DialogueYou may have read or heard from a variety of sources that we humans have something upwards of 60,000 thoughts a day. 60,000. I’m not sure how one actually calculates such a precise number. I conjure up images of some sort of thought gatekeeper with one of those clicking devices in hand. There they watch, pressing and pressing with each passing mental reflection that flows through the various lobes of my brain, including the ones that are conscious or unconscious, the ones obsessed over or vaporized in an instant. Regardless the precise number, I’m sure we can all agree that there is a hell of a lot of them running through our minds everyday.
If you juxtaposed this calculation with the idea that everything is energy, then each of those 60,00 thoughts are like vibrating, electrical blasts, darting out all around us and blanketing us with a sort of Harry Potter’ish invisible cloak or aura of thought energy. This cloak is woven with the common themes of those vast amounts of mental impressions. If I am consistently focused on how unfair life is, then I am ‘wearing’ that unfairness like a second skin. The human eye can’t readily detect the actual mass of vibrations but one can certainly sense and feel them like a scent detection trained dog knowing when its quest is around. We catch the vibe of one another long before a word is spoken.
Recently, I picked up the New York Times bestselling book E-Squared by Pam Grout. This fabulous and fun book of energy experiments compared those multi thousand thoughts to prayers. If every thought is the equivalent of an initiated prayer, then we are positively praying with unwavering knowing or praying with apprehensive wishing, sending out dubious impressions of stress and fear. Grout pointedly writes how we mistakenly consider one prayer for guidance or peace to be enough to get the job done for a corresponding answer, yet follow that prayer with a 1000 plus thoughts (prayers) that are the repetitive doubt-drenched ones of anxiousness and despair and, given the odds, that one tiny prayer doesn’t have a…well, a prayer to survive. We tend to immediately negate the one conscious thought of desire with an avalanche of innumerable thoughts on why it can’t or won’t happen.
What genuinely struck me as a sobering wake up call was the author’s explanation that those 60,000 thoughts don’t just evaporate at the end of the day making room for a fresh 60,000 to be freshly minted the following morning. No. What we do as creatures of habit, is go back and recycle a vast majority of them from the prior day, week, year and perhaps much longer.
This kind of repetitive pulsating energy stays locked within a seemingly inescapable groove or rut within our consciousness. Think a needle on a record unable to slide across the vinyl and thus playing the same note of the melody or word of the song over and over and over again. No evolving of thought – no evolving in circumstance.
What to do?
Intellectually we understand that we have the capability to change the thought but to change ones mental thematic structure, consistently, doesn’t seem to be as highly valued as one would believe. If it were, then the world would be awash with liberation and the demonstrations through social constructs would be our planetary norm. It’s like revealing to someone that there truest freedom lies within their mind. If they choose mental freedom faithfully, the rest of the earthly freedoms must follow.
And, as with any sustaining action, what rises to the top of our meaningful and committed lifestyle choices are the things we are willing to work towards developing. If I’ve wanted to pursue a career in tennis, then my energies have been and continue to be invested in the craft of all things tennis. Not only do I purchase the necessary equipment but also I show up at courts and engage in the game. I develop friendships with those who are like-minded. I train and practice. Most importantly, I make time in my life’s schedule to be involved in the game and the continued development of my technique.
There is no difference with pursuing a ‘career’ in conscious thinking and making the most of my 60,000 thoughts a day. Its development is unilateral to the energy I invest in deliberately choosing higher qualities of thought in the exact moment I become aware they are needed.
To evolve you must be involved
In order to dance with others you must move away from simply leaning on the wall and get out on the dance floor. To be a player in the game you have to excel beyond being a sidelined benchwarmer to becoming a designated player. It’s the most elementary level advice to anyone who wants to experience being a part of something greater. If you’re willing to use the gift of your mind for a greater purpose then you have to involve yourself in the process. You have to be willing to become aware of your limited thinking and your thought crime mentally. Maintaining animosity towards another does nothing to the other person. More accurately, it consumes a vast amount of those 60,000 daily thoughts. And if it’s an old grudge, compounded, layer upon layer, with the same embittered focus, and then your thought aura is repellent and toxic. You will magnetize others who, like you, are equally toxic and your collective energies will align in a continual pushback of anything conscious and elevated. Your solution? Be willing to be aware. If you are willing to be aware of your limited beliefs simply ask to be shown. Your ‘ask’ will be met with daily examples of how you are employing your thoughts with worry – worrying about how you’ll pay the rent this month or your student loan. Your ‘ask’ will reveal your explicit use of thought regarding resentments around your father for not supporting you, your boss for not appreciating you, your spouse or companion for taking you for granted, all the while fueling your daily allotment of thought with dense, destructive energy. Your ‘ask’ will show just how short your patience fuse is when it comes to traveling inconveniences or store clerk neglect. Each of these moments of awareness is your sweet spot to transformation. Without first becoming aware of the volume of negativity inside us, we can never fully begin the process of transmuting them to the positive. To evolve must be precipitated by a willing involvement in examining our day-to-day human experience and allowing it to become our classroom.
