To live well I must live in such a way that I remain within a flow of good thinking. Various tasks, pressures and bad habits can confuse thinking, and, as a result take me off center.
It’s no accident that 12 Step programs and various spiritual teachers through the centuries recommend daily prayer that our thoughts be guided. The importance of this practice has come back to me of late – asking, . . . just asking that my thoughts be directed by a Power greater than myself. Left to my own devices, I quickly get off course. But left open to a Power greater than myself who can restore me to right thinking (aka “sanity), I feel more grounded and more useful to others. This openess comes from clearing out as much as possible that which gets in the way of clear thinking and bouncing things off of other people. Again, left to my own devices, my own thoughts, in isolation from a Divine Power or other people, I quickly get off course.
God, direct my thinking today!
I have often thought that if we had a National News program that gave us 30 minutes of nothing but good news, it would gradually have a transforming affect on the nation.
With the advent of 24/7 news channels we can be constantly inundated with news, much of it bad news – the unbelievably wrong things that are happening in the world and in people’s lives. Precious little time is given to anything good that is happening. These 24/7 New stations compete for viewers and, knowing this, must sensationalize as much as possible, doing the most possible to wave their hands and say: Watch me! Watch me! Such attention getting leads to a mentality where the more out of the ordinary the news can be, the better. And increasingly, not only are the so called “facts” presented, but we have unending “commentary” on the News of the day just to fill time. And, of course, in order to get attention, some of this commentary is often skewed and adversarial.
When it comes to the News, the political landscape or the like, give me the facts. Just give me the facts and allow me the consideration of drawing my own conclusions!
Also, give me some good news! Our blood pressure and anxiety levels are high enough. Whether we know it or not, the incessant stream of bad news creates and adds to this. Again, I cannot help but think that if we had more good news, it would gradually have a transforming effect on the Nation and the world. Perhaps we could begin to realize that, contrary to what we might think watching the News, most people are basically good and this world isn’t as frightening as we think it might be. What we think will create more of what we’re thinking about. Perhaps if we had more good news, we would begin to think good thoughts and, in so doing, create more of that in our world.
Last night I picked up a Benedictine Daily Prayer book to pray “Compline,” which is a prayer that completes and closes the day. I used to pray those prayers for years in the seminary, but hadn’t prayed in that way in quite a while. I’m not sure that I was praying or just reading through it. I was, however, struck by the message I was clearly receiving. And I am amazed what happens if we are open and respond to promptings within. Something compelled me to open that book and this is what I read:
“You have put into my heart a greater joy than they have from an abundance of corn and new wine.” Psalm 4
“With length of days I will content you; I shall let you see my saving power.” Psalm 90
“With my own eyes I see the salvation you prepared for all peoples!” Luke 2: 29-32
I was particularly struck by the passage from Luke. I had always remembered hearing “With my own eyes I HAVE seen the salvation prepared for all peoples.” I was struck that is was here in the present tense, “I SEE salvation prepared for all peoples.” The message was clear. A reminder that I am indeed seeing NOW the power of the Universe, the Divine Spirit. It is not something in the future, but something that I am seeing NOW. And this indeed brings a joy that far surpasses any passing pleasure found in things (aka, “an abundance of corn and new wine”). It is worth more than gold and brings an energy and excitement that is palatable. As I laid the book down, I gently smiled, grateful for this reminder and most grateful that I was indeed seeing good manifested in my life and the lives of others I have held in thought. One woman is seeing signs of physical healing. One other has been given the gift of realizing how very strong she is by confronting an injustice. Another is being opened to healing in his life as a result of her confrontation. Attachments slowly begin to fall away within me. Greater consciousness awakens.
Are you seeing NOW, a Power and Energy at work within you and those you hold in good thought? As you watch your thoughts, what positive things are beginning to manifest in your life and the life of the world?
As a musician I am sensitive to music’s vibration. This vibration contains within it the power to literally move us. Just think of it, something we can’t really see, a vibration, unites hearts, makes us cry, moves us to dance, to exercise, to relax and to inspiration. At times it gets us motivated and keeps us moving. At other times it slows us down and is like a peaceful calm to our spirits. It lifts us up to inspiration and places on our lips words and melodies that can unlock the depths of the heart and give expression to what may otherwise lay dormant within us.
If we can perceive that this invisible vibration has the power to move matter, is it such a stretch to believe that thought can move matter; to believe in a Force, Universe Energy, God or whatever we want to call it, that has the power to change and move matter?
