The Ripple Effect
When you drop a pebble into a still pond, the ripples spread out in every direction. The effect is felt not just where the pebble fell, but circles out all around it.
According to Kabbalist Samuel Avital, something similar happens with all our thoughts. This is the Ripple Effect – The inner state of being and thoughts of each person creates a ripple effect that affects everything around them.
For example, have you every walked into a room where someone has been depressed and thinking negative thoughts all day? If so, you will remember how the air feels heavy and oppressive, like being in a swamp. On the other hand, you can probably remember a friend whose presence immediately makes you feel calm, balanced, and clear. They probably have a constructive way of thinking that you feel supports you.
The strongest version of this is meeting someone with a very deep spiritual connection. Being near them can make one feel transformed, energized, and lightened.
All of this could be considered a subtle ripple effect from the thoughts that each person carries. And we too emanate an effect out to all around us, based on our inner state.
You can even feel the lingering effects of the ripple effect on a space. If you walk into a theme park, even when it is empty, there is a lingering energy from all the noise and motion that were there before. Walk into a place of prayer and you will feel the exact opposite. The whole space holds a feeling of quiet calm that goes beyond just silence.
What the kabbalists acknowledge is that the thoughts of those around you have an effect on you. Spend time near someone who is depressed and you may start to feel a bit low. Come near someone who hates you, and even if they don’t say a word, you can feel the harsh impact from their thoughts. Spend time with negative people and you may find negative thinking slowly slipping into your state of being. Just noticing can help one pick the kinds of thoughts and people we want to surround ourselves with.
The essence of the Ripple Effect is to realize that you carry your whole state of being with you wherever you go. So what are you emanating to others? What are the thoughts that you carry inside you all the time? Thoughts of gratitude for life, and possibilities of what to create? Or thoughts that destroy yourself and others?
As we said before, if the thoughts of the people inside a country are mostly steeped in hatred and violence, it will almost certainly come about. So what are you heading toward with your thoughts? What ripple effect are you creating for the world around you?
Practice again Assignment 2.
Assignment 2: Take one day and only think positive thoughts, aimed towards good outcomes for yourself and others. Practice extending this beyond one day, and see how much you can stay focused on these beneficial thoughts during one entire week. Notice how it changes both the quality and outcomes of your week.
Remember also the importance of forgiveness. When we carry anger towards others, we are the ones that end up carrying the weight of that negativity, and being eaten by it. Each night before bed, you can speak the words out loud “I forgive everyone who has harmed me, whether accidentally, carelessly, or purposefully. May no one suffer on my account. And may all live in peace.” Notice how much lighter you feel when not carrying negative thoughts and resentments during the day.