If you want to know what you’ve been doing in the past, look at your body today. If you want to see what you’ll be doing in the future, look at your mind today. That’s a Buddhist expression, highlighting why it’s essential to keep your thoughts vibrant.
As I walked home carrying a giant milk jug, I smiled at an older lady of African descent. Her face was serious but looked beautiful in its neutrality.
She looked at me slowly, and I continued to smile at her.
“You’re so happy,” she said, her face still serious.
I told her how I’d been training my mind to be happy.
She shook her head. “Someone can really hurt you,” she said, and I saw pain fill her eyes.
I wanted to convince her that we all get hurt, but the goal is to grow closer to a place of love in response to pain. But she kept repeating that sometimes you get really hurt. Her spirit looked gently crushed. She had really loved someone, I thought. She slowed her pace, and I could tell she had had enough of me. So, I filled my soul with love for her and went on my way.
Later that night, I watched a near-death experience video I had seen earlier in the day. The woman in the video claimed she temporarily went to heaven, where she encountered a heavenly library. The library mainly consisted of books that recorded the lives of every living soul. The woman in the video said she then studied those books and experienced all those souls’ emotions. Some souls had neutral feelings, while others were vibrant. And she said that even the evil in the world was profoundly necessary as it allows us to grow.
At that moment, I realized, “Whether good things happen or evil, always make your thoughts vibrant.”
Similarly, The Marriage Foundation, which offers courses I’m taking, says that some people grow immensely in one incarnation. In contrast, most others may only grow a little. I believe the way to grow the most is to keep one’s thoughts joyful and love-filled no matter what happens. It takes great discipline and constant watching of one’s thoughts. It also requires abandoning all judgments of others, celebrating the uniqueness of all others, and letting go of ego. But most of all, it requires selflessness.
But don’t get me wrong. The woman I encountered did not appear at all vibrant, but the look of pain on her face seemed beautiful. That’s because her soul was beautiful. And she was at the crux of an opportunity to grow. And that growth is intended for us to arrive at a state of higher love.
Every soul is beautiful, I believe. The pain, the joy, the struggles, and the overcoming—it all has a purpose. And that purpose, in my mind, is to learn to love.