The Power of Thought
I awake to a foggy morning and feel the sadness of the fog. I roll over and look out at the tree. “I am loved, I am not loved” plays in my mind as I examine the power of a thought to make me feel whole or broken. The power of a single thought. Unbelievable. No wonder the texts say that the mind is the power of God. Meanwhile, since I am weighted towards “I am not loved,” it is hard to find joy in the upcoming day. As I bathe and look out the back window, I notice two doves, one seeming to chase the other away. I take it to resemble the separation I feel, until I see them fly off, continuing the chase. Another thought arises, “Maybe it’s just a game.”
Maybe it is just a game. What if I could hold it all as just a game, just the playful movement of my own divine mind? I am the player, the creator, and the winner and loser of my own game. I make someone feel distant, then I lose. I start over, and make him feel like my beloved, then I win. And if it is just my own game, why do I deal the losing deck from time to time?
With that as a contemplation, I go off to water the plants in the backyard. I put in about 60 gladiola bulbs, despite the lateness of the season and the serious drought. And there they are, almost twenty, already poking through the dirt and wood chip mulch, showing their green stalks. How could that be? I just placed them in dirt, add some water, and they do the rest. I am so grateful.
I water the rest of my newly planted garden. This garden is, in itself, a miracle that is hard to explain. It probably looks like not much to others eyes. To me, it is an absolute miracle. I have never gardened before, growing up in the cement world of Brooklyn. When I moved to this house in the country, the back field was overgrown with the brambles of blackberries. Unsightly, hiding who knows what underneath their four-foot high brambles, I proceeded to methodically uproot them, dig the soil, cover the ground with weed block and wood chips, and add a little path. A path through nothing, yet a blank slate, free of the nasty and unsightly looking mess.
Now, I have planted small plants along the path. With a very small effort, the area has earned the title, ‘garden.’ A garden that came from nowhere, that is alive, and filled with the promise of immense beauty.
I spend a few minutes watering the garden, and pulling the shoots of blackberries that continue to rise up and threaten chaos. I have a new plant and decide spontaneously to put it in the ground before going back in the house for meditation. Alas, I am not sure I plant it quite right, as I make an attempt to protect its tender roots from the invading gophers. If it dies, I will not be shocked. I will take responsibility. However, if it lives, there is no way I can take the credit.
Heading back to the house, I stop to examine the fruit trees. The plums are still ripening, and getting a bit more flavor, though still not as delicious as the early plum. Nevertheless they are worthy of being eaten. I notice that the pear tree has begun to drop pears. I reach for a yellowing one, and much to my shock, it is flavorful and juicy. Another harvest has begun. I will return later to cull the fruit.
How can I not be content when I am surrounded by this miracle called life? Nature has become my best companion. It feels me with awe, gratitude, delight, and love. Do I really need anything else? If so, what could it possibly be?
Oh yes, I remember. I need to feel “I am loved.” Just a thought, only a thought, but if I don’t hold it in my mind, all this contentment dissolves in an instant.
I return to my altar, where I read the quote from Gurumayi Chidvilasananda that is always there: “When we wonder if we are loved, ask ourselves, “Do I care about myself? Do I love myself? No one else in this world can ever give us the love we are looking for except ourselves.”
That, in a nutshell, is the task for my entire life.
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