Have you ever wondered why it is so difficult to implement certain changes in your life? Ideas that you mentally assent to, but can’t seem to drop into your heart enough to actually bring change to your actions. After all, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” So why do we believe so many things in our heads that don’t match up with our manifested lives? While there is certainly more than one aspect to this dilemma, one of the main answers may be one that you’ve never really considered.
The Universal Law of Reciprocity.
Also known as the Law of Karma or the Law of Cause and Effect, the Law of Reciprocity is the basic idea that you receive back from life the things that you sow into it. If you sow darkness, you will reap darkness. Sow light, reap light. Sow kindness, reap kindness. Etc. Etc. Etc.
What does this have to do with implementing changes in your life that you can’t seem to drop from your head to your heart?
One of the major components of personal growth is the reality that you will only get a value out of it equivalent to the value you put into it. In other words… if what you learned did not cost you anything, you have not sown any real VALUE into the new truths/perspectives you now mentally acquiesce too. If you do not sow any VALUE into a new idea, that new idea will not return any VALUE. It will quite literally remain dormant and useless in your daily life.
Think about how many people you know who claim to believe one thing, and yet their lives remain stuck in the exact opposite condition. Think about your own life. Ideas that you ‘believe’, but you can’t seem to figure out how to bring them to fruition in the real world. While I’ll readily admit there are many reasons this may be the case, one of the ones I see more often than not is the lack of value that has been placed on the idea, and therefore, the lack of reciprocity (or more appropriately… the exact amount of reciprocity) in its manifestation. Once again, you sow no value, you reap no value. You sow ‘mental agreement’, you reap ‘mental agreement’. This is the dirty little trick our minds play on us when we’ve been trained by life to gain knowledge and pretend that it is the same thing as wisdom.
What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom? Experience… and without reciprocity, you will never enter into experience.
So how do you sow value?
From my past 15 years of teaching experience, I feel like I can accurately say that value is sown into personal growth 3 different ways.
While you can easily implement all 3 of these value mechanisms into one idea, you will often find that one of them stands out to you more than the others as being more ‘difficult’ to justify. For some people, it is always the same one that is ‘difficult’ to sow. For others, it may depend on the scenario as to which one is more ‘difficult’ to work with. Nonetheless, I point out this issue of ‘difficulty’ because I firmly believe this is where the secret to rapid personal growth truly lies.
Let me explain.
When something doesn’t hold a lot of value in your heart, you find it that much easier to give it away. Have a ton of money in your bank account; what’s a few hundred dollars really worth to you? Behind on your bills and barely getting by; what’s a few hundred dollars worth to you? On the other hand… The reason you have a ton of money is because you work 100 hours per week and are an executive at a Fortune 500 company; what is an hour of your time worth to you? Don’t have a full-time job and find yourself watching TV every night for 3 hours; what’s an hour of your time really worth to you?
Understand now? Which value system is most ‘difficult’ for you to sow? Whichever one it is… sow THAT ONE for reciprocity! Because that’s the one that’s most valuable to YOU.
IMPORTANT NOTE: For centuries people have been trying to buy their way into heaven because the Church has allowed them to see ‘sowing and reaping’ as only being about money. Meanwhile, millions of Christians don’t live the principles they say they believe, even though they tithe regularly. Even more painful to witness are believers who TRULY want their lives to reflect the things they believe, but because money isn’t where their heart’s highest value lies, their lives remain unchanged. They give and give and give, but they don’t do the ‘heart math’ to figure out what part of themselves they ACTUALLY need to be sowing.
How do I know which value system I should be sowing?
The secret to getting the most out of your personal growth journey is knowing what value system you need to be sowing, at what time(s), in what quantity. Like I said earlier, for some people the answer to this equation is almost always the same thing. Consider the fictional character, Ebenezer Scrooge. In his case, it is obvious that the thing he placed the highest value on was money. Although he had plenty to give away, his heart was tied to it in such as way as to make it the proverbial ‘roadblock’ to his personal growth. The moment he was willing to sow his wealth, everything changed in his manifested personal growth journey.
