Actions and reactions and on and on and on

rep. gabrielle giffords shot, jared loughner, arizona

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

If only an action were isolated; but once set in motion, the domino or ripple effect comes in to play, and the reactions are exponential. That is natural law. We live with it constantly, it is what life is, yet it’s forgotten as a matter of course. We forget life. How can that be?

My fingers hover over my laptop’s keyboard, waiting to spring into motion to hammer out what I hope is a coherent stream of thought. Fingers press down on plastic keys that strike a circuit board that in turn zips into the computer as input than then is spit out as output to my computer screen, all generated by electrical current and a series of 1’s and 0’s. But the magic is in the storage of every keystroke of my flying fingers, and once I press that “Publish” button, it becomes stored somewhere “out there” in the cloud, available for all to see and read.

Though not quite one domino whacking into its closest neighbor, sending it teetering and tumbling to whack into another, as soon as a pair of eyes reads and comprehends what my flying fingers have typed and set out for all to see, there is a reaction of one sort or another. It is a reaction that cannot be reversed, taken back or undone. Time is linear, there’s no going back, what’s done is done, things will never be the same again. However subtle or imperceptible, change has happened, and that change goes on to set in motion other changes. And the beat goes on. And on and on.

Therein lies the incredible responsibility, personal responsibility, of how you think. A thought, expressed or not, causes change, a reaction, even though it is not physically perceptible. It changes the thinker. It changes thinking. A change in thinking causes a change in behavior, in actions and consequently reactions and the beat goes on and on and on.

Philosophical drivel aside, I can’t help but wonder – and not a wonderful wonder by any means – why someone would choose to do something so horrendous as open fire in a crowd and seriously injure countless people. It is horrifying to think of all the lives impacted in those few short seconds. Countless lives are dramatically changed forever by that one choice of firing a gun into a crowd.

Newton’s third law plays out when one person shares a video of a homeless man with a gift, something we all have in one form or another, and the waves ripple out, circling back to yank the homeless man out of one life and into another within a few short days. Lives are changed dramatically on every ripple and will continue for some time, well past the cliché of one man’s 15 minutes of fame.

Outside the realm of the media’s spotlight are an infinite number of actions of equal significance, beating on and on and on. The negatives ring out loud and clear, threatening to overpower the ripples of postives that flow with far more frequency and far less notice.
“I feel that the moment you adopt a sense of caring for others, it brings you inner strength. Inner strength brings inner tranquility, greater self-confidence. Because of such attitudes, even when things going on around you seem hostile and negative, you can still sustain your peace of mind.”  (Dalai Lama
There it is. The ripples have come around. The cycle is complete. The origin of it all, negative or positive, is thought. My thoughts, your thoughts; and we are all personally responsible for our thinking. Thoughts drive actions that cause reactions, on and on and on.

How and what you think is your choice, positive or negative or somewhere in between, always. It is your responsibility. The reactions are your responsibility. The choice is yours. Will you remember to live?
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