If you could only reach out...
Creative Commons License photo credit: @ly$ in wonderland
Yesterday I learned something really obvious. When I have a realization which post-realization seems so damn obvious I take it as a good sign that it is Truth. I’ve found the problem with such things is that when I tell others about what I’ve learned it is so damn obvious that those people behave as if they already aware of what I’m talking about before I said it.


What has really caught my attention in this regard is the fact that, even if moments before, a person was exhibiting behavior or expressing an opinion that is in direct contravention of an “obvious” realization, once I tell them about a particular “obvious” realization they still behave as if they already knew it before I said it. I’ve experienced this strange phenomena a number of times in recent years.

This has led me to consider what exactly is going on. To me there appears to be certain truths that are self-evident. However, an intellectual understanding of Truth in my opinion is useless if it is not integrated into our self in terms of informing our behavior and our perceptions. Many people say many things but what they really are, the state of their being, is expressed by what they do, by their behavior.

Realizations Alone are Useless
I’m not claiming some sort of superiority in regards to anything. I’m prone to bouts of stupidity, selfishness, arrogance, ignorance and so forth. What I am suggesting is that sudden moments of clarity and realization are useless unless integrated and used to continuously inform the state of our being. If we don’t grow from our realizations we might as well have never had them in the first place. It seems apparent that even though we may know things on an intellectual level if we haven’t integrated such things then we haven’t really learned anything.

So, yesterday as I was leaving the boxing gym, tired and sweaty, I passed a man I have never met before. I had noticed he’d been quietly working away the whole time I was there and his boxing looked good. On a whim I reached out my hand to him to both introduce myself and to say goodbye. He shook my hand and told me his name.

The famous father of hypnotism Milton Erickson developed a technique whereby he could place another person into a hypnotic trance through a handshake. He used a handshake because the shaking of another person’s hand is a highly conditioned and unconscious response to the outstretched hand of another. When someone offers their hand we take it with ours without thinking.

So what’s my point? It is this: If we reach out our hands to others they will respond in kind. And I’m not just talking about literal handshakes.

Ever Feel Alone Despite Being Surrounded by People?
A while ago I took several trips into Sydney’s central business district with a friend who had studied psychology at university. He was especially interested in sociology. It is a rather bizarre experience to stop for one long moment in a big city while surrounded by a flowing tide of humanity and notice that the vast majority of them are acting as if they were alone. It feels like everyone is doing his or her best to ignore everyone else.

The silence at one particularly crowded bus stop was beyond strange. Eye contact is a definite no-no. Even smiling or saying good day to a passer by is met with puzzled looks and sometimes outright suspicion. If this describes you then I hope you know you’re walking around with a big flashing neon sign on your chest. It says “LEAVE ME ALONE!” But do you really want to be alone? Fundamentally speaking I highly doubt it.

So many people wish they were more social, wish they could have more meaningful interactions and expand their circle of friends. The standard behavior of people on a city street is in direct contravention of the obvious knowledge that we will get back exactly what we give out.

So there we are, surrounded by people and somehow feeling alone. Wishing someone fun and interesting would somehow magically take an interest in us and do what we have rarely if ever done – reach out. It just doesn’t work that way. Remember we will only get what we give. If I had of not shook that man’s hand yesterday he would not have shook mine. It is simple as it is obvious.

I don’t think there are too many people who would not enjoy having fun and engaging human interaction with a novel person on a regular basis. Such things energize us and brighten up our day. For this to happen you must be the change you want to see. You must do for others what you want to have happen to you.

The best things in life such as love and happiness are only ever increased when they are given away for free. The more of them you give the more you have. That’s another obvious truth for you. Did you know that already? Really?


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