In these articles I like to relate stories and techniques used by some of the most successful people I have been blessed with knowing. They are all people who have ‘apples on their tree’ and have used their unique understandings to create success for themselves. For me, success is not the amount of toys and money stacked-up in the bank, but the lives of happiness and fulfillment these folk have achieved. One of the most amazing of these men I have ever had the pleasure to know I will call Willy to protect his modesty.
Willy has a unique and very successful philosophy on life, to say nothing about it being unusual. In a single word, the basis of his understanding and beliefs of the world is gratitude. He claims that we are so blessed to be a part of this beautiful world that he could not give thanks enough. Willy is not a religious man. He does not aspire to any of the major religious bodies, in fact in many ways he was not always in approval of them, but he was one of the most spiritual people I have ever known.
Willy didn’t pray or ask God favors, oh no, he knew better than that. He knew there was an intelligence that was Life itself. He never found anyone who would deny that.
“I just know that the Intelligence is everywhere. I’m not a scientist and I can’t give you an explanation, so I’m not going to try! I just believe with every fiber of my being that IT is there and responds when I communicate with it correctly.”
“So, explain how to communicate correctly! . . . Does it have a name?” I added.
“I don’t think so! Any name or label seems to trigger a whole train of dogma. I know you use the name Fred or ‘X’, Dave, and that works very well. But for some it could carry material connotations… what if you chose to use the name ‘Adolph’! A perfectly good name but so soiled by its associations with nasty historical characters. I think ‘X’ is probably the most suitable, if you must have a name!”
“Okay, so back to communicating with . . . ‘X’!”
“My personal understanding, and what works for me, is that ‘It’ . . . or ‘X’,” Willy smiled, “responds most actively to my feelings. When I am feeling motivated and good about myself, life seems to flow with greater ease and harmony.”
“How do you maintain that state in this troubled world?” I asked bluntly.
“Well, Dave, I’ll tell you. . . . We all arrive here with nothing, zilch, not even a stitch of clothing! Naked and not understanding a single word of the language, and unable to communicate, save for yelling when we want food or a dry diaper. But we are cared-for, fed and clothed. I am very grateful for that and all that was to follow.”
“I view it as though I, like everyone else, am a guest on this beautiful planet. I don’t know how I got here or what I should be doing, but here I am! I’ve been cared-for, given food and shelter and the fruits of the land, and I show gratitude for that. . . .”
“D’you think everyone should be grateful?” I questioned.
“Of course, gratitude is all important, but how they see things is their affair. My objective is not to change how the world thinks, or how it is abusing almost everything in sight, but just to be a good guest, and the more I do that, the more harmony and abundance flows my way!”
“Some would say we have the right to be here, this is our home.”
“You can only give someone the ‘rights’ to something they own. Who owns this planet, the oceans and the forest that they can claim ‘rights’? What folk assume, or claim ownership of, is none of my business, for me, I act as an invited guest to the party. If I can make a little difference, that’s fine, but everything I do is with gratitude.” Willy spoke with a beautifully unshakable assurance.
“Surely, acting alone can make little impact on the grand scheme of things?”
“You wanted to know my secrets, well, you got it! Rest assured, Dave, my success has grown as the result of being a good and grateful guest, no question about it. You wanted to know my philosophy for success, and now you seem to be questioning me!” Willy was unshakable.
Uh oh, it was time to move on. “Talk to me more about your techniques for expressing gratitude, Willy.”
I was not sure Willy wanted to continue this conversation but for me it was so revealing I kept going. “What do you do, write down everything you are grateful for?”
“I do write a lot of it down although the main objective is to build a consciousness of gratitude. You may think I’m nuts but I express my gratitude for everything.”
“What about bad things? Surely you can’t be grateful for those?”
“Yes, most of all those! . . . Just this morning the battery on my car was flat . . .”
“Don’t tell me, you expressed your gratitude for a flat battery!”
“Yes of course, and d’you know what? That battery was guaranteed and when I looked for the receipt I noticed that it expired in two weeks. So I got a replacement battery with a new guarantee and made a new friend at the auto-store in the bargain. That’s how it works, Dave. You see, most people would bitch and moan and declare their luck has run out, and then guess what? It does!”
Willy believes that when things go wrong, as they often do, they offer the opportunity, or the steps that lift us to a new place. He reminded me that you can’t solve a problem from the same level as the problem . . . and gratitude lifts us to the right place.
“When I started in business I thought I knew it all and had all the answers. I created so many problems there were times when I wondered if I would ever reach the dizzy heights of being out of debt, never mind having plenty of money to spare! But d’you know, Dave, it was those problems and the lessons learned through overcoming them, that gave me the knowledge and resilience I have today. So I express my gratitude for everything that happened. It helped me realize there was all the help I could ever use, if I would just learn and admit that ‘of myself I can do nothing, it is the Intelligence and Life Force that pulses through my veins that does the work by using me!’
Listening to Willy’s unusual beliefs on life at first left me a little confused, he would talk about the spiritual nature of things in one breath, then in the next how he disapproved of religion!
He knew that Jesus was a human being, a teacher, not the Intelligence or Life Force itself. That was not a person, or a figure on the cross, it was far more! His opinion was that religions were like the deck-chair attendant on the beach, they saw the appeal and how the warmth and comfort attracted people. Providing chairs for their comfort brought people back to their section of the beach and they used it to gather support, and donations! In general to take advantage of the natural wonders!
Everyone loves the warm sand and the sea, so awesome it makes them feel good, and so the deck-chair man capitalized on that. The attendant encouraged people to return again and again and not to lose this special link and its wonderful advantages. He predicted how the tide went and the vulnerable seekers wondered at his knowledge! They were encouraged to believe that the deckchair attendant was somehow linked to the comfort and well-being ‘his’ beach brought them. People gave money to support this gathering place. They built a wall around it and began leading people to believe that the beach and the sea was something unique and special to them!
Other deck chair attendants on other beaches began doing the same thing. Their approach varied one to the other. But one thing didn’t change, the sand and the sea was the same no matter what enclosure or house rules the attendants put around them, it was still the one, same vast sea. So vulnerable were people and so desperate for comfort, they began to make pilgrimages to the beach in the belief that they would be blessed by the special deckchair attendant on his beautiful sunny beach!
“Of course they were blessed by the beautiful sandy beach, and their gratitude created greater benefits. The vale of illusion they were under was that it was the power of the deckchair attendant!” Willy smiled as he saw the clarity return to my eyes. “I quickly learned that I could find the all-powerful sea and beautiful beaches along any coastline anywhere. I could bathe in it wherever I chose and receive all the blessings and refreshments I could ever dream of without listening to the erroneous stories of the deckchair attendant!” He smiled knowingly.
After a moment he said, “But, d’you know Dave, there have been some extremely good deckchair attendants throughout history . . .”
“And there have been some tyrants too, right, Willy?” I added.
“Believe it Dave, believe it! Thank the Lord!” He concluded.
“Thank the Lord! Ain’t that a bit of a contradiction Willy?” I was surprised by his use of the word Lord.
“Is that any difference to the title Fred or ‘X’?” He said finally and laughed.
That was the end of conversation on that topic. In that moment Willy had switched-off . . . I so admired just how much control he had over the conversation and expressed my gratitude to him for sharing this story!
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