I've been thinking lately...this business of deliberately making happiness a primary focus and making sure that our thoughts remain as positive as possible is quite a task and requires practice and persistence. A Course In Miracles calls it a radical mind training. I had a wonderful teacher, an old metaphysician and one of Ernest Holmes' first Practitioners in The Church of Religious Science, Vetura Papke, who would say, "Put a guard up at the portal of your mind." She knew how powerful our thoughts were in creating our reality and how easy it was to let thoughts of negativity become our primary mode of thinking. We live in a world that lends itself to negative thinking, "Nothing is easier than negativity - the entire culture plays into it," so says leading OBGYN, best-seling author and teacher, Christiane Northrup. It's as if we have had an unspoken agreement, a group consicousness, if you will, that lends itself to worry, complaining and the proliferation of bad news. Negative thinkers have been branded as significant and even erudite, while positive thinking people have often been deemed as airy-fairy or kooky. But there is a significant shift taking place, and the change is a direct result of a cumulative change in thinking. It turns out that it's not so kooky afterall.
I started writing this blog because the economy and world culture began shifting so significantly that people started to question what it is that really constitutes happiness. Was it only the security that came with our 401ks? - Or in having it "all?" Not so much, as we watch those things evaporate right out from under us. We are beginning to understand that true happiness comes from the inner landscapes of our own lives and in our connection with each other. This understanding has called for a significant change in our thinking - our most creative and powerful tool in changing our lives and, as hackneyed as it might sound, in changing the world. Consequently, the journey within becomes the most important thing we can do.
So what now? What can we do today, right now? We can train our minds to think on other things and it's not that much different than working out a muscle. It becomes easier with practice. Write a gratitude list every day; write down what went right. I know it sounds simple, but it is profound. It shifts the gears of our thinking away from "what's wrong," "what always goes wrong for me," "my dumb luck," and the worst thing that we do: keeping score of how many things go wrong. We build a case for the pattern to continue. As much as you can this week, begin to be conscious of things that are going right. Try to detach from the "story" of who you think you are (check out Byron Katie under Teachers and Tools for more on that) and begin to redefine yourself by your positive virtues. Write down, right now, three things that you like about yourself. We must begin to see ourselves as the powerful, infinite beings that we are.
Some of today's most important and influential medical researchers and scientists are telling us that the most powerful chemistry set that we have--to combat diseases, chemical imbalances and even genetic patterns--lies between our ears. We have the power to affect signifiant changes in our bodies, our lives and in the amount of joy we gleen from every day...and it all begins with a thought.
I leave you this week with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, "What lies behind us, and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."