Last night I succeeded in asking myself what I wanted to think about when I woke. When I did wake, I asked myself again: what do you want to think about now that you’ve just opened your eyes? You can hardly blame your mind, you know, if it produces worry if you took no care even to ask for good things. Get something better by asking for it.
I remembered to ask and that was a good beginning. I got some very good thoughts, too.
What do you want to think about? If your thoughts were a landscape, what would you wish it to look like? People choose their vacation destinations more carefully than they choose their thoughts. Where do you want to travel imaginatively in the very present?
My dog Lucy began whining as soon as she knew I was awake. Unfortunately for me, the hour is early. I might go right back to sleep if she would not whine. But perhaps she has been awake much longer, traveling in a landscape of dog thoughts that led her to the conviction that eating — immediately — is what she wants.
Nevertheless, I did entertain the notion that her whines might be my echo. Am I, like her, whining inside? Life is such a miracle that we cannot see it and can barely appreciate it. Why am I not awestruck by just the light and air that fills the room?
Oh well, I am not. And I whine. I whine inwardly just like the dog. Dogs are alert. Maybe she senses my whining and echoes it back to me, supposing that she does me a favor. I thought the habits of my thoughts perhaps set up echoes in other people too, a particular person whose habits choreograph with my own — unknown, unrecognized, invisible to either side.
So I had asked myself if what I was doing encouraged or even caused the dog to whine. Merely asking a new question gains you new options. By confining her to the kitchen during the morning I make her unhappy. So I let her out. I still wasn’t going to feed her yet, but I would trust her to wander about the house and trust her not to disturb me too much. Indeed letting her out got her to relax.
Turning thoughts around lets you consider them from different vantage places.
I have decided to believe that a good outcome will arrive regarding a particular worry that causes me inwardly to whine like Lucy. I’m not going to put too much expectation on it other than that — keep the expectation vague like the lovely smudginess of a drawing that sketches first possibilities and leave the time element vague as well so that life can quietly flow toward you. I want to change the circumstances by changing myself. I got Lucy to whine less by letting her go, and mentally I let go of these thoughts that dog me, that plague me with their whining, barking, and agitation. I open the gate. There they go.
How will that mental change influence the cosmos? Assume that it will. There, that’s cheeky of you. You creature of a great cosmos. Assume that your influence has effect. If invisible particles can travel through vast distances and affect planets, cannot you and your silent thoughts create a ripple in the temporal pond?
What shore will it touch?