The power of association – Day 2

Asees Singh: “So, tell me bhaine, where were we yesterday?”

Rehmat Kaur: “Veerji, are you taking my test?”

“Sort of. Just wanted to know how much you grasped and how much do you remember today.”

“Ok. Let me try. We started with who we are. As Gurbani says, we are souls or divine beings. Since a human being is created in the image of God, he has the power to create his destiny or circumstances. This power to create our destiny is called Karmic law ‘As you sow, so shall you reap’.

And the most fundamental tool of creation that we have is our thoughts. Thoughts eventually lead to words, and actions. But what matters the most is our intent behind any action or words. If our intent is good, then we are sowing good things, and thus, our future will reflect that goodness. However, if our intent is bad, then we are sowing bad things, and our future will reflect that badness. So, if we desire a happy future, we should always have good intent.

Towards the last, we touched on the most primary form of Sangat i.e. Sangat of our consciousness with thoughts. In other words, our paying attention to any thought is like doing a Sangat of that thought. So, did I pass, veerji?”

“Excellent, Bhaine! I am proud of you! Now, the point is that this Sangat of consciousness with the thoughts is the only Sangat that matters. Our thoughts define who we are, and these thoughts define what we get and where we reach in life. This is the beginning and the end of the story. Nothing else matters.”

“Hmmm.. so, what you are saying is that Karmic law is the only law we need to worry about. Or in other words, we just need to take care of our thoughts, everything else falls into place. Is it?”

“Yes, bhaine. Thoughts are the drivers of life. From the thought of Waheguru, this universe originated. And even for us, our life is created by our thoughts. So, if you can ensure that your thoughts are good, your life is on track. ”

“But how do we ensure that our thoughts are good? Besides, how do we even know whether a thought is good or bad?”

“Very good questions, bhaine. Let me take your questions one by one. The answer to your first question will let me talk about the different forms of Sangat or association. So, how do we ensure that our thoughts are good? By keeping track of the factors that affect our thoughts. By making sure that the we allow only good things to impact our thoughts and disallow bad things to impact our thoughts. Now, tell me what all factors influence your thoughts.”

“Frankly, veerji, I think my mood impacts my thoughts a lot. When, I am in a bad mood, all the thoughts I think are negative. And when I am in a good mood, I think all good thoughts. Does it happen to you too, veerji?”

“Yes, bhaine. It happens to me too. And perhaps, it happens to everyone. Our mood or our emotional state or our state of mind is perhaps the single most important factor that affects our thoughts. And you know what builds our state of mind?”

“No idea!”

“Simple. Our previous thoughts. Our current state of mind is the result of all our previous thoughts, not only of this lifetime but of previous lifetimes as well. So, in a way, we are in a loop. Our previous thoughts would generally determine our current thoughts unless we deliberately choose different thoughts. So, you would encounter people who are always optimistic – they are optimistic because they have been optimistic in the past, and thus, it is natural or easier for them to be optimistic. In other words, since they have been thinking positive thoughts for a long time, their state of mind is positive, and such a state of mind generates positive thoughts. Similarly, a person can be trapped in a loop of negative thoughts. Is it making sense?”

“Yes, veerji.. I am trying to assimilate it. But my question is: what about my mood or emotional state? Is it same as state of mind?”

“Yes, bhaine. I understand them as one and the same. To make it clear, I have to tell you that your thoughts are not separate from your emotions i.e. every thought is associated with an emotion. What we call negative thoughts are the thoughts that are associated with negative emotions such as fear, anger, depression, envy, jealousy etc. And what we call positive thoughts are the thoughts that are associated with positive emotions such as love, joy, forgiveness, compassion, kindness, hope, optimism. So, when you say your mood is upset, it just means that you are thinking negative thoughts. And when your mood is upset, you are likely to think even more negative thoughts. Why? Because there is a momentum of negativity in you at that time, and thus, every subject you touch in your mind at that time, you turn it into negative. A repetition of similar energy thoughts – energy means emotion – builds a momentum in you. Thus, the more you think negatively, the more negative emotions you have, the more is the negative energy momentum in you, and thus, the more likely you’ll continue to think negatively. What is the way to break this cycle of negativity? What do you think?”

“uhhh… probably, to stop thinking altogether?”

“Not really. It is actually impossible to stop your thoughts. Thoughts are the flow of energy, and it is impossible to kill energy. The more you try to kill the energy by applying your energy, the more the energy that gathers in the system. Therefore, it is never recommended to suppress thoughts. The more you try to suppress particular thoughts, the more they gather power. What is recommended is that you redirect this energy. This energy that is flowing in the negative direction – you can direct it towards positive direction…”

“But how?”

“By thinking about positive things in life. By thinking about subjects about which you have positive momentum in yourself. For example: if you are upset about something in your college, then you should try to think about your best friends in school. Since you have been thinking very positive thoughts about your school friends for a long time, there is a lost of positive momentum in your mind about the subject of school friends. So, when you are surrounded by negativity about one subjects or a few subjects, you can try to think about your school friends. If the positive momentum of your school friends in your mind is stronger than your current negative momentum, your mood will begin to change. However, if the positive momentum of your school friends is not as stronger, then your mood may not change much. In those situations, try to think of subjects in which you have even greater positive momentum. A lot of times, reading Gurbani or other inspirational or spiritual books may be helpful in such situations.”

