The physical world is a grand and glorious buffet of an infinite variety
Sitting on the exercycle near the window of the gym, I am pushing the pedals idly, casually, to loosen up the aches in my no-longer-young knees. Outside I can see the street and the library and the park, and beyond the park, the lake. Cars go up and down the street; one of them pulls over to stop, and a throng of kids pour out of it, laughing. The biggest one throws the soccer ball out onto the grass, and all of them chase after it. The scuffle is immediate, the game is underway.
People are walking up and down the sidewalks on both sides of the street, some with dogs, kids, or strollers. Most of them seem to be just walking, not for the purpose of any destination at all, but just for the purpose and pleasure of walking. It is Sunday, and nobody seems to be in a hurry. Nobody appears to be angry, or unhappy. The faces are relaxed, or smiling. It occurs to me just in this moment, like a flash of given grace: there is nothing ugly in my world right now. Whatever else there is in my life or in the world, in this moment there is a gentle simple happiness, and that’s all. I not only feel it, I see it. I recognize it.
Out there in the vastness and incomprehensible complexity of the wider world, there are crimes and wars and hatred and rage. There is pain and wrongdoing and injustice. I know this because I am reminded every day and night on the broadcast news. But here, just now, there is none of that, and for the moment something else is allowed the free range and full focus of my mind and feelings. There is happiness. Simple happiness. This comes as a revelation. It surprises me, and touches me someplace very deep.
I have sat on this bike-that-goes-nowhere, paying my exercise "dues" hundreds of times before, just inside the wide bank of windows overlooking the library, the park, and the lake, but never until now did I make the connection and the realization – This too exists in the world.
The ugliness that troubles me so deeply and frightens me so terribly, is not the only thing there is. There is also peaceful happiness, golden sunset afternoons, there are parks, kids, soccer balls, grinning dogs, and gentle people who do not hate and do not suffer and do not wish anyone else to suffer. If there are these in the world, there must be others. Why have I not noticed this before?
Jesus said “seek and you shall find." and "Every one that asketh, receiveth.” I have learned from my life experience that this is absolutely true, and that we tend to find what we are expecting, or what we are seeking (consciously or unconsciously) good or bad, because God/the universe delivers whatever we focus our recurrent habitual thoughts upon. And so accordingly, I’ve learned to yank back my thoughts when someone has hurt me or attacked me -- to yank back my thoughts from any of that as soon as I possibly can, so that I avoid attracting more of that into my life. I have learned that I can limit and or even stop my suffering from it by refusing to hold it right in my own face. I know that forgiveness is not something you do for the other person so much as it is what you must do for yourself. Forgiving them sets you free from your anguish and pain.
When you burn your hand on a stove, your arm jerks it away instantly. You don’t stand there and continue to hold onto the stove while it continues to burn your hand worse and worse, deeper and deeper. And yet, this is exactly what we do with our thoughts, when someone or some circumstance has wronged or injured us, or when something is wrong in the world. We focus our resentment and anger toward it and hold that in mind. We hold on to the emotional pain for hours, days, years, or a lifetime. Somehow this is the most common and normal response to that kind of pain. We hold it in our thoughts and suffer the same wound over and over again, feeling more pain, more depressed and helpless, or more angry and vindictive over time. We keep doing this, and hurting ourselves and others because of it, until finally we realize that we have another choice.
We keep doing this because it does not occur to us that we don’t have to. We can let go of the “stove” and stop the pain, and limit the pain by not adding more to it ourselves. Then the healing can begin, right now.
Choose what you want for your life and the world, and focus the power of your thoughts on that. Don’t choose what you don’t want, and don’t support what you don’t love – with the power of your thought. Consciousness creates reality; that is a fact of quantum physics and a universal law. What are you creating, supporting, and perpetuating with your habits of thought? We can, and do, get what we ask for. The world we/you have is the one we/you made. What you focus your mind on in thoughts, always tends to grow stronger, and attracts more of its own kind into your life and experience. This is a new idea for most of us – the concept that we can influence the events and circumstances of our lives with our conscious thoughts, expectations, intentions, and faith. It is in fact a very revolutionary idea that is changing the world.
We have begun now to change it mindfully, consciously, heartfully, as never before in human history. You are an important part of that, much more than you realize. You OWN your own mind: Nobody else does; nobody else can. Corporations do not; Political parties do not; TV commercials do not – unless you choose to let them. Your thoughts belong 100% to you. Your thoughts have power, even more than your actions, because they are habitual and continuous, awake and asleep, 24 hours a day. And in every moment, the universe is listening.