I’m sure everyone has noticed that when a rock is thrown in water, circles form around the area where the rock entered the water; ripples right?! Have you ever noticed though, that once the ripples reach the shore, they start moving back in the opposite direction, towards the middle of the lake? Or, have you ever noticed that when you throw two rocks close to each other, their ripples cross? Obviously I have too much free time on my hands!
Let’s try, for a moment, to picture ourselves as these rocks. Let’s imagine the ripples as the impact we have on people around us – even people we do not know. Do we tend to shove people out-of-the-way, or do we offer a newly available seat to someone else? Do we judge (or envy) the beautiful woman that just walked by, or do we smile at her, acknowledging her beauty? And with our loved ones, do we take them for granted and dwell on the past, or do we offer our love unconditionally? In the end, whatever we choose to do, or think, has an effect on you and on those around you. Even when sitting still in meditation, we have an effect on others as well as ourselves – or maybe it is the other way around.
I really enjoy looking at Zen Buddhist gardens for this reason. Even though the rocks are still, a ripple effect is still represented, drawn in the sand. It tells us that whether we choose to stand still or whether we move around a lot, we create ripples around us. Sometimes, we even have the opportunity to see them, but whether we choose to make a positive difference or not, is entirely up to us.
So try it! Notice how your behavior affects others. A quick and easy one is smiling. When I see someone smiling or someone smiles at me, I usually smile too, even when I do not know the person. Then, smiling makes someone else smile and their smile may make someone else smile and so on, and so forth. The catch is that it also works very well with hate, anger and fear unfortunately. So what will you choose your ripple effect to be today?