An Essay on Motivation
by Susan Smith Jones, PhD ©
Excerpts from The Joy Factor, Walking on Air and Renew Your Life
Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
~ Mark Twain
Positive thinking became almost synonymous with success in the 1970s. In its early use in organizations such as Dale Carnegie's success courses, positive thinking meant using willpower and conscious, positive thoughts to achieve goals. "What you can conceive and believe, you can achieve," is a popular positive thinking slogan. Never should we underestimate the divine potential of positive thinking. If it's rightly employed, this power of the mind is a catalyst that makes possible a wondrous transformation in our lives.
I see positive thinking as looking for the hand of God in every situation -- finding in happy experiences glimpses of His infinite kindness, and in painful ones His guidance and blessings to help us win new victories over our limitations.
It's a curious thing to me that no one ever taught me how to use my mind in school. I was taught mathematics, history, science, social studies, and English, but no course was offered on the science of mind so that I could learn more effectively. If I had my way, I would require all students, each year of their education, to take a class I'd call Mind Power: How to Achieve Your Goals & Live Your Highest Vision. This would be all about the science of mind and would cover a variety of topics, including mind strength and clarity -- how to be alert yet relaxed. A special section would be devoted to attention and how it affects all areas of our lives. Finally, students would be shown how to choose effective, positive thoughts -- to be in control of thinking at all times, instead of allowing thoughts to be in control.
Control of the mind is essential if we are going to live peacefully, joyfully and healthfully. Be firm but loving for the mind is the rein that controls the horses - the emotions and the body - and guides them to safety along the road of life. Train the mind always to be loving and kind and to see the best in others and in everything. When the road of life is steep, keep your mind even.
What you give your love, time and attention to, you get more of in your life. We must become aware of our thoughts. Our thoughts determine our experiences. Each of us has the freedom to accept and embrace whatever thoughts we choose. You possess within the silence of your being the ability to think, create and become whatever you want to become. So take your thoughts off the negative and think only about those things you want to be part of your life.
Our Life is a Reflection
Our lives reflect our thoughts, dreams, expectations, beliefs, hopes, feelings of self-worth and desires. Knowing this, you can consciously modify your inner states to create and live your highest potential and vision. We are not victims of circumstances; we are the architects of our lives. Our conscious thoughts create an image of our lives, ourselves, our feelings; our subconscious reproduces that image perfectly. We create our own heaven or hell. Your thoughts can imprison you or set you free. Complications, conditions or people do not upset you, but the way you think about them causes your upset. Freedom is not possible until we discipline and retrain our minds.
Inevitably, your beliefs and thoughts create your reality. Let's look at an all-too-common example of how this concept works: weight control. Let's assume that you've always had difficulty controlling your weight. You've tried all kinds of diets and they've never worked, so you have negative beliefs about diets. You've tried to limit the amount of food you eat without much success, so you don't have much faith in your self-control. And you get on the scale every morning and the figures on the scales usually serve to reinforce your view of yourself as overweight. It really is a vicious cycle. In order to better understand why you keep repeating the same patterns, let me explain a bit about the way your mind works.
Brain researchers see the mind as composed of two primary parts: the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. A window to the world, your conscious mind runs your daily waking activities, such as making decisions, relating to others, and so on. Your subconscious mind, however, carries memories of all your experiences. It is the storage center for all the information your conscious mind sends it, based on your daily experiences. Your subconscious mind is a computer that is fed the data of your every thought and experience.
Relating this to the example of weight control: if you get up every morning and worry about what clothes will fit, if you dread getting on your scale, if you dislike being seen in public, if you think about going on a diet (they don't work anyway and that's another article) but doubt that it will work, you are programming your subconscious computer in a negative way.
Your mind creates reality according to its programming. If you think of yourself as fat, as having little self-control, as being unable to change, you will see those beliefs reflected in your life.
The same is true for every other area of your life. Your beliefs and thoughts about yourself, your relationships with others, your money, your material possessions, your job, and so on, will be faithfully recreated in your life. Now you may be reading this and thinking, "That isn't true for me. I know that I really want to lose weight and tone up my body (or make more money or get involved in a relationship) but I'm not experiencing that in my life." To that I would say that there is a difference between wanting something on a conscious level and wanting it on a subconscious level.
