You are out there. I am in here. You are where you are and I am where I am. We may be together at times, but you have your place and I have mine. Your experience is not mine and my experience is not yours.
This seems to be the way it works these days. We cannot appreciate all that we have been given, because we do not acknowledge that there are things for which to be grateful. Everyone wants to be self-made and the creator of their world. Though we rely so heavily on the everyday miracles of the universe, we refuse to believe in miracles at all.
If we were to be thankful for everything that was given, we would be grateful for everything that there was. Everything is given.
Should we “give” thanks at every minute? Should we offer something in return for everything that is given? If we did that, would we have time to receive anything else?
There are a few things about gratitude that will make a difference in our lives.
We must be willing to receive. When someone buys you lunch, say thank you, let it go, and move on. If someone offers a compliment, say thank you, let it go, and move on. If you notice everything working out for the better one day, say thank you, let it go, and move on.
There are a lot of good things about the “Pay It Forward” movement, but there is one flaw. When we pay it forward, we are telling ourselves that there is some karmic bank account. We allow ourselves to feel like we have paid a debt. A debt that we incurred without our knowing.
I rather like kindness. If we could initiate an act of kindness once a day, or once a week, without concern for who pays what back, things would be simpler. When you tell me to pay it forward, there are two things involved. My paying. My future. These are not anyone’s concern but my own.
Most people I know receive kindness because they deserve kindness in that moment. A lot of my circle have done so much for others, that they deserve a break every now and then. Any kindness I offer could be considered a payment to them, and not a debt that they took on.
By the way, I do not need the added pressure of “paying something forward”. Neither do you. From the film Talladega Nights, “Don’t put that evil on me, Ricky Bobby.”
This is not to say that we cannot play with the universe. While we do not keep a ledger of our account, we might create events in the world with a spirit of kindness. Kindness is not something that you can pay forward. Kindness is a gentleness and a positive way of life. We create and respond with kindness, but it is not something that could be traded on the stock exchange.
So really, it is that we are one. So also, it is that you are not out there and I am not in here after all. We can fuel the world with kindness. We can create good vibes and spark lights of intervention on behalf of the creator. But, when we feel we have “paid off the debt of kindness”, we are less compelled to do any of those things.
This may sound insensitive, but why would you pay it forward? When I create kindness, it is for the sake of kindness. I got to bless, another got to be blessed, in turn blessing me, and that is enough. We already had the transaction, we both win. We both win and it is done.
Be willing to receive today. Be willing to receive without any hint that you would be able to deserve what you will receive. You cannot repay it, you should not repay it, but let it inspire you to do good things. Let it fuel your spirit of kindness, but do not let it obligate you to create kindness.