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Thought Power

--by Swami Sivananda (Nov 02, 2009)


Be careful of your thoughts. Whatever you send out of your mind, comes back to you. Every thought you think, is a boomerang. If you hate another, hate will come back to you. If you love others, love will come back to you. An evil thought is thrice cursed. First, it harms the thinker by doing injustice to his mental body. Secondly, it harms the person who is its object. Lastly, it harms all mankind by vitiating the whole mental atmosphere.

Every evil thought is as a sword drawn on the person to whom it is directed. If you entertain thoughts of hatred, you are really a murderer of that man against whom you foster thoughts of hatred. You are your own suicide, because these thoughts rebound upon you only. A mind tenanted by evil thoughts acts as a magnet to attract like thoughts from others and thus intensifies the original evil. Evil thoughts thrown into the mental atmosphere poison receptive minds. To dwell on an evil thought gradually deprives it of its repulsiveness and impels the thinker to perform an action which embodies it.

Very carefully watch all your thoughts. Suppose you are assailed by gloomy thoughts. You experience depression. Take a small cup of milk or tea. Sit calmly. Close your eyes. Find out the cause for the depression and try to remove the cause. The best method to overcome the gloomy thoughts and the consequent depression, is to think of inspiring thoughts and inspiring things. Remember again, positive overcomes negative. This is a grand effective law of nature.  [...]

The science of thought power is very interesting and subtle. This thought-world is more real relatively than this physical universe. The power of thought is very great. Every thought of yours has a literal value to you in every possible way. The strength of your body, the strength of your mind, your success in life and the pleasures you give to others by your company - all depend on the nature and quality of your thoughts. You must know thought-culture, and develop thought power.

--Swami Sivananda, in 'Thought Power'


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17 Previous Reflections:

 
On Oct 17, 2012 S.Lakshmi wrote:
 It is an excellent and easy to understand

On Feb 15, 2010 Rucha wrote:

Thank you! Thank you! Reading these pieces is sometimes a morning ritual for me. What an expansive and empowering way to start the day.  



On Dec 7, 2009 senskhalid wrote:

The answer to this sort of observation is that the act and deeds performed during the state of wakefulness leave their
impression only when one is attentive for them and all the acts and deeds are performed during alert consciousness, that
is, impression of an act or deed establishes only when it is accepted mentally. When the acts and deeds of wakefulness
and dreams are compared, it is observed that if, during wakefulness we are attentive for something then it has some
significance otherwise it has no importance at all and is not more than a thought.
 



On Nov 13, 2009 sabyasachi sanyal wrote:

It is excellent topic and everyone should read to develop his thought power and motivation for work.The cotrol of thinking with positve attitude is needed for achievement in life.



On Nov 9, 2009 Garima wrote:

Its a wonderful read and will definitely help most of us today!!



On Nov 8, 2009 Somik Raha wrote:

This was a very deep passage, rich with powerful metaphors, and here are a few thoughts. First, how does thought indeed travel, like a boomerang? It seems to me that thoughts are preceded with and succeeded by vibrations. When some vibration comes up within my body and nerves, and I label it as a certain kind of feeling, certain thoughts arise in response. When I think certain thoughts, more feelings arise as a response, which are millions of atoms and molecules in my body vibrating in a certain way. Given that the environment around us is also full of such atoms and molecules, it stands to scientific scrutiny to posit that some of my inner vibrations will make a difference to the outer environment. Depending on the strength of these vibrations, others will pick them up from the outer environment and receive them within. At a very gross level, we see this happening through sound energy, when we speak and generate sound vibrations. These are picked up by others and processed for meanin  See full.

This was a very deep passage, rich with powerful metaphors, and here are a few thoughts.

