Because man himself is an expression of the Creative Word, sound has the most potent and immediate effect, offering a way to remembrance of divine origin.P. Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi
I was watching a group of tiny ants navigate the rim of our bathtub when the thought came to me, just use your mind power to ask them to leave! So I did. At first the ant that was scurrying towards my hand, turned and went the other way.
About this time, I noticed that a cellar spider, a small long-legged creature I have nick-named the protector spider was hanging not more than twelve inches above the ant mela, precariously watching the scene below unfold. Oh dear, my thoughts of arachnid versus odorous house ant were now streaming in my consciousness. The ant turned around and headed right for my bare arm, which was resting on the only part of the tub it could.
No, no, not this way, turn around, go back to your ant farm….er, crack in the wall! I realized I’d lost my mind power to a mere ant. If the ant went back towards its bedroom, it was nearer to the spider. If it came my way it could escape. I mentally asked it to please not crawl on my arm. Instead, it turned and climbed straight up the bathroom tile towards my morning cup of tea. No, not there, I thought, again, sending conflicting messages to the poor ant.
I looked for the spider, who must have benefitted from the ensuing chaos. It was eagerly reeling in a new victim, numbly dancing in its silky web. I had not heard it mumble a word. All the spider had to do was just lay in wait. Chances are it had been waiting there all night, its concentration solidified.
Success, happiness, healing ourselves and writing and creating all require focus and concentration. Our thoughts have power, and when we say them or sing them with intention they vibrate beautifully throughout the cosmos and can help us in unimaginable ways.
60,000 thoughts per day?
Studies show the average person has 60,000 thoughts per day. Everything from menial “oops it’s time to change the oil filter” to deep spiritual realizations like “when I finally obtain nirvikalpa samadhi, I’ll be able to _____(fill in the blank).
Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi, has said that thoughts are universally, not individually rooted. Swami Sri Yukteswar demonstrated this to Yogananda when his young disciple absent-mindedly left the ashram door unlocked in The Cauliflower Robbery, a delightful story of mind-control and cosmic consciousness:
All thoughts vibrate eternally in the cosmos. By deep concentration, a master is able to detect the thoughts of any mind, living or dead. Thoughts are universally, not individually rooted; a truth cannot be created, but only perceived. The erroneous thoughts of man result from imperfections in his discernment. The goal of yoga science is to calm the mind, that without distortion it may mirror the divine vision of the universe.P. Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi
It’s indeed very humbling that your great idea for that new something you’ve been working on is really just a manifestation of thoughts already in the ether.
Yet right now, we are on the cusp of a new moon, and as such a new beginning. It is January, 2024, and the best time of the new year to affirm your new convictions, express your hidden creative voice, heal something you’ve long-wanted to heal, or sign-up for a pilgrimage.
Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
According to a study published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, repeating self-affirming statements can activate certain regions of the brain involved in self-related processing and reward, leading to increased positive emotions, self-esteem, and reduced stress response.
One of the best ways to launch the new year is to join me (yes, I’ll be taking this online workshop too), along with two very kind, engaging and wonderfully warm coaches in a 4-week online course that helps you use the power of affirmations to have better health, more success, happiness, or whatever it is you are imagining for yourself in the new year. It starts on Valentine’s Day, is $37 and promises to be fun and rewarding. Sign-up now and you’ll get a free copy of Yogananda’s Scientific Healing Affirmations: https://anandacollege.org/courses/change-your-life-for-more-success-happiness/
If gaining more brain power is a goal, the University of Pennsylvania researchers have shown that repeating affirmations produces physical changes in brain regions associated with self-processing, ultimately impacting their view of themselves, and these changes are associated with subsequent positive changes in people’s behavior.
Another study showed that individuals who practice positive affirmations may also experience increased self-confidence and self-worth and fewer harmful consequences of stress on the body and the mind. That may include reduced production of cortisol, a stress hormone. Increased cortisol levels have been linked with various physical and mental problems, such as weight gain, sleep difficulties, and increased risk of heart disease.
In short, people who practice positive affirmations may experience positive changes, fewer negative thoughts and a healthier response to stress. However, affirmations are the opposite of distorted thought waves—those things you can pick up from watching too much news, listening to music with negative thoughts, or just too much screen time experiencing the blah, blah, blah of our material world. Positive affirmations help you get stronger and face those challenges you’re experiencing around everything—your success, health, diet, money, friendships, even spirituality and creativity.
Strengthening Your Creative Muscles
In Vedic lore, music, as well as painting and drama are considered Divine arts. Yogananda said that many great works of art, poetry and music are inspired by astral memories. The desire to do noble things here on Earth is also often a carryover of Astral experiences between a person’s earth lives.
Though he often commented about earth being a school for higher learning, Yogananda also said that we have come to earth to entertain and be entertained.
In the realm of creativity and entertainment there are really very few teachers I know who possess what I call “the triple threat”—meaning they can write, paint, sing, act, dance and inspire others with such profound big-hearted ease and humor, you’ll want to hear what they have to say just to boost your own creative process. This is what Dr. Nefretete Rasheed’s workshop will offer you.
Her workshop is a fascinating and inspiring 6-week online experience entitled Poetry Workshop: The Journey Inward, March 1st to April 5th. You’ll come away with tools that will strengthen your creative muscles, and make you a better writer and communicator, all while having lots of fun and laughter for only $63: https://anandacollege.org/courses/poetry-workshop-the-journey-inward/
You may not gain the power to communicate with the insect world. But you’ll certainly have a lot to think about, write about and help the world see things in a new way.
It’s been said that satsang with other spiritual seekers can help remove negative thoughts and mental obstacles that block your spiritual path. As such, satsang while on pilgrimage can help to keep people engaged in spiritually-centered thoughts to maintain focus on the spiritual path.
If you go to places where masters have lived, the vibrations there will quicken your realization. That is the value of pilgrimages to holy places. The saint’s divine vibrations are still there, just as strong as when they were physically present. Those who are in tune will feel that presence. But first, one has to meditate and prepare himself.Paramhansa Yogananda
And speaking of satsang, if you’re wanting a spiritual pilgrimage, Nakula and I invite you to join us this September in Italy, where you will enjoy an uplifting journey into the heart of Italy. September is the ideal time to visit—it’s still warm without the tourist crowds, and we have a very special trip planned to the places where three powerful saints have left their vibrations for us to experience. When you use our holiday gift voucher before the March 7th deadline, you’ll receive $250 off your journey.
In Divine friendship,
Nayaswamis Nischala and Nakula
Ananda College of Living Wisdom