Two Acts of Blessing


Ben H. Swett
Temple Hills, MD

These two experiments were self-chosen tests to see whether I could set aside my personal agenda and emotional reactions, and concentrate solely on the benefit of another person. This is not a trivial exercise. And the inner discipline it requires is something I cherish and need to practice.

18 April 1991

My wife's car needed new brakes, so I took it to an auto repair shop. When I got there, half-a-dozen people were lined up waiting for their turn at the counter. The lady behind the counter was angry. She was trying to be polite to the customers, but she was obviously under stress.

Not having anything better to do, I decided to see if I could bless this harried lady. But first, I had to set aside my own little feeling of impatience by saying to myself, "No problem. I have plenty of time. I can wait."

Then I focused my attention on her, appreciated her as a person who was trying to do her job, and envisioned sending to her an outward flow of unstructured white light and my own good-will.

Immediately, she stopped what she was doing and stood still, with her hands on the counter and her head bowed. After a moment, she sighed, raised her head and looked directly into my eyes. She was smiling -- beaming. Her whole face was glowing with happiness. I smiled back, and nodded, but said nothing.

When I got to the counter, she treated me like a friend, smiling and helpful, and soon had my paperwork ready. Neither of us said anything else. I left the car to be repaired. When I returned to pick it up, a man was working behind the counter.

25 April 1991

A few days later, my wife said there was still something wrong with her car, so I took it for a test-drive. Sure enough, the brakes were not working right; they acted like the brake-pedal was being pressed and released rapidly. I knew what that meant: the brake drums were out-of-round. So ... back to the auto repair shop.

The lady behind the counter was happy to see me, but the mechanic was not. He was furious at having to re-do that brake job. He didn't say anything to me, but he kicked a piece of exhaust pipe across the shop. He got in my wife's car, slammed the door, and gunned it out of the parking lot for a test drive. I hoped he wouldn't wreck it, but I figured the company must be insured against that sort of thing.

When he came back from the test drive, I was pleased to see that my wife's car was still in one piece. He put it up on the lift, slammed a box of tools on the ground next to it, and started removing the left rear wheel. Watching him through the office door, I was sure that he would damage the car. Every motion of his hands was abrupt, angry.

Not having anything better to do, I decided to see if I could bless him regardless. That meant I first had to set aside my fear that he would damage the car. I said to myself, "People are more important than things: a man is more important than a car." I kept repeating it until my inner tension subsided. That done, I focused my attention on him, appreciated him as a hard-working man under stress, and sent to him a steady flowing stream of unstructured white light and my own good-will.

I blessed him through the glass of a closed door. He was forty feet away, standing with his back to me, and working with his hands to remove that wheel, but he suddenly stopped what he was doing, lowered his head, and stood with his hands at his sides. I let the flow continue. He suddenly turned around and looked at me, smiling, and waved for me to come into the shop.

As I walked up to him, he said, "It's your car, so I thought you might like to watch, and I wanted to say, I'm sorry I didn't turn those brake-drums before. I was in a hurry, but that's no excuse. I do better work than that. And I want you to know it." We chatted about cars while he worked, and we parted as friends.

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It is easy to bless people we like, and it's a lot of fun. We often do it subconsciously. Any energetic thought of appreciation, such as "You're neat! I like you!" can send a packet of positive energy. Many people -- and animals and plants -- are receptive to blessing, and enlivened by it. Animals especially seem to enjoy being blessed.

It is somewhat more difficult to bless people we don't like, because we have to set aside our negative feelings. That's why I call it the act of blessing regardless. For example: Can I bless this woman, right now, regardless of her anger and my impatience? Can I bless this man, right now, regardless of his anger and my fear he will damage my wife's car? It isn't as easy as falling off a log -- but it can be done, and it works.

Someone asked me, "Is the act of blessing a 'magic bullet' to get what we want?" The answer is: No, it doesn't work that way, or it works backward. Blessing is an act of unqualified love. If we even think about what we want, we are not blessing the other person; we are attempting to manipulate the other person. Many people subconsciously feel attempts to manipulate them, and react with irritation, anger -- and rejection of the thought.

In the case of the woman behind the counter, some of the people waiting in line were probably thinking-at-her, "Hurry up! Get with it! I'm tired of waiting!" -- and she was reacting to their attempts to manipulate her with more and more anger. But I did not do that. The only thought I sent to her was: "Blessed be."

The act of blessing is not lip service or wishful thinking or asking God to do it. It is a personal free gift of positive energy. I think I know how they felt -- like they were suddenly bathed in light -- because I have been blessed and that's how it felt to me.

Jesus said, "By their fruit you will know them." And I also believe, by our fruit we can know ourselves. If I had contaminated the energy I sent to those people by any thought of manipulation, they would not have reacted the way they did. Therefore, in these two cases, by the evidence of their reaction, I know my blessing was pure.