Our conscious mind and our subconscious mind are often in conflict. Consciously you may want something, yet subconsciously you create mediocrity or failure. That's why positive thinking as it is commonly perceived doesn't work. It doesn't do much good to force yourself to think positive thoughts on a conscious level while your subconscious still harbors many negative beliefs. What you need to do in order to break the vicious cycle of negative beliefs that is creating a negative reality is to reprogram your subconscious mind through methods we will examine in a moment. In addition, you must make some behavior changes on a conscious level that will contribute to new beliefs.
In other words, you must be what you desire. To be it, you must first capture the feeling of whatever it is you desire, whether it's being happy, or loving, or prosperous, or fit. Then you'll start acting that way and finally become it. The essential key in the process is capturing the feeling, because when you do that you've captured the ability to internalize it. Then it's only a matter of time.
If you see your world only according to what surrounds you right now, you are judging by appearances and limiting what you are going to have. Instead of thinking, "I'll believe it when I see it," think "I'll see it when I believe it." Trust in the Universe, the power within, regardless of appearances. For it's from the invisible that the visible is made possible and comes into fruition.
Change Your Consciousness
As we change our consciousness, we change our lives. Because thoughts create form, the very thing you believe becomes reality for you because you believe in it. Richard Bach, in Jonathan Livingston Seagull, said, "Don't you believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding, find out what you already know and you'll see the way to fly."
So first, you must say what it is you desire, and you must be specific. You must put in mind that which you choose to bring into your life. You must direct the power within to create what you want. The creative principle works according to the seeds that you plant. Therefore it's imperative that you plant the seeds that you desire to grow. When you plant seeds that you don't want to grow, it's out of a lack of understanding. If you plant love you get back love. If you plant scarcity, you get back scarcity. So, say what you want, be specific, and act "as if," that is, act as if what you want were already true.
It's important to understand that belief can be embodied in consciousness through "the path of emotions." Regarding the emotions, the idea must be one that excites our interest. The interest will then stimulate the emotions, particularly feelings of love, and when the feeling reaches the stage of passion it will then be recorded as a belief in the mind.
Let's take a closer look at the role of feelings in being the person you want to become. Your feelings are the power that creates. Just to simply visualize something without deep, passionate feelings will do little good. From the extensive research I have done in the field of manifestation, I have come to appreciate the role of feelings. I like to describe feelings as an electromagnetic force field that is so strong it sends up a vibration that pulls like vibrations to itself. It is a magnet for similar energy particles. The result: more of those situations that produced the feeling to begin with. For example, human behavior specialists know that success begets success and failure begets failure. After interviewing many highly intelligent, successful people with diverse backgrounds and vast experience, the conclusion I came to was that how you feel about things can be a determining factor in the way your life works out. And any feelings we want we can have by simply being it. It's this powerful force of feeling that acts as a generator to bring into creation that which we desire. Negative feelings will bring negative results. Positive feelings will bring positive results.
As I lecture around the country and worldwide, I often hear statements such as this: "I continually affirm, visualize, meditate, and believe in my highest good, but I rarely see results." Most of the time it's because the receiving channels have not been opened. This can be done by practicing forgiveness toward ourselves and others and by releasing all fear, anger, guilt and any blockages to the presence of the love inside you.
(You can read more about this in my books The Joy Factor, Living on the Lighter Side, Wired to Meditate, Choose to Live Peacefully, Walking on Air, and Health Bliss, as well as my 14-title, multi-product complete “reinvent your life” package available on my website titled Renew Your Life: Choose to Live Fully.)
Make External Changes
Let's now take a look at some external, conscious changes you can make. For example, if you feel that your beliefs about money are creating negative results in your life, examine the behaviors that support those negative beliefs. Maybe you are frugal in your grocery shopping; you always buy the cheapest of every brand and skip the luxuries. Although that frugality might be wise in light of your current financial situation, you should be aware that it also tends to reinforce your belief that you have very little money. One way to attack this belief would be to substitute a new behavior for an old one. In other words, the next time you're in a grocery store, allow yourself to indulge in a little luxury. And while you're doing it, imagine that this is your present reality.
If your problem is loneliness, make it a point to smile at one stranger every day, just as if you had plenty of friends and an abundance of love to share.
If you are overweight, buy yourself something appealing that you would normally have denied yourself because of your present weight.
The more time you spend acting "as if" and imagining yourself as already having achieved a goal, the more likely you will be able to achieve the goal.
Here's another important aspect of creating what you desire -- the Law of Circulation. You must also give away the very thing you desire. What you give out, you get back multiplied. If you desire increased prosperity in your life, share what you do have with others. Don't hoard it, because that would be a manifestation of a fear that there might not be enough. If there is a person or organization that has enriched your life, give from your heart with no expectations and you will see the prosperity come back to you multiplied and in ways you never expect. It always works that way.