“Hmmm..”

“The problem with negative thoughts is two fold: first problem is that they definitely spoil our current mood – every negative thought harms us by harming our mood. Rather, a thought is called negative only if it has a negative impact on our emotions. So, any thought associated with emotions of fear, envy, anger, depression, jealousy, hopelessness, vengeance etc is a negative thought, and should be avoided. Second problem with negative thoughts is that they make us more likely to think negative thoughts in the future. Because each negative thought builds a negative momentum in our mind, we become even more likely to think negative thoughts in the future. And you know what happens when we think negative thoughts”

“Veerji, the karmic law applies, and we are surrounded by negative circumstances in life. Is it?”

“Right. Ultimately, all thoughts become manifested in physical form, and this physical form could be in the form of people or circumstances – anything that impacts our physical life directly. Therefore, Khoji says that we should replace negative thought with a positive, the moment the negative thought appears in our mind. The reason is that the more we allow a negative thought to breed in our mind, the more energy it will acquire, and then it’ll become difficult to replace it. It is easier to overpower a child than to overpower a well-grown adult. Right?”

“Yes, veerji. But veerji, how do we decide whether a thought is positive or negative? By looking at its associated emotion?”

“Yes, bhaine. A thought is positive if it is associated with a positive emotion. And a thought is negative if it is associated with a negative emotion. All positive emotions feel good, and all negative emotions feel bad. But I’ll detail all of it in a while. Let me first cover your question that how do we ensure that our thoughts are good.”

“Ok.. veerji”

“Tilll now, we know that Sangat of thoughts with our consciousness or attention is the only Sangat that matters. However, it means that we need to take care of all the factors that impact our thoughts. The first and the most important factor that affects our thoughts is our state of mind, which is nothing but a result of all our previous thoughts. The problem with most or almost all of us is that our state of mind is polluted or negative. Thus, our natural responses or thoughts in most situations are negative. Usually, we are driven by thoughts of greed, lust, anger, envy, jealousy, fear etc. Right?”

“Right, veerji. At least, this is true for me.”

“Good bhaine. At least, you recognize it. Recognition of a problem is the first step towards solving it. Some people don’t even recognize this problem. They rather justify their negative thoughts by blaming people or circumstances. They cannot solve their problem of negativity. They are trapped in a vicious circle of negativity. The more they justify their negative thoughts and responses, the more they think negatively. The more they think negatively, the more their circumstances become negative. And the more their circumstances become negative, the more justification they have for their negative thoughts. Thus, I’ll recommend that even if you think negatively, don’t try to justify it. You have to recognize that the final authority over your thoughts is you. Thus, if you are thinking a negative thought, it is your responsibility to change it. Blaming outer circumstances or people will not help. And the interesting part is that once you change your thoughts, the outer circumstances will start changing by themselves. Why? Why bhaine?”

“As you sow, so shall you reap.”

“Right, bhaine. Your outside world is a reflection of your inside. If your inside world i.e. your thoughts are filled with negativity, the outside world will only reflect that negativity. Similarly, if your inside world is filled with positivity, the outside would will reflect that positivity. There is some time it takes for energy to manifest in physical form. But it always does. Therefore, Gurbani is all concerned with changing ourselves.

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The reason we should follow Gurbani and change our inside is not that it will benefit someone else, but that it will benefit us. If we follow Gurbani and fill ourselves with virtues, and abandon vices, our life will reflect happiness, success, love, abundance, and all positive things. Now, given our state of mind, we should even avoid the thoughts that originate from that. In other words, we should avoid the Sangat of our mind. This aspect of mind that is the accumulation of all our previous thoughts is knows as “Antishkaran” in Punjabi. However, the difficult here is that the thoughts that originate from our Antishkaran feel very natural to us. It seems that those thoughts are our natural reaction to the situation. In a way, it is. But if we want to change our life in a positive way, we have to abandon such ‘natural’ thoughts and pay heed to the guidance of Gurbani. You may not succeed in following Gurbani the first time, but if you persist, eventually, you will be able to follow the path of Gurbani and direct your life towards positivity.

So, now, we have talked about one more form of Sangat or association i.e. the association with our state of mind or Antishkaran. Why do we call it Sangat? We call it Sangat because this Antishkaran has an impact on our thoughts. So, there can be as many types of Sangat as are the factors that influence our thoughts. Can you think of factors other than your state of mind that impact your thoughts?”

“Probably, the people around me?”

“Right. Also, your surroundings. For example: you may feel better in a hill station than in a polluted city. Also, the books you read, the TV, movies, videos you watch. Also, the food you eat. Also, the fragrance you smell. Basically, anything that impacts your five senses: touch, smell, taste, vision or hearing. Anything that can impact your thoughts. However, generally, what you listen to and watch or see or read has much greater impact on your thoughts than what you touch, smell, or taste. Makes sense?”

“Yes, veerji. Getting a bit heavy now.. (smiling) ”

“Hmmm.. I can understand. So, tomorrow, we’ll talk about these other forms of Sangat i.e. Sangat of books, TV etc. You are a free bird now (smiling) “

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