By Suma Varughese October 2007 Want to be a millionaire? to achieve greatness? to cure that incurable illness? to attract a soulmate? what if we were to tell you that everything is possible? all you have to do is to think it into happening. here are the rules to rev up your life magnificently Corporate trainer Indu Kohli was in Pune recently to give a workshop when she slipped and fell in the washroom. When she found herself unable to rise she knew something was wrong. She was rushed to the hospital and the diagnosis was a broken kneecap in her right leg, requiring an immediate operation, and five weeks of bed rest. She was due to fly out to Indonesia the next day, a country she had never before visited and that she was looking forward to visiting greatly. She recalls, “As soon as I got the diagnosis, I cancelled the trip, and cancelled all the other engagements. People were shocked when I called them and told them I had just broken a leg. They couldn’t believe I could be so calm.” She recalls that her seven-day hospital stay in Pune was a party, with family and friends camping in and having impromptu picnics. “They didn’t want me to leave the hospital. They were having too much fun!” Back home in Mumbai, the party continued as friends and relations streamed in to attend to her and to imbibe some of her matchless joie de vivre. “I finally got a chance to spend time with all of them. And to get served, which was a novelty because I am usually serving others.” The upshot was that she healed with remarkable speed. She says, “The doctors could not believe that I could set my foot on the ground completely within days of the fracture, and in five weeks’ time I was busy travelling across the country.” She reflects, “I’m training my mind to think, ‘Life is in forward movement, not in backward.’ That’s why I can very quickly shift to ‘Now what’ instead of dwelling on the past.” The power of positive thinking. We see this all around us. Those who have a positive outlook to life, who refuse to be cowed down by the hurdles on the way, who retain their optimism, grit and good humour, seem to compel life to smile at them. Everything goes right for them, little goes wrong. Cabs sashay forward at their arrival; the fish they buy is never spoilt, the clothes they buy never run colour, or split at the seams; when they buy a house its value is sure to accelerate; the jobs they want, come to them; people vie to be their friends, and abundance dogs their footsteps. It never rains on their parade. In some mysterious way, they seem to create their own luck. As a matter of fact, they do. The power of thoughtThe truth is that we live in a magical universe. And we have more power than we dreamt of. Consider this: we can get anything we want – love, happiness, success, peace, money, great jobs, fancy holidays, beautiful home – whatever be our heart’s desire. Seems unbelievable? No, it’s true. All we need to do is to think it into being. That’s right. Our thoughts create everything in our lives, including the level of health, happiness or love that we presently enjoy. Look at your present life and you will see what your dominant thoughts have been. A picture of peace, bliss and prosperity? Good for you. You are blessed. Money problems, marriage problems, health problems, random problems? Don’t worry. You are in very good company because most of us are here. We worry about money, relationships or health. We resist and reject many of the situations we encounter: why does the email malfunction?, why is the boss so demanding?, why can’t my parents be a little more understanding?, why am I so fat?, why does my sister hog the phone so much? and so on. This is human and this is us. This also explains why most of us draw a mixed bag of goods from the Universe. The bottomline is this: we attract everything in our lives through the power of thought. Such a truth is the very fulcrum of spiritual seeking and every teacher ever born has said this. In the very first verse of the Dhammapada, a compilation of the Buddha’s essential teaching, he says with unparalleled clarity: “Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draw it. “Our life is shaped by our mind, we become what we think. Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves.” (Eknath Easwaran’s translation). The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says the same thing: “We are our deep, driving desire. As our desire is, so is our will. As our will is, so is our deed. As our deed is, so is our destiny. (Eknath Easwaran’s translation). In modern times, every writer has emphasised this point. Joseph Murphy’s The Power of Your Subconscious Mind was one of the first to really delve into the art and science of manifesting through the mind. Later, there was Shakti Gawain’s Creative Visualisation which taught how to get what we want through using our imagination consciously. Several workshops and books extolling the principles through which we can create our lives afresh have happened, among which are Silva Method and Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. The whole New Age movement, which tell us we can heal our lives (Louise Hay), manifest our destiny (Wayne Dyer), have perfect health (Deepak Chopra) are based on these truths. But nothing has made quite the impact that the DVD and book, The Secret, has unleashed in recent times. Put together by an Australian called Rhonda Byrne, the DVD took the world by storm. Every top American show ran an interview with Byrne and those she calls the co-creators, people whose insights form the content of the book and DVD. They include a whole lot of New Age thinkers, trainers and writers including Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Neale Donald Walsch (author of the Conversations with God trilogy). Pretty soon the fever spread to India. Everyone we met or spoke to was reading or watching The Secret. Even seekers that one would have expected to be aware of these truths could not seem to have enough of it. Even my own sister, Susan, sat riveted through the Oprah show and told me how powerfully it impacted her. “For the first time I got that we usually think of what we don’t want rather than what we want,” she said. Having recently got her bathroom fixed, she found to her horror that her overhead tank was sending water down to the bathroom, a problem that persisted despite persistent efforts. “I have been thinking ‘I don’t want a leaky loft,’ which is why I got it,” she concluded triumphantly. R A Mahima, a Mumbai-based filmmaker, who specialises in spiritual documentaries, including a film on Meher Baba, probably speaks for many when she says, “It made me perceive the patterns in my own life. For instance, I am in a commercial profession in a very commercial city. But my heart and mind went towards spiritual work, and therefore I attracted only those kinds of films. I feel so blessed!” The truthsThe truths that The Secret talks about are not new, but that’s no reason not to celebrate them because they encapsulate the throbbing promise of spirituality. All of us who enter the spiritual life are driven by the urge to gain control over our lives – to be able to control what we think, say, or do. All of us want to realise our highest potential, and to fulfil our reason for existence. And yes, most of us want a really nice life too – we want the house, the car, the diamonds, the soulmate. Perhaps this is why The Secret has such wide appeal. It is not speaking only to the seeker. It is targeting every man, and it is telling him how he can get the life of his dreams through many apparently doable ways. One tends to forget, after a few years on the path, how amazing was the first discovery of the truth that we can actually change our thinking patterns and habitual behaviours, and collaborate with the Universe in making things happen. I first stumbled upon this truth several years ago when I was searching for the secret of self-esteem. After a year of confusion and many false leads, I had a glimpse of my true Self, and I realised that I was whole, perfect, and complete at that level. The rest of it, the faulty deeply underconfident self, was conditioning. It was a staggering realisation, but oddly enough, it did not change anything in me. I still kept seeing myself as the old conditioned me, not as this blissful self I had glimpsed. In the fortuitous way that life makes things happen, or presumably my thought processes do, I came across a newspaper article that talked briefly about the power of the subconscious mind. I learnt that you could not change your behavioural patterns at the conscious level, but that you could at the subconscious. That we were who we were because of the repeated instructions we had given our subconscious such as, “I am stupid’, or ‘I am clumsy.’ I also learnt that you had to phrase your word positively since the subconscious did not process negatives. If you said, “I don’t want to smoke”, it interpreted it as ‘I want to smoke.” And made you smoke some more. A familiar dilemma to all those who have tried to kick an addiction. Forthwith I began to utter the words “I am whole, perfect and complete” to myself day and night. Around the fourth month of doing this, I could feel something happening in the chest area. It felt like a stone that was rolling closer and closer. Finally, it happened one day. It was as if a foundation had formed and sealed up some space within me. I could sense that it was coming between me and the perilous pit of despondency I was p
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