By Dawn Norton
The Law of Cause and Effect is a pretty easy one to follow. For every effect there is a cause, and for every cause there is an effect. This principle is obvious in many ways. If you take a step off of a cliff, you will fall. If you punch your brother, he is likely to punch you back, possibly much harder. If you throw a rock at a window, it will break. If you don’t have a cup under the milk, when you pour it, it will splash everywhere. If you leave the light on in your car, the battery will go dead if your car doesn’t have the automatic off switch. We could create a list of hundreds and thousands of examples. But what about our lives? Is there a cause and effect relationship for the circumstances we experience in our day to day existence?
Is there a reason we always get in the slowest line?
Is there an explanation for the frustrating people that show up regularly in our day?
Why is our health less than what we want?
Why do we always run out of month before we run out of money?
Why do other people seem to have it so much easier? Why do they seem so lucky?
Just like the obvious examples of cause and effect, there is absolutely a connection to the events and experiences we have each day, and the causes we may not know or notice that preceded them. One of my favorite segments of As a Man Thinketh by James Allen covers this.
“Not what he wishes and prays for does a man get, but what he justly earns. His wishes and prayers are only gratified and answered when they harmonize with his thoughts and actions. In the light of this truth, what, then, is the meaning of “fighting against circumstances”? It means that a man is continually revolting against an effect without, while all the time he is nourishing and preserving its cause in his heart. That cause may take the form of a conscious vice or an unconscious weakness; but whatever it is, it stubbornly retards the efforts of its possessor, and thus calls aloud for remedy. Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound. The man who does not shrink from self-crucifixion can never fail to accomplish the object upon which his heart is set…Even the man whose sole object is to acquire wealth must be prepared to make great personal sacrifices before he can accomplish his object; and how much more so he who would realize a strong and well-poised life?”
Mr Allen proposes that it is the thoughts and intentions of the heart that create our current circumstances. He later suggests that to discover how we arrived at our current destination, that we examine each of our thoughts backward to determine the source or the cause. This is difficult work. Indeed, thinking or learning to change how we think is some of the most difficult work there is! Not only that, once we discover the thoughts, we are now required to change them and create new habits, so that we can create circumstances that we would rather experience. This takes time and often looks messy as the change is happening.
For example, when I decide to deep clean. I have a vision in my mind of the way I will feel when the task is complete and organized. When my husband finds me half-way through the project however, it typically looks much more like a tornado hit the room than cleaning and organizing is going on! Starting in the corner of a room and working my way out, often creates piles, boxes, trash, and donations galore before the order is restored in a much larger way.
It is the same with our thoughts. If I want to stop having road rage, I don’t simply decide and then it is done. It may be two steps forward and three steps back before a new habit is formed and the rage fades to anger and then irritation and then tolerance and then peace.But, we can absolutely do that in every area of our lives if we are willing to take it on.
There is nothing but benefits to extending the Law of Cause and Effect to our personal circumstances. It’s not only worthwhile, it’s absolutely possible.