Years ago in my early days as a minister, I was facilitating a forgiveness workshop in a hotel in Nassau, Bahamas. As I was sharing a story, a man sitting in the front row of the room stood out among the rest. He hardly looked at me, his arms were crossed, and his face appeared to have a scowl that suggested he did not like what I was saying. At one point, he abruptly left his seat and exited the room. I recall all kinds of thoughts that went through my mind, like:
“I must have said something that offended him.”
“I’m probably not very good at this.”
“It’s obvious that he doesn’t like me. I wonder how many other people feel the same way.”
Thoughts along these lines kept popping up in my head. But, at the end of the day, the man came up to me and asked if he could share something with me. Preparing for the worst, I said “yes.” The gentleman went on to say that what I talked about just before he left the room changed his life in a profound and positive way. At that moment, he felt compelled to call his father who he had not seen or talked to for over ten years. A bitter argument between the two of them had caused him to shut his father out of his life. However, because of what I shared, he decided on the spot to call him so he could request forgiveness for the way he had left him.
The man thanked me profusely for giving him insight and helping him to have the courage to make that call. I was pleasantly surprised that what I was thinking had nothing to do with what was going on with the man.
As I reflect on that experience, I’m reminded how often we think thoughts that have nothing to do with what’s real; how often we think we’re seeing reality, but we’re actually seeing our thoughts about reality. It reinforced the value of stopping periodically throughout the day to ask, “Whose thoughts am I thinking?”
When we have thoughts run by fear, lack, or misperceptions, they often come from the sea of debris that pervades the collective consciousness, not from spiritual inspiration. Every thought fueled with energy is a prayer and if we are thinking from the lower vibration of fear, lack, limitation or worry, we are praying amiss because we are giving our attention to a perceived problem.
But we are not to think about the problem; we are to think about God. An effective spiritual practice (although not necessarily an easy one) is to stop sharing what is going wrong. One day at a time, we can limit more and more of our conversations about what is wrong in our lives, our organizations, our jobs, our world or with other people.
When we make such a commitment and the words describing what’s wrong want to come out of our mouth, we stop and turn the experience into a spiritual practice. We can interrupt those low vibrational thought forms and turn our attention to the unchanging qualities of Spirit.
If we want to go a little further, whenever we become aware that we are about to talk about what’s wrong we can ask, “What spiritual principle am I denying right now?” For example, If we are about to talk about how there is never enough to go around, we can stop ourselves and say, “Oh my God, I am denying the principle of abundance; everything I want, hope for or desire is already within me. Ah, there’s the principle I’m denying.”
We can take notice of what we are thinking and when we realize it is not who we are or anything like the presence of God, those erroneous thoughts begin to lose their power. We may then take a second glance and see the spiritual principle we were denying.
So throughout the day, stop and ask yourself, “Whose thoughts am I thinking?"
Peace and Blessings,