Have you ever gotten the giggles so bad that all you could do was laugh it out? You know the sort of laughter I’m talking about, right? The kind that leaves you exhausted, belly sore, draped over your chair, and tears streaming down your face? All pretense of professionalism or propriety gone from your countenance as you reach into your pocket for a hanky to blow your dripping nose?
Well, that was me! Even worse, I was walking into a coffee bar with three high powered spiritual people who were convening at a world peace summit for interfaith missions. We were in a rural town called Cedar City smack in the middle of Utah’s semi-arid desert region. All four of us were traveling to different parts of the southwest and had agreed to meet in this small berg to discuss matters of spirit, faith, and unrest in the world.
Our orders at the counter reflected our spiritual paradigms, the monk ordered tea, the Mormon ordered hot chocolate, the New Orleans psychic had a complicated blend of dark roast with cream and sugar, I settled for the house coffee, black.
As we seated ourselves at a quiet back table, I looked around and the title of this newsletter struck me, A Monk, A Psychic and a Mormon Walk into a Bar! The humor of the situation caught up with me and I was in a fit of giggles. So much for being seen as impressive, collected or dignified by my companions. As I dabbed at my eyes with a napkin and shared my perspective through gasps for air, my tablemates all joined into the laughter although, with much more reserve.
The point of this story is simple. The four of us talked for 2 hours straight about the way we could help people of different paths, cultures, and religions find peace within themselves as well as bring peace to others.
Here were our conclusions:
Assume each person you meet is doing their personal best.
The monk reminded us that each soul on this planet is fighting their own internal struggle of some kind. He recommended that each of us acknowledge this at some level in our daily interactions with each person in our community. As we move about our days, take time to tell people what they are doing “right.” For instance, the grocery store cashier who checks your eggs for you or handles your bread with care. For the person who holds a door open for you as you schlep your four bags into the office.
We humans strongly desire real connection with people. These “kind helpers” are safe people in that moment to make a deep connection by looking them in the eyes and smiling, (if your cultural context allows this form of expression, reminded the Buddhist monk) and letting them know in that brief moment that they matter to you! Bless them in some way through internal prayer, a verbal “Bless you” or “Thank you” and make sure your thoughts, words and body language have the energy of your heart behind them.
Secondly, the psychic’s request was for each person to monitor their own thoughts. Over 80% of the thoughts her clients have were negative. She would watch over time how this negativity would worm its way into their words and destroy the lives they were trying to build and the relationships they were experiencing.
She took the platform the monk was suggesting and added that by our focus on our own internal battle of thinking the best of life, people and situations; this would steer our thoughts to more positive venues and allow us some rest from our own heavy negativity. It would allow us to be more creative and give us the contentment and peace each of her clients sought.
Control your thoughts and you’ll create the life you desire
Lastly, the Mormon stated how much he sees people every day making the effort to be “good.” Working every day to bring the world to a better place. He stated that the largest thing he saw from his flock was self-doubt. His main item of interest to share with others was:
Trust Yourself to Make Good Decisions
As the four of us finished our hot beverages and contemplated how best to move forward with our communities, we all decided the best way to move about this world and integrate with vastly different populations was to make the assumption that people just need someone to tell them they are doing good. Once you have it established in your mind and express that through your words and behaviors that you see people doing good things and you catch them doing good things, the next step for your spirituality is to determine how long you need to spend in meditation to get your thoughts where you want them to be.
We ended the meeting the same way it began, with laughter. We had come full circle. The best way to change the world was to change ourselves. The best way to change ourselves is to change our thoughts.
The best way to change our thoughts is to meditate on how we wish to change our lives (a.k.a. the world).
The four of us, The Monk, The Psychic, The Mormon, and the Clown wish you a wonderful day, week, year and life. We want you to live your life the best way you know how and send your particular brand of blessings to all.
Shanti, Namaste, Amen, Aho!