For a beginning suggestion, instead of becoming angry at the traffic, take some deep breaths and marvel at the inventions of machinery and roadways that make traveling possible. Send out ‘traveling mercies’ to every moving body you see for a duration of ten to twenty minutes then take stock in how you physically feel. Pick it back up again and continue. Memorize poetry.
Once, during a ghastly commute in Southern California for a 6-month job, I determined that I could either let the nature of this commute remain hellish or I could use that time to memorize a collection of Rumi poems that I had come to admire. I chose the latter and the quality of that morning drive changed completely. Each week I mastered, line for line, a new poem and I felt enriched and eager to get in the car. I got involved in my evolution and I refurbished my daily 60,000 thoughts to be far more substantive and healthy.
Your technique becomes your testimony – The 3-D Technique
The way you develop a personal practice or technique around conscious thinking becomes your individual stamp on its effectiveness. Your technique becomes your testimony. It becomes a blueprint for you to build and evolve within your mind what it is you desire to become as well as how to get you there. My current technique, dubbed The 3-D Technique, starts with getting clear on my desire.
Sometimes it is about a specific thing and sometimes I am led to go beyond the thing and to explore more deeply what the thing represents (is it money or is it the freedom that money brings; is it just a job or is it a healthy creative forum in which to express). If I desire employment and I lock in on one specific position in one specific company, I can shut out other opportunities that I may be unaware of. What’s the desire behind getting that job? Creative fulfillment? I can let my desire expand into a ‘this or something better’ mindset and stay true towards a devotion to getting clearer on what that creative environment and camaraderie feels like. I stay open to the infinite positions that are eager to have me as the perfect candidate. Likewise, I may feel strongly about the specifics surrounding a desire. For example, after choosing to self publish my latest book, The Grass Is Greener Right Here, I researched ways to help expand its marketing. My desire was specific in getting greater exposure for the years plus work I had put into the books creation. An email appeared in my inbox about a certain award offered to independent writers. I explored its legitimacy and felt comfortable submitting my work. Next, I became devoted to the book being recognized.
I spent daily time over the course of several months imagining a setting where my book would be awarded. I crafted and practiced a speech. I reviewed the actual award details (gold, silver, bronze medals in selected categories and being held in New York City) and was delighted at the synchronicity of already being scheduled to speak in Manhattan at an event just three days prior to the awards ceremony. I extended my reservation in order to grant greater devotion to my desire even though, as yet, there was no announcement of the outcome. I ‘saw’ daily in my devotion that rush of excitement regarding the winning announcement. Next, I began to dialogue audibly my prepared speech.
I worked and reworked what I would say and how I would share the news with others. Every time I got behind the wheel of my car, my mental rehearsal began. It was energizing and fun. And this technique became my testimony. I won the silver medal for best inspirational/spiritual book for the 2015 publishing year from thousands of submissions.
Grow Your Prayer Up
Like I mentioned in the beginning, if thoughts are synonymous with prayers, then how do I begin to move them out of a spiraling rut to a spiraling up? How do I begin to take responsibility for the power of this energy that is the essential me, which is forever flowing from me to the outer world?
I must begin to acknowledge that the energy of my thought and word has a life well after it has been uttered. If nature is that of a continuing ripple, sound wave or vibration, then it influences all the things in its wake. The condemning thought keeps condemning and the affirming thought keeps affirming. It is the affirming prayer that leads us out of the rut and into a spiraling up of demonstration and experience.
I discovered long ago that if I were to grow into the being I longed to be then my prayer would have to grow as well. I began studying and subsequently teaching the attributes of an affirming style of prayer for more than thirty years. I’ve watched this deliberate use of thought energy deliver precisely its corresponding manifestation countless times and in countless ways. The steps to creating an affirming prayer structure are easy to follow.
First, recognize that there is a Power in the Universe that is greater than we are and we have every right to use it. By whatever name you choose to describe It, be it God, Allah, Atman, Source, the Divine, Supreme Intelligence, Originating Life, the one praying must allow their minds to comprehend the Allness of this Divine Being and determine It’s Omnipresence. You might say, “God is ALL that there is, everywhere present, running in and through all things, all circumstances, an ever-existing presence.”
Next I would humbly and gratefully unify myself with that Presence. If it is in all, then I must be included in that. I must be a channel of that Divine nature and so I begin to see that I am not praying to something outside of me, some deity in a heaven separate from me, but praying/affirming as God, the declarative form of language that speaks and commands the desire into existence. Then I move into a realization that the thing I long to speak and affirm is already created. Through my affirmation, I select and choose its existence as my own, seeing it all around me, interwoven throughout every facet of my life. My need is no longer a wish desired but an affirmation fulfilled. I declare that all the barriers to my having this affirmed desire are now removed so that I can see its manifestation and welcome it without resistance. I move next into a space of complete gratitude. I understand this process is the working of the indisputable Law of Cause and Effect, forever operating faithfully according to my belief. And lastly, I release the mechanics of it, the ‘how’ it is to be worked out by Law through accepting its means will come in ways expected and unexpected. I let it go with a full and lasting satisfaction that all I desire and affirm is mine by the very right of my loyal conscious knowing that it is so.
In so doing, I grow up prayerfully. I become a part of the solution in revealing a world that works for everyone and I capitalize upon the immense and yet to be discovered potentiality that beckons to be uncovered within me.