Have you ever fallen asleep and had thoughts randomly enter your head? Did you just go with those thoughts or seriously question them? And what if you had total paralysis, were in a coma, or were bedridden, unable to withstand a human voice or sunlight? What would you do with those thoughts, then?
I considered this deeply when growing sick with chronic fatigue. I thought I’d die within two years or be bedridden for a decade. But I found a solution.
We’ll get to that in a moment. First, I was so sick this past Sunday that I laid in bed all day. It was the first time I’d been ill in a while, but I observed my thoughts during that bed rest. Interestingly, my thoughts were different from what I’d hoped they would be. Some of the thoughts had words with no English foundation. Other thoughts had nothing to do with my life. But I was sleepily responding to these thoughts as if they were generated by me.
But were they?
I consider Paul Friedman of The Marriage Foundation to be a spiritual maverick. He launched his foundation without any accreditation from the psychological community. However, his success in recovering marriages may be much more effective than traditional marriage therapy. At least, that’s the foundation’s claim, and I have not shed doubt that it’s true.
One of Friedman’s fundamental teachings is how to control the mind. I’ve been managing my mind to such good effect that everything in my world is turning positive. Of course, maintaining the mind takes vigilance. But it’s also as simple as correcting or ignoring thoughts not filled with joy. We are only defined by thoughts that reveal our true nature—and that’s love. Anything less is not truly us.
But what if you or I become bedridden, immobile, or fully paralyzed? What do we do with our thoughts, then? Of course we’d still retain control of our thoughts. But moreover, if we controlled those thoughts to generate joy, we might experience a happier world than someone with optimal physical health.
So, how should we control our thoughts during total paralysis or immobility? Here is what I’d do:
First, I’d focus on sending loving thoughts to all others. Whenever someone came to mind, friend or foe, I’d send them love. And I’d consider only their strengths and positives, never their negatives. Also, whenever I had even a fleeting negative thought about anyone, including myself, I’d note that we are all essentially souls made of love. (That’s the ultimate lesson I learned from Friedman’s teachings.)
Next, I’d topple any negative thoughts by turning them into positives. For instance, if I were to feel jealousy, I’d change that jealousy to love and empathy. Not a second of resentment would any longer cross my mind. I believe jealousy—or any negative emotion—is never productive.
Or, as another example, if I were troubled by how someone might judge me, I’d imagine that person to be an all-loving being (God). Then, I’d see how I’d measure up to that all-loving being. And I know I’ll be loved by that loving being. But I’d also explore the lessons the all-loving being might impart. For instance, if I’m feeling insecure about being judged for my appearance, I’d think of what an all-loving being might think. And I know that an all-loving being would value my heart over anything physical. So, I’d focus on making my heart beautiful.
Also, I would develop my soul if in a coma or paralysis state. First, I’d contemplate the most ideal soul traits a person can possess, such as love, truth, joy, beauty, kindness, and so many more. Then, I’d immediately release any thoughts that didn’t live up to these ideals. Negative thoughts are not truly us, and they are not ours. So instead, I’d entertain only those thoughts that cultivate inner beauty.
Lastly, I’d appreciate the state I was in, as every obstacle is meant for us to overcome. And that overcoming means finding a higher place of love. In other words, any trauma we face is a blessing in disguise. It’s intended to help us grow.
No hardship can hold you down when you are alight with love. And you are filled with love, whether you know this or not. That’s because your most authentic self is pure love. Anything less is not your true nature. I learned this from The Marriage Foundation (and it’s crucial to credit them, although their pioneering ideas still need to be embraced by the psychological community).
Moreover, bliss is your birthright regardless of your circumstances. So, transform every thought into joy. After all, nothing is more beautiful than your true self!