Thoughts influence every aspect of our existence -- we are after all Homo sapiens, "thinking man." We are constantly being bombarded by thoughts, from the most noble to the most debased. As living beings with their own vitality, these can be powerful. If we are around someone who has lost his temper or is in a dark mood, we feel the force of it, even if he doesn't say a word.
In our dual natures, mind is the pivotal point. We may turn our thinking towards the higher elements in us -- intuition, compassion, justice, and honor -- or allow ourselves to be influenced by our lower desires. The kinds of thoughts we attract depend on where we center our consciousness at any given time. As humans we are not always in a highly elevated state of mind, but what is crucial is our main motive in life. We are less apt to make serious mistakes if we recognize that we are here for the benefit of others. While each of us is an individual, we all share a common origin and destiny.
Plato said that ideas rule the world, and they do indeed make or unmake a civilization. The kinds of thoughts we each entertain greatly influence the positive and negative expressions we see around us. Importantly, we have the power to change the quality of our thinking. We can look upon ourselves as magnets that attract the quality of thought that matches the totality of who we are. If we happen to have a negative thought, we can reverse it before it goes out into the world again, and by so doing make the world a better place simply by the way we think and feel in our own lives. Too often we belittle our potential. To me, our challenge is to become more of what we really are, for despite our imperfections each of us is a potential god.
(From Sunrise magazine, April/May 2002; copyright © 2001 Theosophical University Press)
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