Can thinking positively create a brighter future?
Transcribed by: Keshavagopal Das
Question: Can thinking positively create a brighter future?
Answer: There are two extremes. One is to think that our thoughts alone determine the future. There are books which almost make our mind as the controller of our destiny. For example, if I desire to have a car then I will have that car. Now basically, this is thinking that we are God. Certainly, by our thoughts alone, we cannot get whatever we want. That is not true. The other extreme is that our thoughts do not matter at all. That is also not true. Just as an archer has to properly use the resources (eyes, hands) with him to shoot the target, similarly mind is also a resource which needs to be used properly. If the mind is thinking always that we are not going to hit, then such negativity can sabotage us. Krishna talks about such habitual negativity as a characteristic of the mode of ignorance. In Gita, Krishna said that such determination is in the mode of ignorance where one is day dreaming, one is lamenting, one is habitually morose, one is gloomy. Such thinking is unhealthy.
Our negative thoughts can shape results negatively. This is something we all observe. Even in devotional circles, we observe this. When Srila Prabhupada went to the west, his godbrothers did not think that the prophecy of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu can be fulfilled. However, Srila Prabhupada did not think like that. He was confident, he attempted and became successful. However, at the same time we also need to understand that thoughts alone are not the only factor.
Gita 18.16 talks about five factors of actions. adhishṭhanam tatha karta karaṇam ca pṛthag-vidham vividhash cha pṛithak cheshṭa daivam chaivatra panchamam. One of the factors is cheshta i.e. endeavor. Our thoughts will determine how much we endeavor. If I think that I am not going to succeed, why should I waste my time in endeavoring. So, our attitude does matter. However, many self-help books guide us thinking that attitude alone does matter. Attitude does not change realities. Attitude can shape realities. However, if I think that I will never grow old, I will never die, I will never have disease, such realities are not going to change.
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