In his New York Times bestselling book “The Untethered Spirit,” Michael A. Singer writes about the fetters that hold us back from being everything we’re called to be. Our thoughts trap us into seeing the world a certain way. They cage us in limitation, as we dialogue and work through the world in conversation as the world would have us discuss it.
We ruminate on mistakes, we grind in the grist of regret and what could’ve been better and stifle our progress through doubt. We don’t always see the possibilities that exist for us because we undermine where we can go with our lives and forge walls in our minds with no windows or doors open to possibility.
At their best, thoughts can lead us to something greater, something we only dreamed of and a visual potpourri that inspires new awareness and more life to be lived.
Annie Besant and C. W. Ledbetter wrote about the power of thoughts at the turn of the 19th and 20th century to inspire an opening in the imagination. They said that our thoughts are living realities that take shape and have living, breathing lives of their own. We become what we think we are. Besant later wrote a book called “Thought Power,” which gives exercises into how we can shape our thoughts to help us raise conscious awareness of infinite possibilities.
Besant understands the life of a thought.
She writes, “What is the constitution of the universe? The universe is the manifestation of divine thought; the thought of God manifests itself in the thought forms we call worlds.” She also noted, “No durable things are built on violent passion. Nature grows her plants in silence and in darkness, and only when they have become strong do they put their heads above the ground.”
Great metaphor. True. It has been proven through visionaries that a powerful intention can forge peaceful armies for change. Besant opposed Gandhi’s form of satyagraha because she believed it would lead to violence against the common person with “bricks, bats and bullets.” She was right. This did not stop Besant from establishing groups that promoted Home Rule in India and supported a peaceful transition of power for Indian states.
Nonetheless, she was respected by Gandhi for her ideas and the great Mahatma credited her teaching with inspiring Indians “to awaken from their great slumber.” Her ideas inspired Gandhi to place her picture on the walls of his office and looked to her for inspiration.
Ideas become living realities.
Gandhi proved it through nonviolence in overpowering the English government in India, King made it happen in the Civil Rights Movement here in the US and Mandela proved it in the fight against Apartheid in South Africa. Lech Walesa in Poland, Vaclav Havel and other revolutionaries of the “Velvet Revolution” in Eastern bloc countries proved it, too.
Singer gets this point. How many of us can point to a negative thought that has come to pass in our lives? We hold that thought and it builds a momentum like a train leaving the station. On the other hand, the power of positive thinking can never be underestimated. Another friend of Gandhi’s, Parmahansa Yogananda reminds us that we draw to us positive vibrations. Like minds bring like-minded positivity. The north poles align with the south pole and the south aligns with the north forming a connection that bind goodness to goodness.
Yogananda writes: “Change your thoughts if you wish to change your circumstances. Since you alone are responsible for your thoughts, only you can change them. You will want to change them when you realize that each thought creates according to its own nature. Remember that the law works at all times and that you are always demonstrating according to the kind of thoughts you habitually entertain. Therefore, start now to think only those thoughts that will bring you health and happiness.”
Every now and then we need to be reminded that our thoughts can engender good works in this world. It is our responsibility to nurture a good word and kind act with an affirming act of grace that has resided in the past. It’s hard to see when darkness seems to prevail, but one strain of light in a darkened room can illuminate the room enough to see hope for what it is. Yes, we can maneuver our way through darkness with a positive affirmation, a good word and good deed.