First, how does thought indeed travel, like a boomerang? It seems to me that thoughts are preceded with and succeeded by vibrations. When some vibration comes up within my body and nerves, and I label it as a certain kind of feeling, certain thoughts arise in response. When I think certain thoughts, more feelings arise as a response, which are millions of atoms and molecules in my body vibrating in a certain way. Given that the environment around us is also full of such atoms and molecules, it stands to scientific scrutiny to posit that some of my inner vibrations will make a difference to the outer environment. Depending on the strength of these vibrations, others will pick them up from the outer environment and receive them within. At a very gross level, we see this happening through sound energy, when we speak and generate sound vibrations. These are picked up by others and processed for meaning and responded to. But at a subtle level, when I don't speak, I am still participating in this process of receiving and transmitting vibrations. Nipun pointed out that studies have shown how negative vibrations and positive vibrations left behind after a meeting can be picked up by people who come in a little later.

The second thought was on the claim that "This thought-world is more real relatively than this physical universe." The truth of this claim can be seen from our own experience. When I am totally engrossed in a thought activity, I lose perception of the world around me. I don't notice that I'm hungry or thirsty, that I need to go to the restroom, that it is hot or cold, etc. My perception of the universe is largely a result of the thought-world I am in, and it can and does trump what is so at the physical level.

The third thought, which I didn't share in the group to keep it short, was on the business of dwelling on an evil thought. The author has gone to the root of himsa (or violence) and explained how physical manifestations of violence are but a downstream expression of deep-rooted violence in the mind that happened much earlier. But, one question may be raised. When we meditate and observe our thoughts, both positive and negative stop bothering us. How is it then that by dwelling on the negative and receiving the same effect (of not being bothered by such thoughts), we end up on a very different path? I think the answer lies in the metaphor of "dwelling.' The word "dwell" means to live in residence. Effectively, it is about how and where we choose to confine ourselves. Observing on the other hand, is like being a traveler who passes through the dwelling while it is under construction, and notices the raw materials that are going into creating it. The observer is shocked by the non-realization of the dwellers that the materials are rotting, and will only lead to disease and infirmity. But the dwellers do not realize this - they are now used to the rot. Their seeming equanimity comes from the space of ignorance. The observer now has compassion for the dwellers - they do not see it as it is. But that compassion is also born out of ignorance, which is realized the moment the observer realizes that the observer and the dweller are one and the same. Then, the observer wakes up. There is no contradiction, and the author has used sharp words to drive home the distinction between creating a dwelling and observing the creation.

The final thought is on the third paragraph, where the author says that the best method to overcome depression is to think inspiring thoughts. Doesn't this fly in the face of instructions of meditation, where we are required to "not think" - and simply observe what happens? How do we reconcile the two ideas here? When I thought more about this, I realized that he isn't talking about any random positive thoughts (like watching a movie or going to a bar). He is talking about inspiring thoughts - we can only be inspired when we remember something about ourselves, and our sense of freedom increases. We recognize that power in ourselves through some trigger, be it a dualistic form of what some might call "God," or an attachment to what others might call "selfless service." When such an inspiration happens, the positive part of me develops the strength of a giant, crushing the negative which have now been dwarfed. 

I remembered my time in a 10-day meditation seminar, where around the middle, I was having serious doubts about my ability to complete it. As I took a walk around the premises of the retreat, I noticed the tall trees that stood up to the scorching sun, without complaining, and didn't stop being true to their nature of giving shade. The lovely flowers which would often be covered by the dusty of our feet would not stop blooming - that was their nature and they would be true to it to the day they died. And here I was, not being able to recognize my own nature and complaining about this and that. At the next meditation session, I had been so inspired by the tree and the flower, that I call on them for help as my meditation teachers. As these thoughts multiplied, the negative thoughts on wanting to run away diminished, and were completely vanquished. Although my body was weak, I had never felt so strong before. I knew what the outcome of the next few days would be and there was no more trouble (there was still pain and all of the scary stuff, but it didn't scare anymore). 

