Often times, we pay scant attention to our thoughts. We say, after all, it was but a thought. We must never forget that thoughts are things, thoughts are forces, and thoughts are the building blocks of life. With thoughts, we are building the edifice of our own life, building our own future. People blame their kismet [luck], their stars, and their destiny. “Men heap together the mistakes of their lives,” said John Oliver Hobbies, “and create a monster they call Destiny.” Destiny is not a matter of chance: it is a matter of choice.
We are building our own destiny, everyday, with the thoughts we think. A thought, if it is constantly held in the mind, will drive us to action. An action, which is repeated, creates a habit. It is our habits that form our character. It is character that determines our destiny. If we wish to change our pattern of thinking, we must cleanse the mind of all the dirt which we have accumulated through the years. Our minds need to be cleansed of thoughts of miserliness, avarice and arrogance, envy and jealousy, resentment and ill-will.
William Phelps said, “That man is the happiest who thinks the happiest thoughts.” I would add, “That man is the healthiest and most successful who thinks the healthiest and most successful thoughts.” There is a doctor who tells her patients that her medicine will work only if they give their minds a good shampoo every day. Get down into your consciousness and cleanse your minds of all those old, rotten, miserable thoughts that keep you unhealthy, unhappy, and unsuccessful. There is another doctor who says to his patients with a twinkle in his eyes, “Keep your upstairs clean and your downstairs will be healthy.”
There are those who nurture thoughts of hatred, of envy and jealousy in their hearts. How can they ever hope to be happy? Hatred and happiness can never dwell together, even as darkness and light can never live together. There was a man who met me a long time ago. He said, “There is a fire burning within my heart: it will not be quenched until I have shot down the man who was indirectly responsible for the death of my father.” How true! Hatred is a fire which keeps on burning within the heart: it burns away all your happiness.
Take care of your thoughts and desires, your impulses and ambitions, your feelings and fancies. The forces that are around you have a magnetic power. They draw to themselves forms of a like nature. If we are surrounded by angelic forms, they draw to themselves many more angels. If we are surrounded by demoniac forms, they attract to themselves many more demons.
We have heard of physically weak people performing heroic deeds of valour far beyond their physical strength. I read concerning a mother who weighed only 41kg. In a moment of crisis, she lifted the wheel of an automobile beneath which her child had been caught. From where did she get all that strength? The seemingly impossible is accomplished when determination is accompanied by high purpose.
Conversely, low thoughts have an evil and disturbing effect. Sometimes, in a fit of temper, we do things of which we are not otherwise capable. Later, as we repent for evil deeds, we exclaim, “Some devil must have tempted me!” We are not attacked by these entities: we attract them to ourselves. Therefore, let us take care of our thoughts.
The mind is one of God’s most amazing gifts to man. “The mind,” Bishop Fulton J. Sheen said, “is like a clock that is constantly running down and must be wound up daily with good thoughts.” The minds of many, I am afraid, are full of unwholesome thoughts and wrong ideas. It is such thoughts that do not let us live a healthy, happy and successful life. Throw the dirt from your minds and fill them with thoughts of love and peace and joy, purity and prayer, sympathy and service and sacrifice, prosperity and success.
Scientists tell us we use only one-fiftieth of the brain power available to us. Let us train our minds and ourselves to use this fabulous power in the right way. Fill the mind with noble thoughts.
Adapted from Ladder of Abhyasa,God in Quest of Man and Why Do Good People Suffer by Dada J P Vaswani.
This was first published in the June 2012 issue of Complete Wellbeing.