Thought has been the subject of many wonderful books. My earliest exposure to the power of thought was through James Allen's book, As a Man Thinketh. In this little book the author reveals how your thoughts create harmony or chaos in every aspect of life.
Thoughts affect us in a number of ways. Thoughts are a vital tool in creating the reality we experience. They create our emotional states. They affect our bodies and, therefore, our health. Thoughts influence our responses to life and our relationships. Thoughts determine our choices.
Take a moment to write down three thoughts you have had today. Do not make this too complicated. Simply write down three thoughts you have had in the last 24 hours. Any three thoughts will do. Please do this before you read the next section. It will help you to apply those ideas to your life. Record these thoughts in your journal.
Categories of Thoughts Thoughts can be divided into three broad categories: what I want, or positive thoughts; what I can do, or action thoughts; what I don't want, or worry thoughts. Most thought is about the future or the past. Very few of us are able to stay centered in the present moment. For the sake of clarity, let us assume I have an upcoming surgery that is occupying most of my thoughts. If I am thinking about how fortunate I am to have an excellent surgeon, I am thinking positive thoughts. If I am thinking about the activities I need to do to prepare for the surgery, I am thinking action thoughts. If I am thinking about what can go wrong in surgery, I am thinking worry thoughts.
Worry Thoughts If you were surprised to find most of your thoughts were worry thoughts, you are not alone. Most people are not aware of their thoughts. They go through the day with uncensored mental programming playing in the background of their minds. They experience feelings and reactions that they do not understand.
They believe their emotions and thoughts are something that happens to them; something over which they have little or no control. Many people feel it is their duty to worry. They adamantly defend their worry thoughts. They believe that if they do not worry they have not done all they could to prevent something negative from happening.
These people resist positive thoughts because they see no value in them. In their mind thoughts cannot affect the outcome of a situation, so why waste time thinking positive. It is almost as if the negative thoughts are preparing them for the worst possible scenario. For most worry thinkers, such mental activity is learned behavior based on faulty information about the power of thoughts.
Let us examine some of the premises upon which worry thinking is based. Note which of the statements listed below seem true to you. These may be some of the beliefs out of which your worry thinking has developed. My thoughts are a reflection of who I am. I cannot control them, they simply happen to me.
You are not your thoughts. Thoughts are an activity of your mind. You have the right and the responsibility to choose your thoughts. Your thoughts are based on the things you believe about the world. They are a perfect reflection of your core beliefs, not your True Identity. At some point in your life you accepted certain belief systems out of which your thoughts are formed. You can change your beliefs and your thoughts. Many of my thoughts are unconscious; therefore, I can not know what they are.
Thoughts are readily available in your mind. You may not easily see them because you do not consciously listen to your thoughts. You allow them to play repetitively in the background of your mind. When you focus your awareness on your thoughts you will be amazed at what you spend your time thinking. My thoughts have no effect on my emotions or the events of my life.
Emotion follows thought. If you are thinking positive thoughts you will feel hopeful and uplifted. Worry thoughts create fear and anxiety. Worry thoughts inhibit the flow of energy blocking you from taking action in your life. Positive thoughts stimulate activity, assisting you in transforming your life. Worry thoughts keep you from seeing options, blinding you to possible solutions to your problems. Positive thought relaxes your thinking processes allowing you to see new ideas and recognize opportunities.
The fear and anxiety caused by worry thoughts will flow into your personal relationships, creating discord and conflict. The joy caused by positive thinking will improve every aspect of your life. Positive thought enhances the body's immune system, while worry thoughts inhibit the body's natural healing response. If I do not worry, I have not done all I can to prevent disaster from happening in my life.
As I mentioned earlier, worry thoughts inhibit action. Action thoughts are fundamental to preventing disaster. When you have taken all the action there is to do, thinking positive thoughts is the most productive action you can take. There is no positive benefit to worrying.
If I spend all my time thinking positive thoughts and disaster comes anyway, I would have wasted my time.
I believe faith and positive thought create positive events in your life; but, even if that were not true, thinking positive thoughts has tremendous benefits for you. Positive thoughts create healing, produce enjoyable emotions, and reduce the stress in your life. Positive thought stimulates you to look for solutions to your situation and increases the energy you have to take action. Positive thought makes the journey worthwhile no matter what the outcome.
Someone once asked Patricia Sun, a spiritual teacher, what would happen when she died and found out she was wrong about the philosophy of joy she was teaching. Patricia laughed and said, “You mean what would I do if I discovered I had been having all this fun for nothing?” I am sure you can see the absurdity of the question! If I don't worry, I won't be prepared for the worst possible scenario.
If the worst possible scenario does happen, you will have plenty of time to be upset when it arrives. Spending months in anxiety does not prepare you for anything. You can not pre-experience emotions caused by a disaster. Worrying ahead of time will simply weaken you, limiting your natural ability to cope with crisis or loss.
Thoughts As A Tool of Creation If you want to learn to soar above every situation in your life, you must learn to use your thoughts to create the reality of your choice. Earlier we discussed the way thought affects our emotions, responses, and our ability to see options and take actions. Thoughts, combined with emotion, create specific outcomes in your life. You can use thoughts to create the events in your life and not simply to affect how you respond to events life brings to you.
Thoughts combined with emotion are fundamental to creation. When people first learn about the power of thought, they fear every passing thought. It is not random thoughts which create your reality; it is those thoughts you predominately have which produce such a powerful effect in your life.
Creating reality with thought is similar to the process of hypnosis. You must focus all of your attention on the thoughts of what you want to create. Combined with an intense feeling, your thought goes forth to produce what you desire.