Thought Power

Dr Harilal Bhikha, MB, BS, (South Africa)

The mind is marvellous and its scope and potential are infinite. All of us constantly use the mind to think, to learn, to work and to enjoy life in its different manifestations. Great men have been successful by diligently applying their minds with ever increasing dedication to the achievement of their goal. The virtue of the mind is that it is ever evolving, growing stronger and stronger. Its energies are continually being recalled from their dissipating tendencies and redirected towards a focus. In this way the myriads of thought streams are gradually channelled to form a broad river with a strong current. In today's world, it is this strong surging current that yields power for use by mankind.

But what actually is the mind? The mind is said to be a functional unit consisting of thoughts, which control and direct the body. Thoughts are very fast. We are all accustomed to switching on a light bulb, and instantly the bulb glows. Thoughts, however travel much faster and their glow spreads far and wide.

The state of the mind and body is determined by the quality of the thoughts. Happy thoughts create an harmonious functioning of the nervous and endocrine systems which in turn influence the other organs to work efficiently. Every cell has a consciousness and intelligence which responds immediately and spontaneously to the commands and moods of the mind. When the thoughts are harmonious, the cells respond like children being brought up under harmonious family conditions.

Thoughts and their corresponding emotions wield so much power over the body, ever so quickly and continuously, that it is of paramount importance to our health that we become aware of the ill-effects of negative thought patterns and emotions, and the soothing and beneficial effects of an harmonious mind. One of the studies conducted at the Yoga Institute in Lonavala revealed the effects of anger on the stomach. An X-ray made before the subject became angry showed a smooth outline of the stomach. Another X-ray made after provoking anger in the subject, showed a stomach with a blurred outline indicating violent contractions. It took some time for the stomach to return to peaceful activity.

In another study done in USA to bring out the physical effects of negative thoughts and emotions, the breath during exhalation was condensed on a cold plate. The condensation of the breath of emotionally upset people showed various coloured particles which, when extracted and injected into animals, provoked excitement and similar states in them.

A person receiving news of an unexpected death in the family immediately becomes shocked, depressed and loses his presence of mind. He goes pale, sweats, and loses his appetite. He may even suffer from a heart attack or a nervous breakdown. Hence we can clearly see that the state of mind (i.e. thoughts) inevitably influences all the workings of the body.

Negative emotions and thoughts, indulged in continuously over the years, are bound to produce slow irreversible organic changes which eventually culminate in diseases like hypertension, coronary attacks, asthma, diabetes, indigestion, and impotence. Negative thoughts contract the muscles of the body and produce deep grim lines on the face. Over long periods of time, the contracted muscles, under increased tension, cement into incorrect postures and reduce the range of movements of the various joints.

Can thoughts also influence other people and the external environment? Yes, very much. We live in a boundless world of thoughts, as thoughts by their very nature race across and permeate all space. They pass from one man to another and easily affect most people. Negative thoughts of anger, bitterness and malice pollute the environment and injure others. Such thoughts are quickly picked up by persons of like temperament. A man of powerful thoughts can readily influence people of weak thoughts. Hence the company one keeps is very important.

What is willpower and how is it related to one's thoughts? Willpower is strength of mind and it depends on the maintenance of an unbroken current of a single thought or idea. It is like the pressure in a pipe when the water is flowing through in a continuous stream, as opposed to the pressure when the water issues in small interrupted gushes on closing the tap. Willpower also goes a long way towards maintaining health and curing disease.

How is it possible to correct and select thoughts so as to develop a strong and healthy mind? Here are some suggestions which you may find helpful:

  1. Through introspection and analysis become aware of negative emotions when they arise and try to understand the circumstances that caused them.
  2. Realise that every time you get angry or upset with another person, you do more harm to yourself by releasing unnecessary hormones into the bloodstream. It is better to protect your own health by remaining positive than to fall prey to negative emotions and thoughts, and direct them towards other people.
  3. As a man thinketh, so he becometh. This great truth should be utilised throughout your life to infuse the mind with confidence, optimism, love and peace.
  4. Singing and laughing bring cheer and help to drive away negative thoughts.
  5. Noncooperation is the best policy when thoughts of revenge arise. Be objective and do not respond to them.
  6. Select places and people which invoke peace, confidence, friendliness, truthfulness and courage.

In conclusion we can sum up that:

  • * Positive thoughts will create a healthy body, and the resistance of a healthy body forms a strong bulwark against inroads of diseases.
  • * It is the chronic weak mind and depression that saps the health-giving energy and predisposes the body to invasion, proliferation and disease production by germs.
  • * In disease, thoughts directed under the power of the will strengthen the body mechanisms and enhance the onward march of the immune system to engulf and overpower germs. This goes a long way towards supplementing the effects of allopathic and ayurvedic medicines.
  • * It is possible to substitute negative thoughts with positive, strong thoughts to develop a healthy mind and a healthy body.