Russell Crowe, one of my favorite actors, was in a movie back in 2006 called “A Good Year”. In this movie, he plays an investment banker who classically works every waking hour and pushes himself non-stop. At the beginning of the movie, he pulls a stunt with Wall Street that nets him tons of money but was also a bit ‘shady’ in how it was done. Being a seasoned professional he knows that he won’t really get in trouble for it, but they force him to take some time off while they investigate what happened anyway. It’s during this forced time off that he decides to go visit the old family vinyard (in France I believe). Throughout the rest of the movie, it becomes more and more evident that Russell’s character doesn’t place nearly as much value on his money as one might think. Instead, it is his time that he struggles to give away. Not being at work keeps eating at him, and yet the more time he gives away, the brighter his life becomes.
In these two cases, I would argue that these characters are classic examples of people who consistently value one thing over everything else, and thus, it is fairly easy to see what value system they need to be engaging with if they want to work with the Law of Reciprocity. Still, for others, the answer may be different for each scenario. This is especially true when you’ve become accustomed to different types of ‘sowing’ for different causes. Sowing money on Sunday morning may have become easy for you. Sowing time into the lives of your friends may have become easy for you. Giving your heart to special causes may be your personal ‘easy button’. Whatever the case may be, the point remains the same.
The more VALUE you sow, the more VALUE you will recieve.
I hate to say it, but it really is as easy as figuring out which value system is most difficult for you to ‘swallow’, and sowing THAT one.
At this point you may be asking, “But what do I do when all 3 of them seem relatively simple? How do I work with this universal law to increase the value returned, when I can easily sow any of them without reservation?”
Easy. If you want an increase in value returned, increase the value you sow.
You may be someone who has come to a place in life where the idea of ‘giving’ isn’t really all that challenging for you. Perfect! That’s a great place to be. Still… Where do you go from there?
If giving $100 is relatively easy for you, ask your heart what an extra “0” would do. Seriously, try it right now. Think about something that you’re currently engaging with in regards to your personal growth journey. Something you want to manifest as a valuable asset in your life. A new skill. Spiritual ideas. Financial perspectives. Health issues. Whatever. Now… consider what you’ve currently sown into it (assuming it’s more than just listening to teachings in the background… which is EASY, I might add), and truly consider what it would be like to double it.
Double your time. Double the money. Double the commitment.
Does the amount stretch you at all? If not… Double it again.
Still nothing… Double it again.
You give $100 every week and now you’re considering giving $400 every week. Does that stretch you yet?
You give 2 hours every week and now you’re considering giving 8 hours every week. Does that stretch you?
QUANTITY OR VALUE TYPE: I hope you’re getting the point here. Clearly, if you’re giving time because it is ‘easy’, before quadrupaling your commitment just to increase the value, you can always consider giving some money first. Switching value systems even a little bit is often ‘enough’ to accomplish what you’re after. But sometimes it’s a bit more involved then that, and you need to look at how much of a particular value system you’re sowing in order to enable the Law of Reciprocity.
What we are REALLY after.
Here’s the deal… What we’re really trying to achieve is at an energetic level. When you consider doubling what you’re sowing, regardless of what value system you’re working with, pay attention to the energy in your heart. Does it flutter a bit, like, “Oh crap, that’s a lot”? If not, then keep going until it does. The energetic vibration of your heart is really the ONLY gauge that can gurantee that you’ve assigned sufficient value to something you’re supposedly desiring a return from.
Remember that the key is value. If something is ‘easy’ to give away, then it you’re not sowing any value with it. If it doesn’t touch your heart to sow, it likely won’t reciprocate to your heart either.