Are my thoughts in vibrational harmony with what I want to create and who I want to be on this planet? Do my thoughts sap the Life Force from me, . . .or do they create an energy that makes me dance?
Do right. Love goodness. Walk humbly.
See Micah 6: 6-8
What struck me in this reading were the two words “love goodness.” Initially I thought, who wouldn’t want to love goodness? When I thought about it more, it became clear that my thoughts often quickly go from concentrating on what is good to concentrating on what is wrong. It is when I “love goodness,” when my thoughts are on what is good, instead of what is wrong that I walk well in life.
If I keep my thoughts on what is good, good is what I will perceive and experience. If I keep my thoughts on what is good, good is what will flow from my life and actions. I will do right and I will walk humbly. If I am concentrating on what is good in the world and in myself, that is what I will manifest to the world and that is what I will bring out of others.
At times it’s difficult to keep our thoughts on what is good. This or that idiosyncrasy in another or ourselves, this person who holds this or that opinion, and many other things can make it difficult to keep our thoughts on what is good. With practice however, we can go the silent place within, the place of eternity – where one little bothersome thing that I am experiencing in my present seems as nothing in light of eternity. Can I pause when I am upset, put some “space” between what is upsetting me and not allow it to control me?
Are my thoughts focused on what is good today?
Matthew 11: 20-24
We sometimes see, but we still don’t believe. Miracles happen, even little ones, but we sometimes pass it off as a coincidence or a fluke. We quickly go back to old patterns of thinking and behavior and go our merry, or not so merry, way. Jesus, in this Gospel is very frustrated, to the point of being pissed. The people see miracles all around them, but they don’t change, they don’t believe, they don’t “re-form.” Instead, they stay in the same patterns of thinking and behavior. “I see it, but that will never happen to me!” And, ironically, such disbelief keeps them grasping and hoarding whatever little they can get and pits them one against the other. If they believed in abundance, if they believed that good things happen all the time, they would no longer feel the need to hoard and grasp, or worry and fret about the future. Don’t we all do that?
I have recently become aware that a few things that I have been intentionally placing my attention on, my thoughts, are coming to pass. I am seeing these things slowly manifest in my life and in the lives of others. I see this, yet so easily can go back to negative patterns of thinking; and when I do, negative things inevitably come to pass! Can I open my eyes today and see even some small movement, some small growth, some small “miracle?” If I keep my attention on that (aka, believe!), then it will go well for me, others and the world that I hold in positive thought.
One more thought before I end today. The synchronicity of Life continues to amaze me. As I said, I have begun to realize the past couple of days that a few things I have placed my attention on are beginning to manifest in my life. This morning in my meditation I found myself thinking: “Hmm, . . . Maybe this stuff really works??!” On my way to work, I slowly came to a stop for a red light. As I sat there, I looked at the car in front of me, which had a bumper sticker on it. It said: “Expect Miracles” I smiled to myself. Perhaps that in itself was a miracle.
Yesterday morning I ran into a friend of mine while walking and she told me about how she used to practice Yoga when she was younger. She said it was good exercise for her and involved slow, deliberate movements which stretched and relaxed her and aligned her energy. She described an exercise she used to do, like a guided meditation, where our eyes are closed and we tell our bodies to relax, beginning with our feet and going all the way up to our hair. She said: “I could literally feel my body relaxing as I told each part to relax!”
Any of us who have done such a guided relaxation meditation know that what my friend said is true!
When we doubt the power of the mind to manifest thought into reality, perhaps it would help us to think of this. If our mind, our thoughts can relax parts of our body – just by thinking about it relaxing – why is it so hard to believe that our thoughts cannot manifest other things into reality?
I become more and more convinced of this and, consequently, more and more convinced of the importance of watching what I’m thinking about. If I have consistent thoughts which make me feel good – then good will be made manifest in my life. If I have consistent thoughts which make me feel bad – then most probably that will be the reality that I experience! Wayne Dyer says this in one of his talks on The Power of Intention: “If you change the way you look at things the things you look at change.” (I highly recommend a listen to these talks which you can purchase on CD) I love that quote and find it increasingly true in my life. If I look at things in a positive way, that is what I see and experience in my life. If I am in a bad mood and look at things in a negative way – that is the reality that manifests into my day. However, if I begin to look at a seemingly negative thing or happening in my life in a positive way, if I am able to look at the opportunity in this “negative,” even that negative happening can become a positive experience. “Everything is possible to the person who trusts!” (cf, Mark 9: 14-29)
How am I thinking about things today?