The Law of Circulation in Action
Not long ago, after writing my prosperity affirmations and goals on cards one morning, I went to the grocery store. While waiting in the checkout line, I suddenly called out to the harried mother in front of me, "I'll pay for those,” because I could see that she didn’t have enough money to cover the groceries for herself and her three children accompanying her. Well, needless to say, she was astonished. Quite honestly, so was I. The words seemed to have just popped out of my mouth. After some hesitancy, and some excellent persuasion on my part, she let me pay her bill. I felt terrific! It is said, "To give is to receive," and it surely rang true for me that day in the market. The pleasure I received made me feel rich inside. But that is not the end of the story.
Later that same day while doing errands in Santa Monica, I ran into a lovely lady whom I had counseled on numerous occasions several months before with issues of extra weight, poor health, depression, no passion for life, financial challenges, etc. At that time, she had been unable to pay anything for the many holistic lifestyle counseling sessions I gave her. So I let it go and put it in God’s hands knowing that the Law of Circulation always works and that, somehow, it would come back to me multiplied in other ways. That day she gave me a check, which was already written out for twice as much as she owed me, saying that my work with her immensely changed her life for the better. She carried my entire Renew Your Life: Choose to Live Fully program on her iPad, and she even showed it to me as we visited over a cup of tea at a local café. I can attest to that as I saw her pull out from her tote bag the check (that was written out that same morning) and her iPad containing my 14-title program. She was planning to mail the payment to me sometime that same day. Running into me gave her an opportunity to give me a big hug of appreciation and to thank me in person for being her catalyst for positive change and especially for my Renew Your Life program that she refers to daily for inspiration and motivation.
I believe that there are no coincidences in life. Everything unfolds in divine order. During our visit, she said that I was now her official “muse,” a comment I’ve heard often before — one that always makes me smile and fills my heart with joy. Well, needless to say, I was touched to the core, deeply grateful and so proud to see her weight loss success, financial triumph and new positive attitude about life. What a delight to see the laws of prosperity and circulation working as described here in this article. She and I also made more appointments for counseling sessions to start the following month. Give from your heart to those who have enhanced your life and it will come back to you multiplied. Practice the Law of Circulation. Be the change you want to see and create in your life. Act as if your are now living your highest vision for yourself and support this with very thought, word and action.
To act "as if" takes courage and trust, and I know it's hard to start giving when you don't think you have enough. I realize that some of you reading this want to get out there and participate and have fun, but you are scared. But you must go out into the world as if you had the courage -- and then you'll find that the courage you wanted is already there. Do the thing and the power is yours. But it begins with a risk. If you don't risk you don't receive. That's how you generate the power.
Another way to move toward the achievement of your goals is through reprogramming your subconscious mind. There are many methods available: creative visualization, affirmations, meditation, self-hypnosis, and biofeedback techniques are just a few and are discussed in all of my books. The idea is to alter your state of consciousness so you can temporarily set aside the conscious mind and focus your concentration specifically on your subconscious. Suggestions given to your subconscious while in an altered state of consciousness, whether they are images or affirmations, will be at least 20 times as effective as suggestions given in a normal state of consciousness, according to brain researchers.
Demystify Your Beliefs
Many people feel that their deepest beliefs and feelings are forever a mystery to them. They feel they don't understand the real reasons behind their actions, and as a result they feel powerless to change their actions. You have the power and ability to recognize and change the beliefs you have about yourself. Although your beliefs may seem mysterious and complicated on a conscious level, on a subconscious level they are usually simple. Your beliefs about yourself are based entirely on your past experiences. All of your experiences program your subconscious, and the result is the person you are today.
That is not to say that all you will ever be is the sum of your experiences. However, unless you take conscious control and choose the kind of programming you are feeding into your subconscious computer, you are destined to repeat your past experiences. Have you ever noticed that your life experiences are all very similar -- it's just the people who keep changing?
Realize that the subconscious is programmed; it doesn't reason. When you understand this concept and integrate this knowledge into your life, you will be able to create a healthier, happier life than you ever imagined possible. The subconscious works to create reality according to the programming it has been fed. Although this is normally accomplished by thoughts and through your life experiences, brain researchers have found that the subconscious is incapable of telling the difference between reality and fantasy, between the real experience and the imagined experience.
