Over 60 years ago, Yogi Maharishi Mahesh predicted one percent of the population practicing transcendental meditation would measurably improve the quality of life of a whole country’s population. Studies seem to bear this out, and the practice has been continually evolving. Research documented a 16 percent reduction in crime and homicides, and the scientific community agrees the effect is real.
During COVID-19, a group of five New England hospitals employed the “Heal the Healers Now” program, using transcendental meditation to help relieve stress and anxiety in health care workers.
Transcendental Meditation might be a bit much for some, so baby steps, right? Simply getting our thinking correct can do wonders. Zig Ziglar, the eternal optimist, once said, “Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” But it really takes more than just positivity. It takes sitting down, making a plan, and writing it out. Let’s explore that idea.
Living an inspired life requires balance in all areas: business, home, social, physical, mental, and spiritual. These are really like the limbs on your tree of life, so to speak, so if nothing else, draw a stick tree and make these six areas your main branches. Then you can hang your important items on as smaller branches and leaves. Now you have the start of something that you can look at and review each day. If you add to it each day, by the end of the year you will have your own forest of dreams.
Bobby Drinnon, one of my mentors, and I spent a fair amount of time discussing the difficulty of remaining balanced. I can recall one day when he challenged me to try something new: “For the next month, love everything, every situation and everyone that you find yourself exposed to with as much heartfelt love as you can muster.” I admired and respected Bobby as much as any person I have ever known; I accepted. After all, how hard could it possibly be to have a month of total love?
Well, I found it to be quite stressful as I dealt with the conflicting emotions of my normal behavior contrasted with full-time love. After all, what do you project to the driver in front of you who is going too slow or the one who is tailgating you, literally trying to push you off the road? I was lovingly exhausted before I made it from his house to the main road. I laughed and wondered how I would ever make it for 30 days when it had only been 30 minutes. I scratched my head in bewilderment.
Bobby said that if I would go into every situation filled with hope and joy that I would see an obvious difference in outcomes. I was, of course, skeptical, but stayed the course and—for the most part—did it with a smile on my face. The difference was truly amazing! Isn’t learning to love really learning to be positive even when you find yourself in uncomfortable situations?
To me, what I have shared is a truth, that focused, positive thought will have a positive impact on the world around you. Love and you will be loved back; conversely, hate and you will be hated in return. Is it any wonder the state to which much of society has fallen? So many are bombarding others with doubt, fear, and anger. It surely doesn’t take a lot to offend our fellow humans these days.
So, I ask, if one percent of the population can change the outcome for the whole country with positive meditation, then what happens if a majority of the population harbors outrage? We desperately need to chart a new course. We need to regain balance in our lives and find a way to love our fellow man even when we don’t always agree. Find the middle and be happy that we have something that works.
Bobby’s last texts to me came from his hospital bed during his fight with stage four cancer. He wrote, “God is still running the universe, and he will take care of us.” In his final text, he told me: “You can do one important thing for me. Learn to really love, Nathan, and use the power he gave you as the gift it was meant to be. It’s all I ask.”
Tears fill my eyes every time I read those words from Bobby. The reality is that it is a struggle to love everything. But I really do try my best every day, just as Bobby asked. I’m not sure I can ask much more of myself than that.
So here’s where you come in. I would like to challenge you to accept Bobby’s challenge alongside me. This challenge doesn’t have a timestamp. It begins now as you read these words and will continue for the rest of our lives. Because the need to love and be loved doesn’t end. It is an inherent part of who we are as humans. And it is our responsibility as members of humanity to take care of one another, regardless of how different we might be.
Let’s spread this challenge far and wide. Share it on social media (#bobbyschallenge), tell friends about it, challenge your family, your kids, your colleagues. Love unconditionally today and everyday. And even after you slip up, as we all inevitably will, just remind yourself that love is always possible and try harder the next time.
Here’s to a 2022 rooted in respect and kindness for the world around us. May love and light fill your world!