Wednesday, April 16, 2014

For Nicole: Thought Is Creative

"Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny."--Mahatma Gandhi

My friend Nicole asks me "how thoughts/attitudes/beliefs affect the physical." This is a topic that's near and dear to my heart as I seek to unite science and spirituality in my own little way. It's something that every spiritual book I have ever read gets around to saying sooner or later.
The Christian Bible gets around to saying it right quickly, as it claims we are made in the image and likeness of God the Creator.
It's worth quoting this verse (Gen. 1:27) entire: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." (KJV). I find it very telling that the only definition of what it means to be in the image of God that we're given here is 'male AND female'. There you go, barely into Genesis and we've already determined that the Christian God can't be confined to one gender and one role.
For Christians, this "made in the image of God" business is a double-edged sword. It cuts clean through doubts of self-worth, but it also can very easily be read as 'Thou art God'...which is a blasphemy (albeit a blasphemy I personally happen to believe) this video to see why.

But what, exactly, does it mean?

I'd suggest that it means, above all, that we are creators. That stands as a functional definition of what it is to be human: all of us, instinctively, create in some way. You can discard God in any form and still come to that conclusion. We're makers. It's what we do, because it's who we are. But do we creating by doing, or by thinking?


What we consciously think about, we tend to create much more easily. Whether it's a musical composition or a new house, it requires the whole brain: conscious thought plus subconscious effort.

Remove the thought and you get instinctive creations. These can be anything, and they come directly from your default state of mind. Live your life full of love, and you'll see and create love everywhere you go. Live your life full of fear, and that's what you'll see and create. In either case, it's because you're only using the material you have to work with. What you see determines who you'll be, to be sure...but also: what you be determines what you see. Seeing is believing? No: often we see things we don't, or can't believe. Believing is seeing.

There are some people, as Nicole notes, who believe that thought has no effect on anything material. This, then, of course, is their experience. I choose to believe otherwise. Because I play with language, I notice that our language puts the lie to that belief. Think about it: if you are crying, someone is very likely to come to you and ask


There are other people who claim to be able to move things with the power of thought alone.

Personally, I believe in  telekinesis the same way I believe in ghosts: barely. I suspect that nearly every recorded instance of both phenomena is either sleight of hand or explainable some other way. But only nearly. I suspect--can't prove, of course, or I'd be in line for a Nobel, but suspect--that telekinesis and other such 'paranormal' abilities do exist among a select few. Why do I believe this? Because thought is energy. I suspect that it's possible to harness the energy behind a concentrated thought. Is it easy? Hell, no, and it's a good thing it isn't, or our world would be hopelessly chaotic. But possible? Yes, I believe it is.

Belief is a very powerful thing. I can think of no proof of this more convincing than the placebo effect. You give somebody nothing, but convince them you gave them something, and the odds are pretty damned good the nothing will have similar effects to the something. (I particularly love how this site asks 'Placebos: Are they real, or all in your head?" As if there's a difference.

This brings me to prayer. Now prayer  is one of those things that necessarily sharply divides the atheist from the religious. The atheist is apt to say something like "pray into one hand and piss into the other and see which one fills up faster". Having no belief in the power of prayer means by definition that prayers won't work for or on such a person. To the extent that science is able to study prayer, it has been shown to have AT BEST no effect.

This doesn't surprise me, since it's my contention that most people don't pray properly.

I was taught in my Christian days that the only acceptable prayer is one of gratitude. This is not the kind of thing you usually hear, of course, amongst people petitioning their God for some desired outcome. But it only stands to reason that if thought produces experience, the thought "I want...." will produce exactly that in your experience....wanting! Whereas thanking God--and if you're not comfortable with that, substitute 'Life' or 'The Universe' or any other all-encompassing concept--means you recognize you 'want' nothing...and that's a very powerful place to be in life.

If you want money, the way to get it is to realize you already have it. What's the best way to realize that? By giving it away. It sounds counterintuitive, to be sure, but there's always somebody poorer than you, and by making him richer you notice that you had that money to give. Do that often enough and it becomes a habit. Think of yourself as rich, and guess what? You'll actually be rich.

If you want love, give love away and you'll get it. It really is simple like that. Simple...but not easy. Because the same thing holds true for negative emotions, and many of us have a real attachment to those. whether we realize it or not. Also, as Carl Jung noted, "what you resist persists". That's another way of seeing that gratitude will go a lot further than supplication.

The cynical way to phrase this is 'fake it until you make it'. I'd suggest that 'faking it' is not an option, unless you are able to fake it with such sincerity that you're completely unaware you're faking it at all (in which case, of course, you're not!)

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