The Power of Positive Thinking
by Swami Jyotirmayananda
Thought power is the greatest power on earth as well as in heaven. As you think, so you become. Mind is the most mysterious instrument in the hands of the soul. One can evolve to unimaginable heights by directing the mental process towards that which is positive. On the other hand, if the mind is directed in a negative manner, one can degrade himself to unimaginable states of humiliation.
Positive thinking implies possessing a mind that is not dominated by anger, hate, greed, and other negative thoughts. A mind that entertains thoughts of joy and goodwill, that is ready to forgive and forget, to harmonize, and to promote peace is a positive mind.
Mind has an immense direct influence on your nervous system and body. Indirectly, the mind influences all things around you. So much so that a highly advanced mind exert influence on the entire world and the influence continues to be felt for a long, long time. Great men, by their powerful minds, have brought great changes in the world and it is a great mind that holds the secret of changing the world for the better. So, an aspirant must learn the art of positive thinking.
Thoughts are discharged like arrows by the mind. They hit their target, and then they turn back towards the person who originated those thoughts. So if you were sending out a good thought, it travels through the thought atmosphere and hits the person towards whom you have directed the thought – but that hitting by a positive arrow is a delightful development. You can go on hitting as many people as you wish with positive thoughts, and they will come back to you bringing blessings and goodwill, and your mind will become more and more elevated.
On the other hand, when negative thoughts go towards your target, the result is different. If the target is strong, it repels your negative thought and that arrow becomes a little angry because it has not had its way. So it comes back with vehemence and hits your personality. These are figurative descriptions about how thoughts of goodwill and ill will operate.
If you are generating thoughts of goodwill, your mind gradually becomes elevated. You will develop a positive mind. If you are thinking negative thoughts towards others, your mind becomes gradually degraded, and a lot of negative impressions are generated within yourself. These negative impressions create tension in your nervous system.
Mind is directly related to the Pranas, which flow through subtle channels known as Nadis. The operation of the Nadis depend upon the nature of your thoughts. If you have a positive thought, the Nadis open up, and the Pranas move freely. if you have a negative thought, the Nadis become dis-balanced – some Nadis work harder while others become sluggish and do not work at all. This creates tension.
The resulting disbalance in your Pranas, produces tension in different parts of your body. According to the Hindu texts, the three humors – Vayu (wind), Pitta (bile), and Kaph (phlegm) become disturbed. If these three humors are not in harmony, many diseases can potentially develop in the body.
So your thoughts continue to influence your body at every moment. This is easily seen in day-to-day life. Notice how when a joyous thought enters your mind, your whole face lights up with cheerfulness; when a negative thought enters your mind on the other hand, your whole face becomes tense. Your face becomes the index, or the mirror of your thoughts. If you continue to hold negative thoughts, the resilience of the face will be lost. If you go on frowning constantly, your face will become a frowning face.
Within a moment, a joyous thought brings about such a positive state in one’s nervous system. Within another instant however, negative news or some worry enters the mind, and dark fumes of tension begin to envelop your body. The Pranas are thus restricted and one becomes weak and feeble.
Although the effects of thoughts upon the body can be as quick and dramatic as this, the power of positive thinking to render your body and personality healthy depends upon sustained practice over time. For example, suppose you were feeling weak and sick, and you begin to cultivate positive thoughts to help yourself feel better. You present before your mind a positive image of yourself – that you are vibrant with energy, and you sustain that image day by day. Suppose you have sustained that image for five days and you become sicker. Should you become upset and conclude that positive thinking is ineffective? No! Your positive thoughts are working but their effects are not instantaneous. Communication between your thoughts and your body is influenced by many different factors and circumstances. The benefits of a positive mind may seem delayed, but those benefits will come.
Further, an aspirant must understand that in addition to thinking positively, he must also act positively. Suppose a student who has neither studied nor prepared for the examination suddenly starts to cultivate this positive thought, “May I have the best results in the examination. May I stand first among all the others.” Because he has thought well but acted poorly, he will not have success. If you simply think positively and then expect too much of a result from the positive thought, then you are putting the whole nervous system under pressure.
Rather, you should think positively with a clear understanding that it will have inevitable results, no matter how long it takes. As time passes, the negative basis of your personality begins to melt away and the positive takes over. When you begin to realize the amazing influence of positive thought, not only on your body but on your circumstances, that is the beginning of a Divine process that will lead you to Self-realization, which is the goal of all positive thinking.
May God Bless you! Hari Om Tat Sat!