What are the moment-to-moment thoughts we are projecting every day?
From the soul's perspective, there is no more practical question than this, since the way we are thinking and feeling all the time forms our spiritual relationship with the world.
The more superficial sense of "I" that we experience as our private, individual, personality is formed by the thoughts, emotions and memories we habitually fall back into whenever we are not actively engaged with the outer world. This habit-mind is a kind of default stance that we are most familiar with, the stream of consciousness we "hear" when we silently "talk to ourselves." We are most familiar with this "me" because we have lived with it our whole life: It is, of course, the sum of all the body's experiences. The thoughts we think, the emotions we feel and the memories we relive by habit -- these are the components of our personal life-mood, the relatively constant way we have felt about our life since childhood that determines how we respond to what happens to us.
Our life-mood -- our personal demeanor, our lifelong disposition -- pours out of us into the invisible world of spiritual cause-and-effect that creates change in the visible world. In the long term, these ingrained attitudes create a stagnant relationship with the world around us: When our moment-to-moment thoughts remain the same, our personal power and success and luck remain the same. The consistent inner actions we are habitually producing radiate out into the spiritual environment, where they interact with those of others. It is in this realm that we can change our life for the better: When we change our moment-to-moment thoughts, we change our personal power and success and luck.
Soul-thoughts express the soul's intention to live in harmony with our spiritual environment: They are inner actions that we consciously take up to replace our habitual thoughts, emotions and memories. They are ancient thoughts that evoke new emotions and memories, thereby opening the door for a new moment-to-moment stream of consciousness to pour out of us into the realm of spiritual cause-and-effect.
Such soul-thoughts are timeless lessons of wisdom that have for ages been used to align the personality with the soul. They attune our personality to the laws of spiritual cause-and-effect, bringing it into harmony with the underlying harmony of the world. By concentrating on soul-thoughts instead of allowing our habit mind to run away with us, we change our relationship to the world -- by thinking soul-thoughts instead of habit-thoughts, we rise above the pettiness of self-centeredness that has been holding us back from experiencing our birthright of full personal power, success and luck.
Soul-thoughts, then, orient the personality to the compass points of the spiritual landscape. The practice of concentrating on each in turn evokes more sublime sensitivities and engenders more profound experiences -- it allows us, in other words, to respond to events in creative, spontaneous and beneficial ways rather than continuing to react in predictable and habitual ways. By shifting our attention away from the narrow view of the personality's self-interest, we paradoxically make the personality more successful. This occurs because soul-thoughts resonate with the underlying harmony of the spiritual laws of cause-and-effect, thereby unlocking the hidden doors leading to greater personal power, success and luck. In this sense, working with soul-thoughts enhances the way we interact with others and allows us to make new kinds of decisions -- not simply more effective ones, but startling and surprising decisions that carry us into a new and more exciting life.
Try replacing your self-defeating thoughts with the statements in italics below for extended periods of time -- thinking them in your heart, feeling them in your mind -- to both calm the negative habits of your personality and experience the presence of your soul closer to the surface of everyday awareness.
Five Soul-Thoughts for a Radiant Life
1. Assessing Present Thoughts:
As an immortal spirit, are these the thoughts, feelings and memories I choose to carry for eternity?
2. Attaining Inner Freedom:
What is most important is not how others are treating me -- what is most important is how I am treating others.
3. Expressing Inner Power:
I am a well of happiness, overflowing into the lives of others.
4. Attuning to Good Fortune:
I am part of a Living Whole that wants the best for me and all others at the same time.
5. Ennobling this Lifetime:
Because everything is sacred, so am I.
By orienting us within the realm of spiritual cause-and-effect, soul-thoughts transform our moment-to-moment inclination toward what we are about to experience. They allow us to lean into the coming moment with a more open-minded, open-hearted and dynamic personality. Instead of leaning into the coming moment with the kind of self-defeating thoughts, emotions and memories that lead us to keep trying the same failed strategies over and over, we find ourselves attuned to the whole and moving along with it conscientiously.
Ultimately, the primary lesson we learn from concentrating on soul-thoughts is this: What we are looking for is not something we wait to learn or understand or receive -- it is something that we ourselves produce in our hearts and send forth to shine on the furthest horizons of the spiritual universe.
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'The Toltec I Ching,' by Martha Ramirez-Oropeza and William Douglas Horden, has been released by Larson Publications. It recasts the I Ching in the symbology of the Native Americans of ancient Mexico and includes original illustrations interpreting each of the hexagrams. Its subtitle, "64 Keys to Inspired Action in the New World," hints at its focus on the ethics of the emerging world culture.
Two companion volumes, The Five Emanations, and The Spiritual Basis of Good Fortune, have recently been published, in print and e-book formats, that expand on carrying the practices forward in the modern world. http://williamdouglashorden.com