‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t - you are right!’.
This statement of Henry Ford made me think a lot and the result is this ‘Thought mailer’! Certain immediate questions came to my mind:
Are not thoughts automatic?
Do they really impact us?
Should we waste our time in thinking about ‘thoughts’?
While reading the introductory para of this article probably you, as a reader, also might have got some similar thoughts- should I put my more time in reading this article any further? Before you decide, just have a look at the following scene:
Impact of thoughts- Visit to a mall:
Let’s imagine (though in reality, it may be difficult to find one) a peaceful Sunday when you are free and have time to go out and spend time with your family. However, it’s raining outside and therefore, cannot go to any garden or seashore or a long drive. Obvious choice, in that case could be a stroll to a Mall. So, along with your family members, you reached out to a nearby mall.
It was a long queue and after passing through air curtain at the entrance and security check, you could see large number of people gathered in a Central hall. The DJ was keeping people engaged with some interesting interactions and music.
‘Hello! Can you please, give me your name and cell number?’ a fragrant smell and a soft sweet voice interrupted your attention. A young beautiful lady wearing a formal dress, who appeared to be a sales girl said ‘Today is 5th anniversary of our Mall and we are going to have a lucky draw of our patrons like you visiting today- can you please, help me with your name and cell number? If you are lucky our organisation will give you a gift…’
You might have thought- Should I provide my number? Will they really give me some gift or is it just a marketing gimmick of some Holiday club? Or some marketing agency who may chase later to sell their products? Finally, you gave your name and contact number (both correct!) to the lady and went ahead for window shopping!
By the time you were enjoying talking to your near and dear ones about various products on the display, suddenly you could hear your name being announced from the Central area as today’s lucky winner….!!!
You are rushing towards the Central area to grab your gift. Now, during this entire incident, what could be possible thoughts in your mind? May be – ‘today is really a lucky day for me- I found leisure time after a long and this gift too!’ or ‘what will be the gift? – may be some ball pen… may be some gift of around Rs.100…’
Your happiness knew no bounds when you came to know about the gift…it was…a latest, costliest, a lovely branded cell-phone of a price around Rs. One lac!!! The DJ and the organisers, amidst claps of various people, gave you a gift hamper which can be exchanged at any mobile shop at the Mall for the phone. What will be your thoughts? ‘Thank God! I trusted that lady and gave my correct name and number’ or ‘ I wouldn’t have spent so much for a cell-phone but now it is coming at a free of cost- I would love to have this wonderful gadget..’ or ‘Really, the mall people are very nice people-I had never expected so much from them as a gift!’. You could remember all your happy moments- the first ‘yes’ from the person you loved, success in the final exams, breakthrough in the career…
However, before your happy moments last longer, you overheard a voice- ‘poor unlucky guy-The mall people cheated him by giving him just a cell phone’, another voice ‘why, what happened?’ ‘Actually, today’s prize was a posh car which is put on display besides DJ’s stage- worth around Rs. 90 lacs- they fooled him by just handing over a mobile-which is hardly worth one lac…They changed the prize at the last moment’. After listening to this conversation, what would be your thoughts now? May be: ‘Since my childhood days my luck is behaving like this...’ ‘I always get a ditch at the end moment from fortune.’ ‘Last time also, I was about to get that big client…’. Even a recent loss in a scrip may come to your memory…
Could you observe the roller coaster ride of thoughts?- when you entered mall- you were suspicious, when your name got announced- you felt you are lucky, when you got the hamper of a costliest mobile- you felt you are the luckiest, when you overheard a gossip, you felt – you are the most(?) unfortunate person on the earth! Mind well, till now you have neither got a single penny nor lost a single penny. What you have received is just a piece of paper called as gift hamper. Even the mobile is yet to come subject to various possible uncertainties. It’s all at the level of thoughts! Doubts, happiness, super happiness, sadness. Remember, nothing has changed since you entered the mall- not even temperature, level of noise around, structure of the mall, people with you…but there are rounds of changes in you- what caused this? Only and only – Thoughts!
Finally, you felt that the voice of gossip is known to you. The moment you looked at the persons who were gossiping negative about the mall people, you were shocked, surprised, relaxed and delighted- they were your college friends- as usual puling your leg, naughty, winking their eyes and laughing at you! As they came nearer, your tube-light lit up and you realised that they were just kidding about that car and change in prize etc. Actually, there was no change in the prize, it was a mobile phone only. Now? Now, again you felt happy, relaxed and delighted to see your dear old demons. You were bit annoyed at them for pushing you in the temporary depression with fake talks but then you were happy and relaxed also with two gifts- mobile and old friends.
Again, you thought, ‘Today is really a very lucky day!!!!’
What an impact of thoughts?!?!
Message from this incidence is loud and clear- it is not the situation which makes any impact on our happiness- it is only our thoughts and perceptions which can make us either happy or unhappy. In the mall, it was not the mobile phone which caused the happiness or sorrow- it was comparison made in thoughts. When the mobile was compared with a ball pen of Rs. 100, one was very happy. However, the same mobile when compared with a posh car of 90 lacs, one was extremely unhappy. If mobile, alone would have been the reason of happiness, in both the situations one would have remained happy. But it was not the mobile, it was the thought which changed everything.
If a thought has a such a strong impact on a person, shouldn’t we be careful and ‘thoughtful’ about our thoughts? Answer is obvious ‘yes’. More so, when scientists claim that an average human being thinks about 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts a day!! Quite a thought-provoking number!
