Getting Your Thinking Straight
By Harry Palmer
Note: This is a transcript of an early lecture, circa 1985.
Welcome to the first lecture of Living Deliberately. The purpose of this lecture is to teach you to recognize and develop the ability to handle certain factors that may be affecting the size of your income.
I want to talk to you today about something I think is fantastic. And if you don't believe it is fantastic, well all right, I'm willing to convince you. We're going to talk about deliberate thinking, about using the mind as a tool to create physical reality. Notice, I didn't say perceive physical reality. I said create physical reality.
In order to create something (other than a random effect) in the physical universe, you must first create an idea of the thing in your own mind. That is why the first step in achieving any kind of success is getting your thinking straight.
I have to credit my grandfather for the lesson, "First, let's get our thinking straight." That was his approach to a job. Experience had taught him that you didn't pick up something heavy until you figured out where to put it down.
That is a lesson that my brother and I would have done well to follow. Instead, we struggled to hold up a heavy couch while our mother changed her mind. "Let's try it over here. No. How about over here? No. How about under the window?" Likely as not, we'd end up putting the couch down in the same place we'd picked it up. Then he and I would collapse on the couch in exhaustion.
You know, there are an awful lot of people who are collapsed on that couch because they didn't get their thinking straight first. We're talking about making decisions, and everyone knows that's risky. Wrong decisions lead to failure. You don't have to make very many of them before you learn to shut up. Of course, if your thinking is straight to begin with, the chances of making a wrong decision are greatly reduced. Most wrong decisions aren't made; they're just sort of shuffled into and then discovered when it's too late to turn around.
For a lot of people, thinking is just something that happens, some kind of spontaneous reaction to something. They are thinking, but there is no thinker. Huh? Well, you have to have a thinker before you can deliberately think something. Otherwise, you're just spinning in winds of consciousness.
It's climbing out of the knock-you-about, cause-and-effect stream of life, and realizing that you are a source.
This is kind of interesting. You give someone a command like, "Think." And what do they do? They wait for a thought to come along. They haven't quite come up to this idea of deliberately thinking something. If you ask them pointedly, "Who is source of your thoughts?" They'll tell you something like, "Well, I take a lot after my dad. My mom says I take after my dad." Now you find out that his dad has been dead for ten years.
So you begin working with this guy and you say, "Let's see if you can create a thought. Create a thought about an elephant." And some mental image of an elephant pops up in his mind from God knows where-probably from a circus or a zoo he remembers. He didn't create a thought about an elephant, you see. He retrieved a thought about an elephant.
Well, that's OK. Recall is better than just waiting around for an elephant to pass. Being able to select specific memories means someone is home in his head. He's awake enough to sort his memories. So you push him just a little harder.
"You remembered an elephant. That's good. You must have created that thought at one time. Now, let's see if you can create something new about that elephant. Put the elephant in swimming trunks, sunglasses and a baseball cap."
You'll instantly see him brighten up.
Whaaat? He will be amazed that he can do it. You see, he has been in total agreement with the flow of the universe and his various perceptions and reactions, and you've just pulled him out of the soup and had him create a deliberate thought. Now, if the responsibility of the whole thing doesn't frighten him too badly, you've got him on the route to source.
This is the concept of deliberate thinking. You don't have to be profound or original; you just have to make sure that it's you who is creating the thought. You don't think something "because"; you just create a thought deliberately. This is a high creative ability.
It's climbing out of the knock-you-about, cause-and-effect stream of life, and realizing that you are a source. You are the thinker. You can originate a thought that is neither a response nor a reaction to anything that has happened or gone before. In that moment, you have become the supreme being of your universe. You are the boss.
This is the level of being from which you can think deliberately. If you want to create the thought, "I'm OK," or "I'm happy," you can.
There are certain mechanics to this. If the thought you create is in disagreement with the flow of thinking that preceded it, you're going to experience some backlash.
Think of it this way. You've placed a thought in the stream of consciousness, and the currents of the past are hitting it. As long as you didn't place the thought in the middle of the stream where the currents are irresistible, and by that I mean you didn't try to violate some universal law like gravity, the current can be managed and your thought will become reality.
Deliberate thinking, like any ability, improves with practice.
When I talk about deliberate thinking, I'm not addressing your brain, which is a great storage device but not much of a thinker. No, I don't want to talk to the answering machine or even a secretary; I want the boss. That's you. It's your mind; you own it. Maybe it's time you took control of it.
Who is the supreme being of your universe? You are, of course, but the brain machinery has overthrown you. You haven't separated the emotional energy from your thoughts. And now they hop around like a handful of Mexican jumping beans. Sit still for a minute and try not to think at all. Just decide to sit there for a minute and not think.
Not so easy, huh? Would you buy a computer you could never turn off? If people drove cars like they run their minds, you might find a Chevy in your bedroom tonight.
So your mind has gone a bit eccentric and doesn't behave like it ought to. It pretends to be you, to be critical of you, gets into worry loops, and entertains ideas, which if ever saw the light of day would get you locked up. I understand; I really understand. I can help you to get your thinking straight. For a few of you, this is just going to mean some minor reality tweaking. For others, this is the beginning of a major campaign.
Decide that you feel the best you've ever felt. Well?
Do you feel the best you've ever felt? No? It's not so easy, huh?
As soon as you put that idea in your mind-I feel the best I've ever felt-your mind reacts with some doubt. You say, "I feel the best I've ever felt," but your mind says that's not true.
I see some of you are going, "What's this stuff? What's all this mental stuff got to do with my increasing my income? I want to know how to make more money, and this guy keeps talking about the mind."
Decide that you are going to increase your income. What happens? The mind says, "Well, we're in a recession and money is scarce and, and, and..."
