by Glen Ford
No, I do not mean the power of positive thinking. That concept too often gets sidetracked into “God is in heaven and all is right with the world” or “Everything is as it should be” or “La-La-La everything’s fine”. God may well be in heaven, He can be anywhere He wants, but all is not right with the world. There are problems in the world: poverty, hunger, wars, social injustice, and political corruption. Do you really believe all is as it should be? I do not. No amount of positive thinking alone will do a damn thing about it, wishing will not make it so. There is work to be done. Sticking our collective heads in the sand with the La-la-la everything’s fine attitude does not solve anything. It is a delusion and just ignores the problems which will eventually step up and bite us someplace that will be unpleasant.
If I am not a part of the solution I am a part of the problem. A positive attitude is essential but inadequate. First I (should) believe that what I do matters. Why? Because it does! Number 1 in the Pattern on the Trestleboard tells me
“I am a center of expression for the Primal Will-to-Good which eternally creates and sustains the Universe”. Then I must take action!
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people do nothing.”
This quote is out there in several variations; it is not my pearl of wisdom. Who said it is a matter of dispute. It has been attributed to Edmund Burke and John Stuart Mill among others. It is an interesting trail if you care to research it some. Regardless of who said it first and in which version, I believe that the concept it conveys is true. Great or small, what I do or fail to do by my inaction contributes to the ongoing process of creation. It is a matter of critical mass. Positive, negative or indifferent, my small contribution can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back or the feather that tips the scale towards justice.
I may not be able to control what happens in the world, but I can exert a measure of control on my thoughts and actions. What I think about all day long, gets put into my subconscious mind and expands in my life. I must be careful what I tell subconscious. It does not care if I have the courage of my convictions; it is unable to discern if what I put in is true. Subconscious is always running in the background to bring what I tell it into manifestation. Garbage in garbage out, so right thinking becomes the key factor. This is important because the problems in my personal life and of the world are not in the sphere of my control; but what I think and express in words and action do have an effect, on my problems, on those around me, on my sphere of influence if you will, beyond what I am even aware of. How I exercise my self-conscious control over how I think and what I think is a learned behavior. It requires being conscious and aware to a sufficient degree to decide what I pay attention to and how to build meaning from my observations and experiences.
Those observations and experiences come to me through sensory input, sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. The thing is that the sensory input arrives in my brain as electrical impulses without any meaning. It is the job of my brain as a survival tactic to make some sort of sense out of those impulses, to assign meaning, and over time make up my story. It is also pretty good at filling in any information gaps, but not always with truth. This story is by nature subjective. It is complex. It involves the interaction of intellectual, emotional and instinctual elements. Being completely objective is difficult at best, if even possible. This computer program comes with automatic spell checking built in. It would be great if our brains came with an automatic program called reality check, alas it does not, so we have to work at it.
The animal brain has evolved for survival. It was selected by surviving long enough to procreate. That takes food, shelter, fear (flight or fight), and sex.
I am still alive so my story has gotten some things right at least on the animal level. This is just about the vehicle, the body, but that is not the whole story; I am more than that. I am not just a physical being capable of having spiritual experiences. I am a Spiritual Being having a physical experience. I am not my body, I AM that which animates it.
HUMANS! Human consciousness needs to develop and grow also or what is the point? Life is a bitch and then you die? Human self-reflective conscious awareness allows us to have some input into deciding our course through what lies ahead. This is a good thing, the more, the better. Think, plan, act, accept responsibility, make adjustments, be proactive versus purely reactive. We can learn by dialog or experience. All that is required is that we be willing to take a reasonable amount of risk. If I cannot risk being wrong, that is wrong. I cannot learn or grow. I cannot make adjustments or receive correction. There will be friction, there will be pain, but this is my measure of influence, it is my only real power and it starts with thinking. I must exercise it if I am to get out of here alive. If I give up that awareness because it seems too hard, I deserve whatever comes.
There has been and continues to be joy and sorrow in my life. Is my joy based in actually getting something right or a delusion? Is my sorrow based in actual hurt inflicted on me by life or a misinterpretation of events that have happened? It comes down to perception. When I am confused, there is something I do not have right or something I am missing altogether.
Dialogue can increases awareness, so I talk it out. I speak it out loud. That conversation that goes on in my head between my self and my ego sounds much different when spoken aloud and the crap detector that my brain has built (poor as it is sometimes) has a better chance of doing its job. Dialogue with those around me is helpful as well. I am grateful to friends, family, and a very special teacher in Rev. Strickler. These people in my life care for and love me and are not afraid to call me out when my crap detector is malfunctioning.
Sometimes I am wrong. Remorse and mortification are good, they get my attention. However, if I get stuck at that point, wallowing in shame, pain and self-pity, my subconscious will continue replicating that experience for me, and that is a path that leads to nowhere good. So, rather than thinking I am a piece of dung for what I did or didn’t do, I should be thinking about and planning ways to avoid making the same error again. Change the thought, change the experience. A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow. I can make adjustments along the way, but the planning is not enough. I must take action. Once the blame, anger and resentment are released, the energy committed to those endeavors can then be applied to cleaning the slate. Tabula Rosa isn’t free. It requires work. Consequences of previous actions and inactions are still attached. I must make amends and do what I can to repair any damage. What can’t be undone I must live with, learn from it and move on.
I must let in the Light of Knowledge. I must ask questions. What was I thinking? Why was I thinking that? Where did I come up with that?! Who has been effected by my action? Who did I think I was fooling? Where did I think this was going to take me? How is that working out? What options do I have? When am I going to make a change?
If I always do what I have always done, I will always get what I have always gotten. If I am constantly being mistreated, I am in some manner participating in the treatment. I am a work in progress. I am constantly changing and growing. I can let that proceed from what has been put into subconscious from my sometimes erroneous interpretations of the past or actively participate with new input from a new perspective, a dynamic, growing self-conscious awareness! All this begs the question, “Is what I am becoming, becoming?”
become: 1: to come into existence 2: to undergo change or development becoming: suitable, fitting; especially: attractive
Think about it. I should get to work.
– Glen Ford
Copyright © 2015 by Institute of Spiritual Climate LLC