In the summer of 1882, a young artist took a job as a bellboy in a hotel. The salary was $10 a month but he was told tips could surpass $100 in a season. When offered his first tip after helping a guest with his luggage, something within him prevented him from accepting it. “No, thank you sir,” he stammered and hurried off.
Why did I refuse the tip, he wondered. Then suddenly he realized the rightness of his decision by the lightness in his heart. He resolved to be the best and only bellboy who never took a tip. When asked why he did not take tips he replied, “I receive a salary and I love my work.” This endeared him to guests who invited him to dinner parties and yachting trips. Instead of the $100 he might have received from tips, the guests paid over $850 for his artworks. He developed lifelong friends from whom he received many more commissions for painting.
From this experience, the universal law of reciprocal action became a reality to the young artist. He now knew for certain that whatever a man does to or for another, he does to or for himself.
*Inspired from Glenn Clark’s “The Man who Tapped the Secrets of the Universe”
In the midst of a crowd jockeying for space to get on board an orange line train on a chilly spring morning in Boston, Kaylor spots a familiar face. Nico, his college roommate, smiles at the sight of his old friend and moves toward him. In their conversation it comes to light that Nico was laid off a year ago and is having a difficult time coping. “This whole system is messed up, man. A third of the jobs in my department were moved to India, do you believe that? Profit permeates all decision making,” Nico says to his friend.
Sensing the deep frustration in Nico’s words, Kaylor encourages his friend to avoid pessimism. “Imagine a man who is heading to Forest Hills but takes the train going the opposite direction to Oak Grove. Upon exiting the train at Oak Grove, does this man blame the train driver or the longstanding train routes?”
“No … but what does this have to do with me?” replies Nico.
“You have the choice to hop on any of the many trains at the train station but you are then subject to its routes and schedule, you cannot get on the Oak Grove train and somehow expect it to get you to Forest Hills. As with the trains so is it with a man’s thoughts. Avoid the train of pessimism if you wish to get to peace.”
“Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are”
Heading home on the train after a long day at work, Emeka relaxes to the tunes on his music playlist. His eyes were slightly closed as his head swayed gently back and forth to the sounds from his headphones. As the train slowly came to a stop at the next station Anthony, who stood between Emeka and the exit doors, swiftly grabbed Emeka’s headphones and ran as fast as he could into the night.
Emeka quickly overcame his shock and pursued the thief. He had just purchased the expensive Beats by Dre Studio Wireless headphones last month after three months of saving towards it. He ran after Anthony with all his strength but could not catch up to him.
Two months later, Emeka spotted a young man on the street wearing what looked like his stolen headphones. Upon closer inspection, the young man had the same blue sneakers as the man who stole his headphones. Emeka and his friend ran up to the unsuspecting stranger and took the headphones back but not before knocking him to the ground.
An elderly woman cleaning her windows witnessed the event and quickly called the police. She told them everything she saw describing Anthony as the unfortunate victim of two thugs who beat him up and stole his headphones.
“We regard it as just when good is rewarded with good and evil is punished but expect the relationship between cause and effect to be discernible to us. Where the connection is lacking, an occurrence appears to be unjust.”* Only the man who is privy to the threads of karma linked to Emeka and Anthony can judge rightly. Keep in mind that these threads often date back decades, scores, perhaps even incarnations.
As stated by Dr. Richard Steinpach in his book How Can God Allow Such Things? “In all events, our inability to see the connection between cause and effect merely proves the inadequacy of our ability to judge and not the absence of justice.” This does not support abandoning a struggling neighbor to his earned fate but that help be offered without presumption for we are ignorant of the preceding events which brought forth the effects.
Once upon a time there was a large kingdom governed by the greatest of kings. The king so loved his people that he made the realization of their deepest aspirations possible through his laws. The law of reciprocity was the supreme law of the land in which men received in abundance whatever emanated from him. To enforce this law, the king had a plethora of servants who went around the vast realm collecting the thoughts, words and deeds of every dweller. They tended them carefully until maturity and then distributed them accordingly at harvest. In this land, just as a plant springs from the seed so also did man’s circumstance spring from the seed of thought, word and deed.
Two strangers from a far-away land heard about the great king and journeyed to this land of love and prosperity. The first stranger was in awe of the wonder that surrounded him. It seemed to him as though everyone lived for the joy of the other, the greed and jealously so prevalent in his homeland was absent here. Gratitude so filled him that he subconsciously went down on his knees whispering words of thanks to the distant king. The king lived very far away in the capital and most people had never seen him, they only experienced his nature through his laws.
For the second stranger, however, the beauty and abundance of the land awakened greed within him. In a few months, he began running into difficulties; his house collapsed during a storm and his crops struggled to yield fruit. “What kind of horrible land is this…? I don’t have enough food. Where is the love of this king everyone talks about? Does he even exist?” He could not connect his thoughts of scarcity and greed to his unfavorable condition.
He thought of his fellow countryman who was always cheerful and decided to speak with him. “How come everything works in your favor in this country, what is your secret?” He laughed in reply, “Secret? There is no secret, I have simply come to realize that the greatest joy lies in the service of others because the more I help others, the greater is my joy.” The radiance in his face as he spoke these words did not escape the notice of the second stranger. He understood his friend completely and began a new life of service.
Slowly he too began experiencing help on every turn. He realized that he was the cause of his suffering for he reaped what he sowed. The king did not change and his law remains inviolable; the change in his circumstance was attributable solely to the change in his volition. He was glad for this recognition and gave thanks for it.
To him who can wait will come all that is meant for him. Forcing the fulfillment of a wish, on the other hand, is like trying to open the bud in order to get the flower to unfold sooner. Simply plant, nourish and wait.