We all know how much we react to our surroundings, how happy we are in congenial company, for instance, and how lost we feel among strangers. But I only realized how much our surroundings react towards us when a friend — a big black mongrel dog — told me all about it.
I happened to be passing his way at the time, and must have been wrapped in thought, with a frown on my face, for as I approached he stood up and growled.
Of course, when I saw him, my frown vanished and in its place something approaching a smile must have appeared, for my friend ceased growling and lay down again.
In this little incident I found food for plenty of thought. Some of us believe that life doles out to us exactly what we earn, in the way of "good" or "bad" fortune. But there seems to be no fixed standard, between one person and another, as to what really constitutes good or bad fortune. Put two people in exactly the same surroundings and circumstances, and one may feel grand, the other miserable. You may put one among thieves and know that he will be robbed; while another may find these same thieves to be the kindest-hearted people in the world.
We talk of rubbing people the wrong way, but we are continually rubbing our circumstances one way or another. If we could learn to approach things in the right fashion we should surely find that there is no such thing as bad fortune, for at our very approach the complexion of circumstances would change, just as my friend the black dog altered his mind as I altered my face.
It may be that this reaction of our circumstances towards us will explain a lot more than we think. It would almost seem that each of us creates his or her own world according to the way each of us looks at it. Some people have strife in their minds, and thus see nature "red in tooth and claw"; others have compassion in their hearts, and can see how every life depends on other lives. Some have lack of balance in their character, and see life as meaningless chaos; others have beauty in their eyes, and thus see harmony and proportion in all creation.
A smile is as sunlight, and what easier way is there to make the sun shine from another's face than to send out a gleam from one's own?
(From Sunrise magazine, October/November 2005; copyright © 2005 Theosophical University Press)
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So let us seek the True, in everything, in everybody, in every circumstance, with patience, with humility, with love. — Clara Codd