Reflection #7 – What You See is What You Get

“There are lots of things to see, unwrapped gifts and free surprises. The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand. But – and this is the point – who gets excited by a mere penny? What You See is What You GetIf you follow one arrow, if you crouch motionless on a bank to watch a tremulous ripple thrill on the water and are rewarded by the sight of a muskrat kit paddling from its den, will you count that sight a chip of copper only, and go your rueful way? It is dire poverty indeed when a man is so malnourished and fatigued that he won’t stoop to pick up a penny. But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days. It is that simple. What you see is what you get.” –Annie Dillard, “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek”

The above quote includes quite a bit more of what I sent you in this week’s inspiration message. It got me thinking even further about the symbolism of both magic and found pennies in the context of a loving and benevolent universe, and I thought of the wonderful children’s song “Magic Penny” by Malvina Reynolds. Take a minute to listen to it here.

“Love is something if you give it away, you end up having more.” As I’ve said before, that’s one of the root concepts of this class, that our small actions have huge significance. Practicing anonymous acts of kindness allows us to see how easy these can be. There is also a purity about doing them anonymously since there is no expectation of reciprocation. But the truth of it is, like the concept of a “Magic Penny,” when you perform them you end up getting so much back. It grows and grows.

I see the universe as being designed to provide us everything we need. I envision it as a huge machine with each of us needing to do our part to keep it in prime condition. By tuning up our little section, a drip of oil here, an adjustment there, we keep another part running smoothly. And those drops of oil and adjustments are our attitudes and actions.

Anonymous kindness actions are very natural to perform. The more you complete, the more you will see being presented to you. The more you’ll feel connected, too, and the more you will appreciate life’s splendor.

What you see is what you get.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for sharing Malvina Reynold’s Magic Penny again! I listened to it a few years ago on your recommendation. Now its a family favorite. Its lovely to watch my 5 year-old sing it! In years, I hope its message pervades his and my own spirit.

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