So taking time each day to visualize your goals can have a profound effect on your life. As George Bernard Shaw said, "Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine; and at last you create what you will."
At least once a day, I incorporate conscious creative visualization into my schedule. It's a tool for using your imagination more consciously. You must practice it with feeling, thanksgiving and acceptance. If you want greater health, see yourself in your mind's eye as radiantly healthy and energetic. Whatever those mental pictures are for you, make them vivid and real. If you want more peace, visualize yourself as a peaceful person. The same with prosperity, creativity, happiness, relationships and anything else you might want. See your ideal visions and feel the joy and thanksgiving you would have were the vision your current reality. Don't let your ego get in the way. Your ego is where your fears reside. Creative visualization should be no-limit thinking and feeling. Stay open to all possibilities. What's life without your dreams?
Albert Einstein said that he conceived of the theory of relativity by visualizing "what it must look like to be riding on the end of a light beam."
Henry David Thoreau once said, "If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours."
I love that. It always works, but it takes getting out there and advancing confidently in the direction of your dreams. What are your dreams? What is your vision? What do you expect to achieve in life? An important part of the process is expectation. Always expect to achieve your highest good, the best life has to offer, and live so that the best may become a part of your experience. Never allow anyone or anything to cause you to doubt your power and ability to live your vision -- to manifest your goals and dreams.
I've come to realize that there's an unfathomable, yet recognizable, divine order to this universe. It's ever present and always working in alignment with what we need for our highest good and spiritual unfoldment and growth. I've learned not to analyze or question it anymore.
Living in Awe
I continue to live in awe at the magnificent adventure life continually is. I'm convinced that it's extremely important to always imagine and think about what you want in life, while at the same time letting go of thoughts of what you don't want. In other words, let your imagination work for you and not against you. Make friends with your thoughts. Know that you are exactly where you need to be in life and, at any moment, you can choose to experience something else simply by taking responsibility and consciously choosing to think differently. This reminds me of the fantastic line by writer Nikos Kazantzakis: "You have your paintbrush and colors. Paint paradise, and in you go."
There is power in what you think and say. But I'm not saying that all you have to do is put different pictures in your head and say a few positive words and immediately your life will turn around. I am saying that in order to change, you must start with your images, thoughts and words. They will then get stored in your subconscious as reality. Then you will start acting on that new reality. I use visualization for everything from healing relationships, to increasing my prosperity and fitness level, to finding parking spots, and tapping into higher levels of creativity and peacefulness.
These days most of my visualizations and affirmations have to do with being in perfect harmony with the Divine within and staying open to this guidance. I want to be an open vessel through which God's will is manifest in my life. My human mind is not usually aware of what God's will for me is, but my Divine Mind is. Every day, through prayer and meditation, I consciously surrender all to God, holding nothing back; and I ask for awareness, strength and courage to act on the guidance I receive. In adopting this way of living, I have seen more changes and far greater fulfillment in my life than I could have imagined possible. The indwelling Spirit in you, makes all things new. This Divine power completely regenerates, renews, restores and rebuilds your life and world. I realize that Spirit can do for me only what it can do through me. "When you unlock the human door you are caught up in the life of the universe where your speech is thunder, your thought is law, and your words are universally intelligible," said Ralph Waldo Emerson. And similarly from Neville we find, "Be still and know that you are that which you desire to be, and you will never have to search for it."
So follow your heart's desires. Commit to your dreams and regardless of appearances, don't give up. Persevere and you'll find the way to freedom. And choose your highest and best thoughts and words at all times.
As mentioned above, there are many sample affirmations, visualizations, and other countless, detailed “living your highest vision” tips and suggestions available in my books and audio albums, including The Joy Factor, Walking on Air, Celebrate Life!, Health Bliss, Wired to Meditate, Be Healthy~Stay Balanced, and Choose to Live Peacefully.
However, if you only want to purchase one comprehensive and immensely thorough program that provides all of the tools you’ll need to reinvent your entire life, create high-level success in all areas of your life, and bring your dreams and goals to fruition in record-breaking time — for yourself, your family, and your loved ones, choose my best-selling program Renew Your Life: Choose to Live Fully. This 14-title complete program is popular worldwide and has already been enjoyed by people internationally from Australia to England, from China to Ireland, from the United States to Italy, and from Japan to France. For more information on this bestselling program, to read a variety of endorsement testimonials from around the world, or to order Renew Your Life: Choose to Live Fully right now, please click here.