Heart/Commitment Value Systems
You may have noticed that I didn’t use any examples that portrayed the heart/commitment value system in the above sections. The reason for this is because it is so incredibly personal, that external examples are very difficult to quanitify. Just know that this is arguably the most ‘volatile’ and potentially ‘deceptive’ value system we can work with, while also having the highest potential ‘rate of return’. In investment parlance, this is the system with the highest risk/reward factor.
The reason for this is because it can be very easy for us to confuse ‘heart/commitment’ for ‘interest/care’. Think about it. How many things do you truly care about that haven’t manifested any change in your real life? At the same time, what would your life look like if you actually went and sowed time or money into those things?
Personally, I care a lot about all sorts of political issues. But very few of them have actually returned value to my life. Why? Because I haven’t actually given my heart to them. I haven’t actually committed anything of value to them. Do I genuinely care? Yes. Do I care enough to sow value into them? Apparently not. As such, claiming them as ‘personal growth victories’ is absolute nonsense. They haven’t changed me in any way. I still do everything the same as I did before. The tree is still producing the same fruit.
This is what I mean when I say the risk/reward is highest with this value system. It can be so easy for us to THINK we are putting value into something because we care deeply about it, but in the end it doesn’t do a thing in our lives because all we sowed was ‘interest/care’. To put it bluntly… this is the cornerstone of the modern social justice movement. People deceive themselves into thinking that genuinely caring about something makes them a better person, while never actually changing who they are as manifested human beings. (Do this enough times and you’ll be completely unaware as to what kind of person you REALLY are.)
On the other hand… If your heart/commitment to something results in actual activity in the real world (not just in your head or on Facebook), you will have enacted the Law of Reciprocity in a major way. So much so, that these types of moments often become life-changing catalysts in people’s lives. When you sow money or time into something, it will return in the form of personal growth in a myriad of ways. When you sow your heart into something, it can completely change your life.
- You don’t always HAVE to get a ‘return’ from stuff. Sometimes you can participate in a class, attend a service, read a book, or join a group without needing there to be a personal growth motive. Hanging out with friends is ok. Supporting people you believe in can be a great reason to engage with something. ‘Zoning Out’ is allowed. 🙂 This article is simply about addressing the stuff in your life where you wish you could enact changes that you just can’t seem to manifest. For those issues, consider the Law of Reciprocity.
- In the end you always judge a tree by its fruit. The ideas presented here are not meant to be some fancy math equation. The Universal Law of Reciprocity is most certainly a LAW. It is unbreakable. Still, how I have described it here is not exhaustive. Thus, if your not giving time, money, or commitment to something, and you’re STILL seeing the fruit of that thing in your actual manifested life (not just your head), then far be it from me to tell you that you haven’t engaged reciprocity. When all is said and done… Life change is the real goal, regardless of how you got there.
- There is something to be said for the fact that time and commitment can still be boiled down to ‘money’. You know the phrase, “time is money”. For this reason I’ve found that probably 80% of the time you can most easily engage reciprocity by giving of your money. This can be a bit more difficult for those with plenty of cash, but even they have typically worked for it, and thus, it still equals a measure of time and commitment. Why do I bring this up? Simple. If you want to get to most out of something you’re persuing from a personal growth perspective, spend some actuall money on it. And not an ‘easy’ amount (we’ve already covered this). Spend enough to get YOUR attention.
- When you mentally run through the list and find which value system you need to sow, and how much of it, you will often find that one of the other ones has almost the opposite effect on your heart. Meaning, when you consider doubling the other value system, it almost takes ALL of the value away from the idea in general. For instance; you may realize that raising your financial support for a paticular project from $100 to $1000 gives you the perfect amount of “oh crap” value in your heart, but when you consider taking your time commitment from 2 hours a week to 8 hours a week it actually makes the entire thing seem ‘not worth it’. If this happens to you, examine that feeling. In my experience it is a wonderful way to reveal deep beliefs and/or highlight mental limitations I’ve set on certain ideas.