Do we know how many types of thoughts we have in our mind?
Modern Science and analysis:
Modern science has been able to tell us the different levels of thinking such as alpha, beta, theta and delta- based on the frequency of thoughts.
Attempts have also been made to analyse type of thoughts based on the functions: Many of the modern thought analysers have concluded that broadly there are four kinds of thoughts:
1. Necessary thoughts
2. Unnecessary thoughts
3. Positive thoughts
4. Negative thoughts
One may be surprised to see the length and depth of analysis done by ancient Indian scholars in the past- thousands of years ago. They analysed four types of thinking patterns and then further analysed sixteen types of thoughts. It may be eye opening attempt to have a glimpse of this excellent and extremely powerful analysis:
• Aggressive thinking (Roudra Dhyan): It does not only mean cruel or violative thinking, it also includes thoughts of ego, cheating or greed. These thoughts in essence makes a person lose his wisdom and balanced thinking capacity. Excess of such thoughts result in many wrong decisions and invite heavy losses or big troubles
• Submissive thinking (Arta Dhyan): This includes pessimist thinking. Dissatisfaction, starving mentality, missing past times or people, over submissive nature to get some benefits, etc. This type of thinking makes a person lose his self confidence and self-esteem. He cannot achieve wisdom or happiness in this state of mind
• Awakened thinking (Dharma Dhyan): This type of thinking includes rational thinking. Being able to identify real causes of the problem, remain balanced in good and bad times, to follow the wise and time tested practices, being humble and dsiciplined in any endeavour, being appreciative of good qualities, value commitments,etc Thinkers of this category do not get annoyed at or obliged by people too much. This type of thinking enables a person to retain his inner peace and happiness. Awakened thinkers not only avoid issues from unwanted directions, they can also handle any unexpected issue which may crop up due to reasons beyond control.
• Focussed thinking (Shukla Dhyan): This is a superior level of thinking wherein a person focusses all his attention and energy on thinking of any particular object or subject. If one can achieve the ability to focus for longer time, he can achieve high level of wisdom. This level of thinking can be done by extremely great human beings. Though it may be very difficult for normal human beings, at least we can try.
Our endeavour should be to master Awakened thinking and practice doing Focussed thinking. And in no case, aggressive or submissive thinking at all! But the most important question is – Is it really possible to do awakened thinking? And if yes, How?
Can we control or change our thoughts?
No monkey please!
Let’s try to meditate for just 60 seconds wherein we should control our thoughts to ensure that we should not think about any monkey. No monkey at all - either with black face or red face, a naughty one or the disciplined (?) one. Just for 60 seconds! No monkey in our thoughts. Let’s try…
Could you avoid monkey in your thoughts? If a monkey cannot be avoided for a few seconds, how can we control or change our thoughts?
Have you seen an elephant? When? Which colour? What did you do with him? Do you have a selfie with an elephant? Have you offered any food to him? Have you ever touched him? What was the reaction when you gave food or touched him? How many maximum elephants have you seen together? Have you seen him on road or jungle or zoo? Have you ever sat on him? Do you feel happy or frightened to see an elephant?
Well, when you were trying to answer these questions, were there any monkeys in your thoughts? - No! Why- because your mind was occupied in thinking about elephants. So, the solution is simple! If you want to drive away monkeys from your mind, bring elephants. In other words, when we want to get rid of useless or weak thoughts, bring some powerful and positive thoughts. It is almost impossible to stop thoughts, but it is easy to replace thoughts!
Robin Sharma, in his book- The monk who sold his Ferrari, has compared mind with a garden. A gardener cannot afford to have any weeds, similarly we cannot af-ford to have luxury of a single useless thought. The way garden must blossom with flowers, our mind must blossom with excellent and powerful thoughts.
Beware of peanuts:
If one wants to keep monkeys away, he should also ensure that there are no peanuts around which can attract monkeys. If one wants to keep powerless thoughts away, must be aware of certain factors which attract or influence such thoughts.
It is very important to note that even though we may resolve to think good, better and the best, it is natural to get influenced by our surroundings quite easily and quite often. Reading material, social media, electronic media, people surrounding us do impact our thoughts heavily. Even if one chooses to do limited, focussed and powerful thoughts, the impact of external sources diverting his mindset cannot be eliminated..
Therefore, it is very much essential to have thought protectors around us to save us from the impact of negative/weak thoughts. These thought protectors could be one or more powerful quotes, it could be even our own resolutions, powerful songs/poems, etc. Powerful pictures around us may be stuck on the walls around us or on the screens of our gadgets or on the furniture around us. Some books which are full of ‘wise’ thoughts can elevate us from the negative environment. Meeting nice people can really help us elevate ourselves.
Which thoughts to be selected?
The question is- which thoughts are good thoughts? Which thoughts one should try to do? Even in good thoughts there could be wide variety- which ones to select?
Being professionals, we are considered to be intellectuals. Being an intellectual human being is a great achievement in itself, what should be our next aspiration?
In my opinion, our next aspiration must be to become a wise human being and not merely an intellectual one. Our thoughts should be in a direction to be a a wise man. Let’s have a comparative idea of ‘Intellect’ and ‘Wisdom’:
1. Remember that the impact of thoughts on us is very strong
2. Removal of thoughts is impossible, but replacement is very much possible
3. Therefore, always choose best quality, awakened thoughts which can help us reach a level of ‘The Wise’
4. Protect our mind from negative thoughts with the help of thought protectors
Happy Positive Thinking!!!