By J. Scott Crossen
It happened, again. This morning I began my usual semi-conscious wobble through the kitchen turning on the coffee maker, television, and plopping my butt on a chair at the table. While leaning on my elbows, rubbing my eyes and running my hands through my hair, my brain eventually caught up to the TV monologue: Murders, robberies, rapes, natural disasters, animal cruelty, and, of course, war. The bulk of this negative input was absorbed in the first few minutes of waking up and I found myself dipping into a sense of helplessness and despair.
Fortunately, I had a meeting planned with an upbeat friend, Miles, whom I’ve known most of my life. Miles is the type of person who can bring a smile to anyone’s face no matter how down one might be. So much so that his nickname is Smiles. There’s a perpetual grin etched into his face and calm eyes, and he’s always quick with a joke. I so looked forward to seeing Miles for a more positive perspective on life.
While driving to meet Miles, out of habit, I turned on a radio news channel and it happened, again; wham – money scams, political controversy, economic uncertainty, bank scandals, international turbulence, and more. By the time I arrived a big energy lift was needed and Miles would be the answer.
When I saw Miles he wasn’t Smiles. Instead, he was noticeably down. He looked at me with saddened eyes and it began happening again. “Have you heard what’s going on in the middle-east?” Miles asked, slowly shaking his head. I was taken back by his inquiry and had an uneasy feeling that more was coming. I told him I was aware of the crisis and furthermore of the growing unrest across the mid-west, and on, and on, and on …
A few minutes passed as our discussion drilled down through a variety of negative news and concern for the state of our world. A brief moment of silence occurred when a question coursed through my mind.
“How did this happen?” I asked. Miles raised his eyebrows, slowly lifting his chin from his hands before nodding and letting his chin settle back on his hands. I didn’t need to explain, as obscure as the inquiry was, Miles knew exactly what I was asking. He lifted his head. “Why are we focusing so much on the negative events of our existence rather than looking at the positive,” he mused. “Are we unknowingly contributing to the creation of more depressing events by focusing on the negative reports which permeate our daily information diet?” We just stared at one another.
This presumptive phenomenon appears to be affecting most of the world population. We’re being overfed toxic input from a variety of sources and subsequently programmed and conditioned to think, feel, and act in a corresponding way. By so doing, we continue to power the macabre device of negative energy through our thoughts and correlated actions. Even those who choose to avoid negative input are still indirectly affected by those of us who find it difficult to escape the mental contamination reeking in the gutters of the widely accepted information avenues.
For millennia, wise souls have taught we are one family. Recent scientific studies in quantum physics now demonstrate that we are closer and more connected than few could have imagined even 30 years ago. Assuming we are connected to one another, our thinking ultimately has an effect on each other and the world we live in – as though we are one mind in one body. Setting aside quantum theories, Newtonian physics posit that for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. Throughout history we find statements which further promote the belief that our world, if not the universe, is perfectly arranged for cause and effect, action and reaction. Thought is an energy that precedes physical action; therefore thought must also be action – it has an effect. Can any action occur without a reaction?
“As you sow, so shall you reap” The Bible; “Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.” Bhagavad-Gita; “What goes around, comes around.” A modern proverb of US origin. There are many variations of this theme around the world that speak the same truth. If we consider, even for an instant, that we are all truly a part of this planet, that we affect and are affected by each other, then it’s likely our thoughts have a definite and direct affect, in one way or another, on the events unfolding in this life.
In our daily lives, when we wish to improve an unpleasant situation we have choices. It seems sensible to begin by understanding what can or cannot be changed. We may not have a choice in the present of whether or not an event occurs but we always have a choice in how to respond. For example, we cannot change the incidence of earthquakes that have occurred in the South Pacific but we can provide support (prayers, money, volunteering) to help those afflicted by its effects. If, through action, a positive change can be effected then it behooves us to put forth an effort.
Conversely, if we choose to focus solely on the negative interpretation of a situation we are likely contributing to the energy (fear, discontent, and disharmony) that helped bring the circumstance into existence. We can choose to direct our attention to the positive aspects of any condition (they’re there) at any time, and invite a more rewarding outcome. In short, if we can make a positive change let’s do so, otherwise, we should learn to let it go – in summary, it doesn’t serve a constructive outcome to solely dwell or wallow in negative perceptions or interpretations of life’s events.
If what we think effects what we experience it results in two fundamental questions – what do we want to experience in our lives? And, how can we stop functioning as receptors and generators of negative energy?
Assuming we want to experience more positivity in our lives, we can begin by limiting, turning away or turning off the sources of contrasting energy – TV, radio, unpleasant people and negative news media.
Afterwards, what if each time a negative thought enters our mind, we replace it with a happy one – a recollection of a happy moment we are living or have lived? If we choose one happy moment in place of fear and negativity, what will the result be? Can we break the addiction of negative energy – are we fed up with the results? Whenever the urge or habit arrives to think or feel negatively, we could instead think and feel a happy thought – just one, for one moment. It shouldn’t be hard to do.
We all have experiences of happiness in our lives that we can relive at any moment by simply choosing to do so. It could be a colorful sunrise or sunset, a breeze through the trees, a wagging tail of a puppy, the smile from a stranger or touch of a loved one, a selfless action, a deep prayer — there are many more. Life in this world is full of happy moments, if only we choose to see them. It starts by acknowledging that no one can force us to think or feel a certain way. We don’t have to allow someone or something else to control our thoughts and emotions.
The next time a negative thought attempts to bully the mind, let’s choose to introduce one happy moment and pay attention to that, instead. At the very least, it’s probable that we will feel more optimism about our circumstances. We’ll then be more able to set a course of corrective action or … let it go. What is there to lose by thinking happy thoughts? What is there to gain? The answer to these questions provides the correct course of action. You and the whole world may benefit.
Beginning today, I choose one happy moment, one at a time, right now.