Being thankful for bumps in the road

Lynne McTaggart

On this weekend of thankfulness, I’ve been thinking recently of the power of pressure – challenges, sorrows, struggles – and their extraordinary power to help us.

As I get older, I have the great benefit of a rearview mirror on my life.  And only now can I see that every blockage on the path was there for a reason: to help me to learn, to be a better person, to try harder or aim higher. And each time, the pain offered a hidden gift.

The worst things that happened to me – illness, divorce, financial struggles, great loss – were invariably the best things that happened to me, leading me onto a better path.

But if there was one fast track to that path that I’ve discovered, it can be summed up in one short sentence: Get off of yourself.

As I have discovered in my work with intention groups, as well as my own life, performing an altruistic act, with no expectation of reward, produces more than just a warm and fuzzy feeling; it proves strengthening to both mind and body.

If you’re suffering from some sort of condition, you’re more likely to overcome it once you turn your attention to someone else. That was the conclusion of one study of more than 800 people suffering from severe stress who were followed by University of Buffalo researchers for five years to compare the state of their health with the extent to which they’d helped anyone outside the home, including relatives, friends or neighbors.

That little bit of helping acts like a bulletproof vest. When faced with future stressful situations like illness, financial difficulties, job loss, or death in the family, those who’d helped others during the previous year were far less likely to die than those who hadn’t.

In fact, the contrast between the people who’d helped and those who didn’t could not have been starker. When faced with each new stressful event, those who’d decided not to lend a hand increased their chances of dying by a whopping 30 percent.

The quickest route to rewriting your own life’s script is simply reaching out to someone else. In Harvard research on happiness and fulfilment, one factor that made for the greatest sense of satisfaction and happiness among a sampling of 30,000 Americans all across the country was lending a helping hand.

In fact, those willing to give of their time or money were 42 percent more likely to be happy than those who weren’t.

The key to a long and healthy life is living a life that concerns itself with a meaning beyond satisfying the needs of number one.

I have thought long and hard about how dangerous some tenets of the “self-help” movement might ultimately be. All that focus on the self could ultimately be terrible for your health, and highly unnecessary.

And if that is true, the entire New Age premise of intention—using the universe as essentially a restaurant with you the customer ordering whatever dinner you happen to fancy—is wrong.

Getting what you want in your own life starts with the readiness to give.

And that’s the true power of group intention and the Power of Eight® groups. The secret sauce of the entire enterprise is the giving part of it.

In group healing, most of the time, you’re involved in an altruistic enterprise: sending healing to someone else. And of the thousands of groups I’ve run by now, I’ve noticed that when people are stuck and they intend for someone else, invariably they, the senders, end up healing something in their own lives, whether health, relationships, finances or career.

In seeing yourself in the other, in joining together as one, other people, it turns out, are your salvation.

As for me, I’m grateful for all of it – the blessings I have now in my beloved family and the work I get to do, the joys and struggles – all the pain and ecstasy, the blessings and sorrows of a lived life.

And I’m so grateful for all of you, because I get to give to you what I continue to learn on my own journey in the hope that it may help you on yours.

May your own road be full of all the bumps – plus your own altruistic intention circle – that help you stay the course.

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Lynne McTaggart

Lynne McTaggart is an award-winning journalist and the author of seven books, including the worldwide international bestsellers The Power of Eight, The Field, The Intention Experiment and The Bond, all considered seminal books of the New Science and now translated into some 30 languages.

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81 comments on “Being thankful for bumps in the road”

  1. A really helpful reminder for me for sure. Thank you very much. Happy December and Christmas ahead and thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to set an intention for peace as part of the group in your 2 intention meetings re the Middle East
    Thank you.

  2. And so it is. For sure. I experienced major bumps in my life. In fact, I was the first and finally the biggest myself as I was considered to be a mistake made by God, by both my mother, much of the environment, and mostly by myself. With the focus on me. myself & I life seems like true hell at times. Learning by Life/Love itself that ultimately we are One with all Creation and helping others is helping yourself, taking care of others is taking care of yourself (stacking the store with stuff no one really needs isn't, eating and drinking more than our bodies are made for either) and Just being there for someone who feels lost & alone is so fullfilling & nurturing that all hell by life's bumps is replaced by heaven on earth. Sometimes I'am so overwhelmed by gratitude for all my bumps, who now feel like all blessings. So I can be a blessing. To All. Amen

  3. The lessons of one’s Karmic experiences of life are Love, Forgiveness, Gratitude. And, of course, keeping a Happy Mind.

  4. Dear Lynne,
    We all have similar experiences it seems.

    I meditated with you and your group (from Flanders Field, Belgium) to have hostages released in the Israel - Gaza conflict.
    Some of them are released now.
    It is extraordinary...

    Can we do this again to implement world peace?

  5. Thank you for all you are giving us with your thoughts and opportunities to participate in Intention and Power of 8 groups. I’m so grateful to have found these gifts and new to participating, having just in the past week signed up to participate in your groups. For years I have been praying for the world by myself, for the oceans, atmosphere, dirt, soil, bugs, animals, trees & plants, people groups doing good things, family, friends, ancestors, groups and individuals doing positive actions for the world, rivers, climate, mountains, rocks, plains, wind, spirits, divas, those suffering, those hungry, the leaders, the hearts of Those doing evil, the all, the Maker of the All, the One. Reading this blog reflects how I see Things, including the issue of spiritual type folks in It just for Themselves. They’ve come part of the way, anyway! We are, all of Us and Our World, Holy and to be blessed with Love. Our world is currently full of Bumps and may we grow as a result! I’m so very grateful to be able to join, finally, with like minded folks, not just praying by myself only. I grew up in the Episcopal church using the beautiful King James bible words and mostly old, ancient, gorgeous hymns and in a beautiful old church. Some time during my university years, they changed the words to “modern” pablum words, I.e., changing “and with Thy Spirit” to “and also with you.” And the hymns lost all their beauty, too, replaced with, to me anyway, boring tunes and words. The church buildings are more like strip malls than gorgeous buildings like one finds in Europe. I have yet to find Beauty in church although that might be a place to find good, loving, giving groups. So I pray by myself. Beauty, Truth, Love, Kindness, Humans bumbling along among other Qualities, are of the Divine for me. Thank you again!

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