Choosing Thoughts

by Akiva Silver

Waking up in the morning the thoughts begin immediately. They tell you how to feel, who you are, what you want. Sometimes they say terrible things, negative things, depressing things. They ask for what can not be had, they tell you what you are not, these thoughts can be lies. They can also be truths. The mind is an arena. Watch and listen closely and you will see the play of different characters against each other. Some of these are clearly for your destruction, for the expression of pain, others striving towards endless grace and beauty, but there are more than just a few characters in this arena. There are infinite characters that can appear. Many are fascinating, pulling you down tunnels into wondrous realms. Some are just very weird. Some are so incredibly boring. Some are very worried. With endless variation, thoughts will come parading into your mind.

As these thoughts stream into your field of awareness, watch them and choose carefully. Each thought is like a train. Step aboard and it will lead you down a track. Recognize where the thought will probably lead before fully engaging with it. If its not a future you want to create, then you don’t have to get on that train. Wait for the next one.

            And how do we not engage with a thought?, how do we wait for the next one? There are many ways to have this power. I have found the breath to be the most effective personally. One deep clear breath sweeps the field clean. Let go fully on the exhale while the breath is a roar of rushing wind in your mind. No thoughts may enter during the focused breath. It is the sword that cuts them all off before they have a chance to complete themselves. And then, the thoughts stream in again. Listen to them as if you were turning on a radio. You have the power to turn the radio back off or to change the station. This takes practice, but the more you do, the easier it becomes. A single focused breath is a worthwhile endeavor with great rewards. It is a doorway to a different life. It is available to you many times throughout the day.

            What trains have you been riding in your mind?, to where have they led you? Believe this, the Universe is a strange and mysterious place. Its consciousness, its awareness is interested in everything. It is willing to let you do and see anything. This power is without fear. To choose an experience of hell or boredom, the Universe is not concerned. Surrounded by the protection of infinite space and time, it is okay to go anywhere, to feel anything.

And so, you may be led down some very dark and demented paths. Not because the Universe hates you or doesn’t care, but because it is known that everything can be handled. There is room and space for everything.

And so, you may choose to go anywhere. The fields of infinity lie before your mind. Endless choices will rise in front of you. Tens of thousands of thoughts will enter your head each day. Each thought is a train ride leading to the next thought, building upon the last. Where are you going? Notice it and Choose.

You have created well worn paths by making the same choices for many days in a row. To break free of these paths will take strength of will, focused attention, and the repeated choice of something new. You will have moments where you break free of the demons in your mind and you will think that you have changed. But later you will go back to the demons, to the dark thoughts that have sucked so much of your life away. You will have to make the choice to let them go again and again. You might have to make this choice ten thousand times, but each time you do it will become easier and easier as you build new paths, new highways that lead to new places. For all possibilities exist in the fields of infinity. You can choose anything, be anything, and you will find things that you never before imagined.

What do you think you even are? Look closely without the muddiness of thought and judgement. See your hands without a word in your mind. Feel the flow of blood and the rising and falling of breath without a word in your mind. Know that as your breath flows out it never stops moving. It travels into the air mixing with the cosmos for all time. You breathe in this ancient breath and what is carried in? Where has this breath been before it reaches you! It has been through the ages of stars. But your breath is more than the air coming in and out, it is your very will to live. Stop breathing and you will soon see how strong your will to live is. It will hammer against your mind and body, Breathe! Live! But who is demanding life, who is demanding breath? Pay attention, notice your thoughts, notice everything. You are alive inside a mysterious phenomenon. Do not let the mundane thoughts of a sleeping society rule your life. Notice what is all around you, and you will find indescribable mystery. Look at every shape, every shadow, every color. Do not shy away from the face of God right before you. Look directly at the presence of life. Let it destroy who you think you are. Move without thought for a moment. Become fully present, and See with your eyes and not your mind. Mystery, beauty, awe, wonder, are here if you tune in to them. What you are tuned into today is not the only reality. There is always more. The Universe is not a small place with a few possible realities. It is an infinite place with infinite realities and endless dimensions. Enjoy this ride and fear not the pain. Pay close attention to the arena in your mind and be aware of what train you are stepping onto with each thought.

Thoughts are magnetic, except they work so that like attracts like. Thoughts build neural pathways. With repetition, these pathways become stronger and stronger. The more you think a certain way, the easier it is to continue. The more you cultivate sad thoughts or angry thoughts or loving thoughts the stronger they become. If you place your attention, your energy, on anything you will become more aware of it. You will see it on deeper and deeper levels. It will grow and grow. Focusing on an attitude will strengthen that reality. To create a different reality, to become aware of a different possibility in the Universe, in your life, requires a shift in thought. But not just one time, you will have to cultivate a new thought pattern just as you cultivated the old one. To break an old habit, you have to create a new one. One moment of insight is not enough. You have to choose again and again and again. Over time, new neural pathways will be built. It will become easier and easier to choose loving thoughts as you pay attention to them and give them energy. It is necessary to give them lots of energy. The more you do, the more they will come back to you. What you put out is what you receive. Your thoughts are what you put out. They are the basis for your emotions and for your behaviors. You listen to them and then feel and then act. Your entire life  changes when your thoughts do. Consciously directing them into love, prayer, curiosity, wonder, and gratitude will create more of that in your life.

It is not always easy, but it is always worth it. The great thing about life is that you will be given many chances. Each moment is a chance for a new thought. Each breath a chance to start over. Life will forgive you, and you can forgive yourself. Understand that you have been listening to your thoughts. You have believed them and so you have been the way you have been. New possibilities exist. The Universe is not a small place, the mind is not a small place. Reach, stretch, and open. Allow these possibilities to find you. Pull out the garbage thoughts and find the beautiful ones. They exist in the cloud of consciousness from where thoughts come from. There is no end to how amazing you can feel. The power of the actual Universe is alive in you. The deeper you move into connection, the more surprised you will be at how incredible life is. As a member of the Universe, you have access to all ranges of emotion and all manner of thought. You are free to explore and place your awareness wherever you like. The possibilities are as endless as the stars and atoms, they are as complex and varied as the cells in your body. Breathe it in, see the color through your eyes, hear the sounds through your ears, and feel this presence upon and under your skin. Feel Alive. Choose it and watch it grow each time you do.

-Akiva Silver

If you liked reading this, check out my book, Trees of Power