Kabbalists teach that our minds influence our reality. It’s a delicate dance of energy—think positively and you will attract positive energy into your life. Think negatively and, well, you get the picture. According to Rav Berg, "Our minds are as basic to the fabric of reality as time, space, and matter."
Research shows that our beliefs about our illnesses and ailments have a direct effect on how we recover. The evidence is so compelling that physicians have made it part of their practice to spend more time listening to patients’ thoughts about their illness, giving doctors the opportunity to dispel misconceptions, which could actually hinder the healing process. Patients that do not believe a course of treatment will work have a harder time coping with illnesses and are more likely to experience setbacks and complications. If mind over matter has the power to positively influence something as significant as our health, it stands to reason that applying this concept to other areas in our lives has the potential to wield astonishing miracles. Yet, when life throws us unexpected challenges, it can be difficult to stay positive. Here are three practices that can help you quickly shift your thoughts towards the Light.
Negative thoughts can take up residence in daily consciousness quickly. The origins of negative thoughts can seem harmless at first—you accidentally drop a dish and think, “What an idiot!” But one negative thought leads to another and before you realize it, the horizon is cloudy and grey, and you’re telling yourself that you can’t do anything right. Beware of hyperbolizing your weaknesses; try to see them not as flaws but as areas that simply need special attention, or in the case of clumsiness, see it as just a charming aspect of your personality. Give yourself a moment to pause then replace negative thoughts with more positive ones. You need not paint yourself as a saint. Rather, be real with yourself by taking note of the areas in which you excel. Who cares if balancing dishes is not one of them?
Focus Your Thoughts
Instead of wasting energy worrying about things we have no control over, focus on what is in your power. The field of epigenetics arose when scientists began to explore the possibility that one could alter their genetic destiny simply by making changes in their environment and behavior. We may not be able to control the genes we were dealt at birth, but we may have the power to “turn off” certain genetic predispositions by behaving in a particular way. For example, we may be able to avoid certain cancers we have been hardwired for by making shifts in our diet and lifestyle. Likewise, by steering our thoughts away from the “what ifs” of life and focusing our energy on the things we have the power to affect, like being prepared or having a positive attitude, we may be able to positively influence our future.
Dare to Be Uncomfortable
Believing in good things isn’t enough. We can’t just sit around waiting for change to happen. Get things moving in the right direction by acting like the person you want to be. If you wish you were more outgoing, push yourself to take initiative, be the one to start a conversation, or share a compliment. Though this can feel awkward at first, over time, you will actually become a more outgoing person.
The Zohar teaches us that we can apply the principle of “mind over matter” to virtually any aspect of our lives—an idea that is now supported by the scientific community. “Consciousness can influence, if not actually create, the physical universe,” says Rav Berg. So, the responsibility to alter that which we are dissatisfied with lies in our own hands. By turning our thoughts and actions towards the positive, we can invite more Light into our lives and perhaps shift our reality for the better.