I love hearing a good story, especially one told by a great story teller. I recently read a story that goes like this…
Once upon a time, (shouldn’t all good stories start like this??) a traveler from a far and distant town approached a wise man who was just leaving the city into which the traveler was entering. The traveler stopped the wise man and said, “Can you tell me about the city from when you have just come? What is the quality and character of the citizens here?” The wise man replied, “First stranger, tell me: What were the people like in the last town you visited?” The traveler replied, “Oh, they were a cold bunch of people with no kind words for anyone. It was not a happy town; they were very judgmental and mean-spirited and unwelcoming. I couldn’t get out of that town fast enough.” The wise man paused and then replied, “Ahhh…I believe that you will discover that the citizens of this town are exactly the same.” A short distance farther down the road, the wise man encountered another distant traveler entering the city. And likewise, the traveler asked the same question of the wise man, saying, “What is the quality and character of the citizens of this city, sir?” Again, the wise man replied, “First stranger, tell me: What were the people like in the last town you visited?” The traveler replied, “Oh, they were an amazing group of people! They were outgoing and friendly and welcomed me with open arms. They were unconditionally loving, and I felt like each one was my brother or sister…Oh, I miss them greatly.” The wise man paused and then replied, “Ahhh, I believe you will discover that the citizens of this town are exactly the same.”
I am discovering that life tends to respond to our outlook. It shapes to meet our expectations, which of course are birthed in our consciousness. In the words of author Jon Kabat-Zinn: “Wherever you go, there you are.” In other words, wherever you go on this journey called life, you project your attitude and expectations ahead of you, and life can only be a reflector of your consciousness, drawing to you the people, events, and circumstances that reflect what you expect to find when you get there.
What I am discovering is that what I expect from others is what I get. People will generally live up or down to the level that I expect. I start thinking about what I expect of others, but first I have to start with myself. This is where the deep exploratory process comes in that is often painful. The question I am reflecting and writing about today is this: What is the character and quality of the person who resides within this physical body.
Today as I write and reflect I want to encourage you to also do the same…what do you see?