After remembering this, I realized that the author has shared with us a masterful insight of meditation. Theoretical meditation is about observing your thoughts, opening both the front door and the back door of your mind and letting the thoughts go through. Practical meditation is a battlefield! The forces of good and evil are stacked up against each other, and we must feed the positive so the negative is forced out. When the feeling of power and confidence has set in, only then will we have the strength to become an outsider in our own mind and observe our thoughts. We need an awareness of our  inner strength to observe our mind, at the same time, the observation increases our awareness of our inner strength. They feed on each other.

I liked Guri's ending comment about the practicality of this idea. 

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On Nov 7, 2009 Shabbir Latif wrote:

I am reading "Biology of Beliefs" by Dr. Bruce Lipton. The research of epigenetic shows how our thoughts affects environment around cells in our body. Excellent read on this topic.



On Nov 5, 2009 patsy nicholls wrote:

How interesting and important it is that we become conscious of the power we have in and with our thoughts.

IT'S time to take up our responsibility for thought and the energy it creates. Its time to build a more meaningful relationship we our very own thoughts.



On Nov 5, 2009 Ashley wrote:

I just stumbled onto your website. I'll keep the things I've read here in mind. I've been very, very depressed lately, so perhaps a change in thinking is in order. It certainly wouldn't hinder the thought process. A friend told me last night that I need to stay positive, and to remember you don't find happines, you make your own.



On Nov 4, 2009 Sanjeev Verma wrote:

 This is an excellent passage. Mind is an important component of our existence. According to Yogic philosophy every being consists of five layers: Physical, Vital Air (Prana), Mind, Intelligence and Self (Soul).  Prana ( Vital air) is subtle than Physical; Mind is subtle than Intelligence and Self is subtle than intelligence. Yoga basically means the union of all five layers. Yoga starts with physical exercise ( physical poses), Breathing exercise ( Vital Air) followed by Mediattion ( union with Mind) and ultimately Samadhi ( union with self). This also explains why group meditation is so powerful.

 

Sanjeev

 



On Nov 4, 2009 patsy wrote:

Dale is not correct. You are your mind. You are your body. You are your emotions. You are here in this physical plane for a reason. Don't imagine that you can or should negate this precious opportunity of experience. It will be over soon enough.

The Christ said that if you think it you have done it. What you do to one you do to all. You are one. The cultivation of positive thoughts is a constant and difficult (for me) process. Thank you for saying the positive overcomes the negative. This gives me strength.



On Nov 3, 2009 Dhara wrote:

Wow, this is so simple yet profound!  It makes sense and I loved every word of it.  It served as a great reminder for me today and going forward how much power our thoughts really do have and it has inspired me to be more observant of my thoughts.

Thank you for taking the time to bring this passage to all of us! 



On Nov 3, 2009 T wrote:

Wow!  Very powerful, our thoughts can control everthing.



On Nov 3, 2009 dale wrote:

This is a very weak teaching. The mind is the mind and will do what it does.  Our responsibility is to transcend the mind throught realization that we are not our minds.  Tinkering around with positive and negative thoughts keeps us spiraling in an endless loop.  The only way out is to stop messing with the mind and turn attention to that which is beyond mind, beyond positive and negative, to that which is already peace, that which is already still.  That teaches us. 



On Nov 3, 2009 nancy L wrote:

Thank you for the reminder to stay positive.  During these difficult economic times it is easy to blame others.  Thinking positive thoughts and abvoiding blame and anger is smarter and healthier.  There is much more to enjoy and be grateful for.  Remeber to laugh. 



On Nov 3, 2009 Subha wrote:

"Thought Power"....... The each word said in thought power is absolutely a real one.There is an adage"As a man thinketh so is he".So Its all in our thoughts to shape ourself and our atmosphere good or bad................



On Nov 3, 2009 parijat wrote:

I really enjoy the postings. This one is interesting as an example of the older style of teaching -- this is how it is. It's simple get it done. It can give hope because it is so clear; alternately, is it really that simple?

I have been curious about Barbara Ehrenrich's new book "Bright-Sided," which challenges positive thinking and the idea that if you change your thoughts you change your experience. She critiques that whole idea -- hard core. Thoughts?