me; a few days later, by chance, I found an even better model  that cost half as much.

It seems that if we genuinely appreciate what we have, the universe will find something even better for us, ideally twice as good at half the price!

A few years later, I found some African animal toys in a street market; even though I wasn’t earning anything at the time they were so cheap that I could afford them. They were very well made: the rhinoceros was especially realistic. I found a few other suitable gifts at very low prices in the same area. I told myself and someone else how lucky I was to be able to afford Christmas presents despite having no money.

A few days later I got some unexpected temporary work, which boosted my bank balance considerably. Not only that, but the mother of the little girl the animals went to said to me, “How did you know?” When I replied “Know what?”, she told me that she had bought an African jungle house with a straw roof for her daughter for Christmas, and the animals all fitted in. The little girl put them to bed inside the house every night.

On another occasion, I was sent on a one-day course for people who were looking for work. I was amazed when they gave me a small expense allowance. I felt really grateful for some unexpected extra money, no matter how small the amount was. Soon after that, I was put on a three-week course where again I got a daily allowance. I did confess that I walked there so had no travel expenses and brought my own food so did not spend anything on lunch, but they said I was entitled to this money anyway. I felt very lucky to get it.  

Ever since I was introduced to the idea that gratitude and appreciation are a kind of currency with which we can buy good experiences, I have tried to feel those emotions as often as possible. Unfortunately this is much easier said than done: depression, exhaustion, worry and other negative states, not to mention a broken heart, can cause emotional paralysis.

Sometimes we are sabotaged by attacks by other people, knocked into a zone where no good feelings can exist and we are at risk from predators. It is always possible to have grateful and appreciative thoughts though: intention is everything in the other dimensions.

Unfortunately, the good experiences I have had resulting from good feelings are far outweighed by the bad ones resulting from feeling terrible.