(Written by Shubhangi Vashisht and Hitesh Vashisht for The Living Wisdom Newsletter published by Life University, Hyderabad)
The hundredth monkey phenomenon refers to a sudden, unplanned and mysterious soar in consciousness achieved by reaching the ‘critical mass‘ point. In 1952, this phenomenon was first noticed in an experiment started in the Japanese island of Koshima. The scientists were feeding monkeys with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. In the beginning, the monkeys were very hesitant to try it. Slowly, the monkeys started enjoying the raw taste, but disliked the dirt covering the potatoes. One day, a female monkey named Imo made the potatoes even more enjoyable by washing them in a nearby stream. She then taught this trick to her mother and many started to imitate this method of eating. Soon others followed suit.
It was in the autumn of 1958, that something magical was noticed in the experiment. A certain number of monkeys were washing the sweet potatoes and one more monkey joined and learnt to wash it. By one addition, their art of improvisation was adopted by a group of monkeys living on the nearby island physically distant from Koshima and they also started to wash sweet potatoes before eating! They started doing this even though there was no way for them to observe the physical act. The experiment stated that suppose there were 99 monkeys who were using this technique then the very act when picked up by the 100th monkey, created a field of critical mass which mystically raised the level of understanding of monkeys living on the other island energetically! The number 100 is not a magic number but represents the critical mass.
There is enough food for thought that this experiment gives to us. For a society to follow something they need,a certain set of people (e.g. 99 people) who must first learn it and heartily adopt it. There comes a moment when one more person joining in (the 100th person) creates the critical mass field, which raises the consciousness of masses to adopt similar learning.
What is it that we want the world to learn? Of course, we want something good. Don’t we? Can we be that 100th Monkey (or any monkey) which adds to the strength of the entire group? If yes, how can we? How can we add to the change in this world?
Below are some tips that you can use as an individual to give momentum:
- Be the ONE: The 1st Monkey is as important as the 100th monkey. Had Imo (the female monkey) not taken the initiative to experiment by washing sweet potatoes, this learning wouldn’t have reached fact, every monkey was important for the change to happen. When you think of changing the world, you should start with yourself. It is our Individual Consciousness that gives fuel to the Universal Consciousness.
- Focus on ‘what you want’ than ‘what you don’t want’: Most of the times we keep singing the song of problems in the society wasting our energy thinking what will happen to the nation!! Divert your thoughts and focus on what an ideal world you would like to live in. When in groups, do not discuss with your friends the problems but talk about the solutions. Meditate or visualise on the world that you wish to manifest.
- No blame game: You are not anyone’s responsibility but your own. Take charge of yourself and stop blaming people & situations in life.
- Practice Love, Compassion & Patience: Easier said than done, these powerful words need to be understood to the deepest core. Their application should encompass all the kingdoms of life- Human, Animal, Plant & Mineral.
- Gratitude:It is in the gratefulness of your present that you hold the brightest future for yourself. So, be thankful for what you have.
- Prayer:The power of Prayers can’t go unnoticed, it can move mountains. Use your prayers not for self-interest but for things which can benefit masses. Prayers for universal harmony, peace and joy are the best examples for it.
- Service:Sharing and serving with what you have in abundance is a wonderful way to add to the world. Some people are masters of wealth, so they give to the universe through charity while some are good teachers, and they share the path of awakening. Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela & Isaac Newton served the society in their own ways.
- Walking the Talk: Francis of Assisi said, “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.” Be the first one to walk your words.
- Be a Responsible Citizen: You can work on small things like not breaking traffic rules, not littering public places, not bribing etc.
- Laugh & Smile:No make-up can brighten the face as a smile can. So, don’t let that curve on your face fade ever. Laugh openly, let your laughter be contagious and create a wave of guffawing wherever you go.
Long time ago, there was a young man who was trying to throw star fishes in the sea one by one that had come to the shore with high tides. A person passing by got amazed by his act and thought of asking him about it. The person said, “What are you doing young man, it is such a futile task. How will it make a difference as there are many fishes lying on the shore?” The young man smiled and picked up one more star fish and threw it in the water. He said, “It just made a difference in the life of that star fish.” Often we stop, thinking that we can’t change the world as it is too big. But the work that moves with our heart and sincerity drenches our loved ones, strangers and then the whole world like a gush of loving water. This is how the changes have come into the world.
Are you ready to make a difference in the world in your own ways? Are you ready to be the 1st or 100th or any monkey in the group of change agents? Are You?