Whether we see the universe as friendly or hostile determines how treat other people and life.
Granted, we don’t get up on a Monday morning and wonder what kind of mood the universe is in, but with our actions and our thoughts, we answer that question every moment of the day.
Our decision about the world was made long ago and every day we look for situations and people who re-inforce it.
The universe reflects what we send out. If we’re angry, we get anger.
If we think we’ll never have enough, that we aren’t good enough, it will keep pointing out what’s missing in our lives — whether it’s money, love or a pink Volkswagen Beetle.
Those negative thought patterns aren’t, however, etched into our DNA; they’re learned and can be unlearned. The rest of our life starts this minute.
"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world," Buddha said 2,500 years ago."
It's just as true now as it was then.
We teach the world how to treat us. If every time we screw up, we say, or think, we’re a klutz, and offer it as excuse for making a mistake, pretty soon we are and that’s how the world sees us. Whoever argues for their limitations gets them.
But if we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.
Yeah, right, say the cynical person, thinking positively will stop someone from breaking into our home and stealing our computer, our new digital TV and our grandmother’s jewelry we planned to give our grandchildren.
Some would argue that it can. We are, after all energy — frozen energy certainly — so why can we not influence the energy around us? Some people can. We all know “lucky” people who always get the breaks.
They find parking spots, holes in traffic. Life’s blessings fall on them like apple blossoms; they never make a wrong turn or a wrong decision.
Like Pigpen in the Peanuts comic strip, a cloud seems to follow them, raining abundance into their lives, and the sun is always shining. Life smiles at them because they smile at life.
We also know “unlucky” people who never catch a break, who the universe seems to take a malignant pleasure in rubbing their noses in their own misfortune. They probably see themselves as victims.
Reality is, there are no victims, only volunteers. The ones who choose that approach jump up and down, like kindergarten kids asked if they want candy, for whatever we’re attracting into our lives.
It’s puzzling why we enjoy picking the scabs off our own wounds. What’s the payoff in being negative and self-defeating?
We must relish it or we wouldn’t spend so much time talking about how miserable we are, how we hate our jobs, about our aches and pains, about our latest cold and how we know we’re going to get the flu on the weekend because we have a runny nose today.
That’s a reality we have created; we chose to do a high dive into our own unhappiness. The payoff — whether we admit it — is that we enjoy our misery. We’d rather have the certainty of misery than the misery of uncertainty.
If, as some claim, every thought is a prayer and prayers are answered, we should be careful to send positive thoughts into the universe — unless we’d rather have the negative so we can write another story line in our soap opera.
It’s an attitude and a perspective. “Two men looked out from between prison bars, one saw dirt and one saw stars.”
If, for example, we choose to see a spider not as a something to fear or loathe, but merely life — like us only in a different package — shouldn’t we move it out of harm’s way, not because of some cosmic retribution, but because it shapes the way we think and act.
If we can see the spider as sacred, it will change the way we treat our noisy neighbour, and maybe ourselves.
Morihei Ueshiba saw the world as a friendly place and the martial art he founded, aikido, the way of harmony, reflected that view.
In aikido, the defender moves with the energy coming at him, turns and sees exactly what his attacker sees. It doesn’t remove the necessity for action, but it helps remove the anger from the action.
Let’s go back to the break-in. Even if positive thinking can’t prevent a meth addict from stealing the laptop with all our favourite recipes, those who view the world positively will have a much less stressful response than the ones who see it as hostile, who volunteer to be a lightning rod for misfortune.
Everything is a choice — how we see the universe, how we process our anger, what we do with black widow spiders.
We can, as the Course in Miracles so eloquently puts it, choose peace rather than this — whatever this might be.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.