As a child, I had a reoccurring dream. It always started the same way. I was on a conveyor belt, flat on my back. The belt was moving at a slow, steady pace toward an opening that I would fall through. Once I tumbled down the hole, I would be in a new situation. There would be new people, new surroundings and some new challenge to be dealt with. The next night would bring another dream, but always with the same beginning.
Seventy five years later I remember two things about those conveyor trips. First, I was never afraid of what awaited me once I fell through that hole. In fact, I couldn’t wait to begin the night’s adventure. The second thing I remember is that while on the belt, I wasn’t alone. There was a presence there that assured me that all was well, regardless of the night’s enterprise. This entity was never seen, only felt, but the assurance given was such that there could be no doubt as to the truth of it. It was this assurance that gave me a spirit of adventure as I tumbled down the hole. I knew that I would always awake and that there would be another new challenge the following night. Such is the power of faith. At some point in time, around the age one starts to school, these dreams stopped. The conveyor belt prologue ceased to be and my dreams became a pastiche of my daily life with one exception, my fever dream.
Whenever I was ill and running a fever, I would dream the same dream. In this dream, I was inside a huge geodesic dome that from the inside resembled a honey comb. I was always situated high in one of the hexagonal cells, so high that I could never see the bottom of the structure. But I knew exactly why I was there. I was waiting to be moved. I knew that this was a place of embarkation. Here again, the presence that was with me on the conveyor belt brought with it a feeling of quite calm and a sense that all was well. Both of these dreams have remained in my consciousness for over seven decades and in many ways guided my actions over a lifetime. It is with these dreams in mind that I write this post.
I want you to know that you have access to that same presence that has been my companion all of my life. There have been times when I have not felt that spirit. There have been times when I have denied its very existence. But spirit does not require that we acknowledge it. Spirit simply is. In the words of Ernest Holmes, Spirit is “First Cause, the One Life back of everything that lives.” Some may call this Presence God. Others may use the words Allah or Yahweh. Still others will deny that such a force exists. It makes no difference what your belief system is. We all are subject to this force in the same way that we are subject to the laws of gravity and like the law of gravity; it is a force to be used.
As is so often the case, Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best. In his essay Pray Without
Ceasing, Emerson wrote:
“The minds of men are not so much independent existences, as they are ideas present to the mind of God; that he is not so much the observer of your actions, as he is the potent principle by which they are bound together; not so much the reader of your thoughts as the active Creator by whom they are aided into being.”
Emerson went on to say that “nothing but your liberty can you call securely and absolutely your own.”
This personal freedom is the secret to living a full and prosperous life. You are free. Free to respond to life exactly as you choose. You may not often feel that freedom but it is there and you can reconnect at any time. Let me give you an example I used with my students. I would ask the following question: ‘Did you drive here today?’ If you answered yes, they do you realize that by this time tomorrow, you could be in San Diego or San Francisco or Albuquerque?” Almost without exception the students first responded with denials: “I can’t do that, I have to go to work tomorrow.” “No I can’t, I have a child at home!” “Not me, my wife/husband would leave me!” And so on.
Now all of what they said may be true, but that does not alter the fact that they could. The reason that they did not accept my premise is that they felt they had no choice. They imposed limits not only on their actions but on their thinking as well. This is a key point and one we would all do well to remember. All choice begins with our thoughts.
We have far more control over our thoughts and emotions than we choose to exercise. Once we begin to exercise that control, we discover that we have choices available to us that we have yet to consider. It is through our choices that change can occur. This mantra is simple: Take control of your thoughts, make good choices and change your life. Stated another way, you would do well to think about what you think about. Now, by golly, think about that!