Who is in charge here, you or the mental machine? Remember, if you can't create an idea of something in your own mind, you don't have much of a chance of creating it in physical reality.
Let me read you a little anonymous poem.
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you like to win, but think you can't,
It is almost certain you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you're lost.
For out in the world we find
Success begins with a fellow's will.
It's all a state of mind.
If you think you're outclassed, you are.
You've got to think high to rise.
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.
So how do we tackle this thinking problem and straighten it out? How do you get your thinking straight?
In order to understand thinking, you are going to have to know something about the thinker. The thinker is you. "You" before you tried to define yourself.
We are going to call this "you," which is capable of deliberate thinking, source awareness. And the "you" that is embroiled in ideas about itself and its relationship with the universe we call identity consciousness. Usually there is a third "you" that has totally identified with a single defined viewpoint, and this we'll call ego-self.
When the mirror does not reflect your idea of who you are, it is because the "you" that is looking is identity consciousness.
Ego-self is almost entirely brained-based. That means it is subject to the same influences that affect a body: emotionally indoctrinated desires and resistances, physical perceptions transmitted by the nervous system, certain drugs, electricity, direct physical damage, frequencies of light and sound, and of course, death. This is pretty much a stimulus-response affair. Ego-selves are imitators. Their principal motivation is to survive, and their deeper thought patterns are only changed by traumatic circumstance.
Identity consciousness is the awakening of a conceptual beingness that exists separate from the physical body. When the mirror does not reflect your idea of who you are, it is because the "you" that is looking is identity consciousness. Identity consciousness places strong emphasis on analysis, judgment, and prediction, but it has a limited ability to deliberately think.
Source awareness is a creator. It has the ability to step outside the continuous flow of cause-and-effect thoughts and events and originate a new reality. This is new territory. It is an exceptional and rare ability, sometimes reached in a crisis, like when a 110-pound woman lifts a 1000-pound car off her child. Source awareness has the ability to generate a creation, at least mentally, that is not the result of any previous cause. Source awareness says, "Let there be light. And there is light."
Source awareness is obviously a very high state, a state of potential, and so it is incredible to some people when we say you can become a source being. This has been the goal of various contemplative and meditative practices for thousands of years.
Let me show you how to deliberately create a thought in your own mind. Deliberately think, with as much certainty as you can, "I feel the best I've ever felt."
Did you do that? Did some small doubt come to mind following that thought?
Write the doubt down on a piece of paper exactly as it occurred to you. Don't bother about getting into whether you agree or disagree with the doubt; just acknowledge the fact that there was a doubt there and write it down.
If more than one doubt shows up, write them down and acknowledge each one. Who creates the doubts of your life? Why, you do, but the realization of that discovery is a ways up the line.
Now, deliberately think again, "I feel the best I've ever felt." Think it with as much certainty as you can. "I feel the best I've ever felt." Write down any doubts that occur to you after you launch that thought and acknowledge them.
Questioner: How do I acknowledge them?
Harry: Just write OK after each one of them. Write OK like you are the president and are signing off on some request that you are granting. OK! Scribble OK and initial it. Remember, you're the boss.
All right, one more time, deliberately think, "I feel the best I've ever felt." Think it with as much certainty as you can, and write down and acknowledge any doubts that come up. Keep doing this as long as you have doubts.
Questioner: I'm having some trouble because I have this pain in my back, and it's hard to feel the best I've ever felt with that pain there.
Harry: Write that down just the way you told me, "I'm having some trouble because I have this pain in my back, and it's hard to feel the best I've ever felt with that pain there." After you've written it down, scribble your OK and once again deliberately think, with as much certainty as you can, "I feel the best I've ever felt."
Questioner: It's hard to get much certainty because of the pain.
Harry: That's fine. Write down, "It's hard to get much certainty because of the pain." And scribble your OK as the boss. Now, deliberately think again, "I feel the best I've ever felt."
(Pause) What's happening?
Questioner: Well, it's getting better, but I still think about the pain.
Harry: Write down, "It's getting better, but I still think about the pain." And sign off on it.
Questioner: No matter what I say, you are going to tell me to write it down.
Harry: That's right. As long as there is some doubt arising from your mind, I'm going to ask you to write it down and sign off on it. You know why? Because I know you're the boss, and you can create anything you choose. Would you like to feel the best you've ever felt?
Questioner: I don't know.
Harry: What are your considerations on it?
Questioner: There have been times when I've felt awfully good.
Questioner: If I could only feel that way once, I wouldn't want to waste it.
Questioner: I really don't think I could feel that good with the pain in my back.
Harry: Now, once again, with as much certainty as you can, deliberately think, "I feel the best I've ever felt."
(Pause) Did you do it?
Questioner: (laughing) This really is fantastic.
Harry: Yes, I told you so.
Questioner: Well, even though I'm skeptical and have been saying how I couldn't, or didn't want to, I realize that I do feel the best I've ever felt.
Harry: Are you sure?
Questioner: Yeah, even the back pain is gone. It just disappeared. How did you do that?
Harry: You did it. I just got you to do it.
Harry: (addressing a lady in the front row) How do you feel?
Lady: I feel good.
Harry: Do you feel the best you've ever felt?
Lady: I was afraid of what I might do if I felt that good.
Harry: That is a wonderful doubt. I'll write it down for you, "I was afraid of what I might do if I felt that good." Are you ready to sign off on that one?
Lady: Yes! I feel the best I've ever felt. I really do.
Harry: Yes, you do.
If there is anyone here who doesn't feel the best he or she has ever felt, keep writing and signing off. I'm sure you're only a few doubts away.
From your smiles, I can tell that most of you are feeling the best you've ever felt, so this is a good place to end. Thank you very much.
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