Everything you do in your life has thousands of (mostly) unseen ripple effects down the road.  This is not a very complicated theme to understand, but many people seem to miss the true significance of this simple truth and the implications it has on our lives…

If you help a neighbor today, smile at a stranger on a street, or give your all in whatever service you provide to help make the world a better place, the implications of this act are far more than many of us dare to imagine.  

For instance, maybe the stranger you smiled at feels better about themselves or remembers a little more we are all interconnected, and he or she pays it forward and is a bit kinder to a few people he or she meets later that day than he or she would have been had you not smiled.  Let’s even say that with that particular stranger, that is the only effect it has on them and the next day they completely forget the whole thing (this is highly doubtful, at least on a subconscious level, as every act of kindness helps to remind people of our connection to one another and is healing on some level, but just for the sake of this example let’s say he or she moves on in their lives and the next day forgets all about you smiling at them in a genuine way).  Even with the stranger forgetting the small act of kindness you did even happened within twenty four hours, it is too late. The ball is already rolling downhill, the ripple effects are starting. Because those three people that the stranger treated just a little better and more kindly that same day also noticed (at least subconsciously) how he treated them kindly, which then makes them a little bit nicer later that same day to some of the people each of them meet and interact with.  Then those people also do the same thing, and before you know it, without you ever realizing it, that one smile of yours has led to 10,000 unseen smiles. This is karma in action.

Of course, if it is true in the positive in this case, it is also true in the negative.  Every time you hold onto anger and resentments with a person, you do not honor your word, or you treat somebody you interact with in a less-than forthright and open-hearted way, the same string of ripple effects start to go into effect, except this time causing more suffering and alienation in the world.  If you doubt this is true, think about a time somebody treated you badly and it affected you. How did it impact you the rest of that day (or week)? Maybe you did not let it affect you by treating other people outwardly bad, but maybe it made you just a little less present in some of your interactions that day as you kept thinking back to what happened, and this prevented people from feeling as connected with you as they would of otherwise.  The ripple effect begins…

The good news is for the negative side, there is a panacea, a universal cure that can stop the ripple effect (at least locally if not the whole chain)…which is forgiveness.  Forgiveness reminds you that nobody can steal your joy, your peace, and your Love without your permission. Forgiveness reminds you that you are a light in the world and you are here to undo the negative ripple effects on this planet and exponentially increase the positive ones.  Forgiveness lets you use other people sharing their wounds with you as a chance to develop compassion (without taking on the actual wound). Forgiveness is the great redeemer.

There is a great movie I watched when I was a young teenager called “Pay It Forward” which illustrates the ripple effects our actions have beautifully.  In the movie, a boy comes up with the idea to do three unprompted acts of great kindness or generosity towards a complete stranger. This person then, as an act of gratitude for whatever is done, is told not to pay it back but to “pay it forward” (i.e. do three acts of great kindness and/or generosity for three new people).  In the movie it had to be “big things”, like bailing a stranger out of jail with your own money or leaving a stranger in need a new BMW car. The end result of the movie was the boy ended up dying young as a martyr of a new movement that was sweeping through the world.

While obviously it is great to do “big things” that help people, overall it is  the little things and the day-to-day stuff that we can do that is going to have the biggest difference.  After all, most of us only have so much money to buy a stranger a new BMW, but any of us can smile many times a day, help somebody with directions in a more patient and eager to help way than people are used to, or volunteer a little time every week to a good cause.  

What are some implications of the ripple effects of all actions in terms of what it means for how we should live our lives?  Here are four basic, yet often not followed ones:

  1. Do your best today, and everyday
    1. On a soul level, if your soul were to have a bank account, every day is worth tens of thousands (or more) of dollars to that bank account.  Every tiny action (a small deposit) quickly starts multiplying thousands of times over, and the same with every negative action (withdrawal)…Where do you want your soul bank account to be in five years?  You can be a billionaire or broke (and that has nothing to do with how much money you have in your physical bank account, a billionaire in dollars may also be a billionaire in “soul dollars” or they may be dead broke on the soul level even with material riches.  Same with the materialistically “poor” person)…
  2. Don’t procrastinate
    1. If you need to make changes in your life, if you need guidance or clarity, if you need healing, don’t procrastinate with what I call “Some day syndrome”…”I ‘ll move towards that dream job I really want to have but am afraid of “someday”” or “I will forgive such and such a person when they…” are two examples of this.  Everyday you are making deposits worth tens of thousands of dollars (or withdraws of similar quantities) from your spiritual soul level bank account. If waiting to make changes was going to cost you $1,000,000 of actual physical money, very few people would procrastinate on…Yet on a soul level this is exactly what many of us do (remember, according to Near-Death experiences of people who have died and gone to the other side you don’t take with you your material riches, but you do take with you the Love and knowledge you gain here when you die, and this is worth more than all the money in the world could mean to you once you die).  We play small and make excuses for reasons we can’t make the changes we know deep down we are feeling guided to make.
  3. Live honestly
    1. Honoring our word develops trust and kinship between people…dishonoring does the opposite…Whenever possible, honor your word and be honest with yourself (and others).  If you absolutely need to break your word, apologize and do your best to mend the situation.
  4. Forgive and let the past go
    1. As I mentioned earlier, the quickest (and perhaps only) way to stop the negative ripple effects already in effect in our lives to forgive…When we forgive we let go of the hurt from the past, we let go of the negativity surrounding whatever perceived injustice happened in the past…it does not change the past, but true forgiveness allows the ripple effects of the past to stop reaching into the present, and replaces them with peace, Love, and alignment with the Now.
  5. Live gratefully
    1. Live each day with gratitude for the chance to make a suffering world a little easier to live in, a little lighter.  Rejoice in the small connections and acts of service and kindness you give others. Gratitude is a gateway to appreciating life which will allow you to spread Light and goodness in the world progressively without even having to try at it very hard as it will more and more naturally come to you.