The second of life’s great illusions says that using force can provide value to you. The truth being, it is only through giving that you truly receive. All the great masters understood that when you give that which you seek, the seeking ends. You enter into the the dynamic exchange of the universe where giving and recieving happens in the moment. Something one of my favourite authors of all time, Kahlil Gibran understood when he wrote “I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.”
“The love expressed today will last forever. It will follow me when I die as a bond we can all share.” I was driving down the highway towards Toronto with the top down on the convertible. Everyone was looking at the slick red car with what looked like a blue man and lady occupying the seats. Heads would turn as we passed. My passenger, and author of the quote, was a beautiful woman in the final stages of her battle with cancer. It was chilly even for me with my mask on. Nevertheless, she asked me to put the top down to feel the wind through her thinned hair. This would be her first and last drive in a convertible. She knew it. Her husband and children were following in a van behind and in her weakened state she was pushing through this dream day for them. For love. Her comment expressing how love lasts forever is something I haven’t forgotten, nor ever will.
Before her words, I didn’t fully grasp the impact of what we were doing with our Genie project. My primary goal was to take people away from their pain, giving them a bit of fun for a day. But her comment floored me. Would she really take this memory with her? Would it connect us all after she passed?
My father’s death had helped me begin to understand the words from the Song of Solomon, “Set me like a seal upon thy heart, love is as strong as death.” But, in this loving moment, with a stranger only 30 minutes before, I came to fully comprehend that giving, in love, truly does pass all bounds. If you’re looking for proof, imagine a beautiful giving moment shared with a loved one who has passed. It instantly connects you. Maya’s Angelou’s famous quote really says it all: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” And when you give of yourself to another it makes both them and you feel good. Connecting you. This positive energy that you’ve put out into the universe, goes around, gather’s speed, and comes back to you stronger than ever. Like a love boomerang.
It’s not so much that I like helping people in and of itself that spurs me to grant wishes. There’s more to it than that. The primary motivation is more selfish. It comes from the feeling I receive. It’s deeper and more robust than the simple action, although they go hand in hand. There is a mysterious connection established when you help someone. A release of pressure, for both you and them. A beautiful freedom or expansion that takes place. A strengthening.
This may be the reason why helping, even without recognition, can feel more powerful. In this, you are placing the totality of your awareness on that feeling inside. Nothing is being wasted on the result or recognition you will receive. That feeling inside is, for lack of a better word: God. An all-encompassing energy connecting us. I have come to believe our primary reason for being, in its deepest form, is to connect with this energy and carry out its wishes.
How many people will you serve today?
The first way to rise above the illusion of force is to enter into a state of service with everything you do. Set an alarm on your phone that says, “How many people will I serve today?” I do. It reminds me as soon as I wake up to be thankful and express my true nature as a gift to the world. Then immediately after your mediation, actively look to do something for someone else. It need not be a big wish grant or something that costs money. It could be cooking breakfast for your wife and family or going on Facebook and paying someone a compliment. Other great option is giving people 20-second hugs. Ingrid and I do this every morning we see each other and it’s a fantastic way to start your day. Above all else, keep it simple and practise doing what your intuition tells you to do.
Silently wish everyone you see well-being
The second way to master the illusion of force is to silently wish everyone you see well- being. Connect with their eyes as you do it. In essence, pray for them. The wonderful thing you may notice right away is how little you normally truly notice people as they pass you. This turns the tables on that practice by acknowledging their existence as you silently wish them well. Creating a Namaste effect. Again, connecting you.
Another great way to transcend the illusion of force is to practise receiving. Never look a gift horse in the mouth. Giving and receiving should be balanced; to not accept gifts throws off this balance. When someone pays you compliment, take it. Believe it. When someone wants to buy you dinner, say thanks and eat up. This is something a lot of givers have trouble with. If you can relate to this, understand that giving and receiving are two sides of a whole and disregarding one will cut off the current or flow of energy. This is something I struggled with in my spiritual walk early on. People would literally bend over backwards to offer me money while on dream days and I’d never accept it. Then, one day having just finished a wish grant, making my way back to my hotel room, with my mask off and blue eye makeup and red suit still on, someone stopped me right outside my room. They had just seen our day in the nightly news and wanted to give me $50 to help with everything we were doing. This had happened many times before and I would always refuse. And I was just about to make the same mistake when something inside me said “Accept it.” It was a small act, but from that moment on, I began to receive more and more. Until that moment, the Genie was always one step away from pending failure, with barely enough to make ends meets. Now, we are on stable, balanced footing. The primary reason? Being willing to receive what the universe provides.
I hope this story acts as a funny reminder, next time you forget to receive:
“It was flooding in California. As the flood waters were rising, a man was on the stoop of his house and another man in a rowboat came by. The man in the rowboat told the man on the stoop to get in and he’d save him. The man on the stoop said, no, he had faith in God and would wait for God to save him. The flood waters kept rising and the man had to go to the second floor of his house. A man in a motor boat came by and told the man in the house to get in because he had come to rescue him. The man in the house said no thank you. He had perfect faith in God and would wait for God to save him. The flood waters kept rising. Pretty soon they were up to the man’s roof and he got out on the roof. A helicopter then came by, lowered a rope and the pilot shouted down in the man in the house to climb up the rope because the helicopter had come to rescue him. The man in the house wouldn’t get in. He told the pilot that he had faith in God and would wait for God to rescue him. The flood waters kept rising and the man in the house drowned. When he got to heaven, he asked God where he went wrong. He told God that he had perfect faith in him, but he had let him drown. “I sent you two boats and a helicopter,” said God. “What more do you want from me?”
To see through the illusion of force:
- Enter into a state of giving the moment you wake up. Put an alarm on your phone that says, “How many people will I serve today?” Immediately after waking up, meditate then do one thing that will help someone out. It need not be a big gesture. A simple smile or hug could be enough to change a person’s life. Don’t underestimate the pow- er of your love.
- Silently wish everyone you see well-being.
- Practise receiving. Only giving is an unbalanced relationship sure to crack. If you don’t tend to both aspects of these complimentary activities, the currency of life will become stagnant and broken.
Tomorrow we take our next step into your dream life when we discuss the illusion of secrecy. Now, go out and do something nice for someone. You’ll thank yourself for it.
PS. For a more complete vision on this topic, check out my TEDx talk on overcoming adversity through giving: TEDx: The Genie Within