Mystical Optimism - How to Glow with the Flow!
An Essay by Tom Razzeto
Copyright 2008 by Tom Razzeto
I've heard it said that optimists live longer and enjoy life more fully than pessimists. And you know what they say about pessimism: It wouldn't work anyway.
While I whole-heartily encourage a positive, cheery attitude, some people question if this can actually create a better world. Let's look into this.
I recently read the book Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter, which was published in 1913 and quickly became an enduring sensation. In it, we learn how eleven year-old Pollyanna truly cares about all the people that she meets and how she teaches them to find joy in unappreciated aspects of their lives.
Yet many critics misunderstand Pollyanna's approach towards life and dismiss her attitude as completely superficial and totally without any merit. In fact, this misunderstanding was so prevalent that the word 'pollyannaish' was introduced into the lexicon as a silly attitude that is unreasonably optimistic. The word 'pollyanna' itself was redefined as an annoying, naive and foolish person who blindly lives in a dream world.
Yet in the book we see that Pollyanna knows how to dig deeply into the reality of the moment in order to find something to be genuinely happy about. Slowly but surely other people around her learn that they can do this too.
Notice that she finds something about everything to be glad about, which is a bit different than choosing to be happy about every aspect of everything. In fact, Porter herself pointed out this difference when she said, ''I have been placed often in a false light. People have thought that Pollyanna chirped that she was 'glad' about everything. ... I have never believed we ought to deny discomfort and pain and evil; I have merely thought it is far better to 'greet the unknown with a cheer.'''
Pollyanna's compassion and wisdom are the main reasons why I strongly recommend this book, which you can read for free on the internet. If you're like me, you will soon have tears in your eyes as a result of her sunny compassion, which shines brightly on everyone, and from the recognition of the power of the attitude that Pollyanna holds, power that is available to everyone at every moment. Power that is available to you right now!
You can test the power of your own thoughts and attitude for yourself at any time. When you emotionally embrace the present moment, you immediately create a joyous experience and when you emotionally reject some aspects of the present, you experience frustration, fear or pain. It is the attitude of the emotional embrace or rejection that is the key rather than the outer circumstances of your life, although sometimes the outer conditions can be quite challenging to embrace.
Similar things can be said about the past. No one can change the actual events of the past yet you can indeed change how you feel presently about those events by choosing to embrace them or reject them in each new moment.
Some pessimists view the past and the present wrapped together in a way that creates for them the illusion of an unsolvable problem, an inescapable prison. They might think, "Disastrous events have ruined my life beyond repair and here are the reasons why this is undeniably true." They literally put themselves into this trap, which is filled with unnecessary suffering. Only they can free themselves from this prison by adopting a new attitude and opening themselves up to the real opportunities that lie before them.
But optimism and pessimism are primarily focused on the future, not just the past or the present. And yet, exactly like our discussion of the past and the present, optimism and pessimism both immediately create a corresponding emotional experience. No matter if you are thinking of the past, the present or the future, you are immediately creating a personal emotional experience in the present.
If you think that the future will be bright, you will feel good in the moment that you hold that thought. If you think that the future will be unpleasant, you will immediately experience frustration, sadness or worry. Surprisingly, this is true even though no one really knows for sure what outer circumstances the future will bring. But the most important point, as I've already mentioned, is that the outer conditions do not hold the power to determine your emotional experience. That is up to you and the thoughts that you chose to hold.
It is also important to note that optimism, along with good planning and correct action, is embraced as a way of creating a more desirable future, not simply because it makes people feel good in the moment. People want to act now to build a better tomorrow and they want to do so joyfully with hope in their hearts. I strongly encourage everyone to do this but to also keep in mind that there is no guarantee of how things will turn out.
This gets to the heart of the tricky question of creation. I do believe that most people would benefit greatly by learning 'conscious creation' rather than using the habitual, reactive 'unconscious creation' seen all throughout society.
The first step in conscious creation is to make a distinction between 'inner creation' and 'outer creation'. Inner creation is the immediate creation of your emotions, your personal subjective experience of the present moment. The significance of this cannot be overstated since these are the actual experiences that make up your entire life!
Inner creation instantly creates any human emotion from pure agony to total ecstasy. Each and every human being can experience all of these emotions. And, while we all can create these emotions consciously by choosing our thoughts and attitude, most people unconsciously create them with habitual thoughts and reactions.
Outer creation is a process that unfolds through time. It's the attraction of people, things and events into your life. I don't believe that all outer conditions are available to everyone. In other words, we all have different menus, so to speak. Nonetheless, we all have numerous choices and certainly many of them will be in harmony with our personal growth.
I believe that the outer reflects the inner, that the seeds we plant on the inside with our thoughts and attitude coupled with our plans and actions create, at least to some extent, the outer conditions that come about as time unfolds.
And still no one really knows what the future will bring. Let's consider the following true story.
A group of mountain climbers had finished their first day's climb and were sleeping at the often used base camp. During the night, a few large boulders broke free from above and rolled down onto the climbers, killing three of them. All the climbers were well prepared for the ascent, both physically and mentally. While they knew the climb was dangerous, they all held the goal clearly in their minds. In spite of this, it turned out much different than what they had planned.
So the question is, to what degree do we control our own life? How much do you do and how much just happens to you? Is it wise for us to work with the understanding that we have some control but not total control? Many of you know the simple but profound Serenity Prayer, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."
Working in that framework, let's suppose I want to enliven my material abundance. One part of my creative process would include an affirmation such as, "I, Thomas, give and receive in the material world at my full potential in harmony with all." This contains several significant points.
The first is that you are directly involved in a process that includes both giving and receiving. In other words, you are in the flow of this energy, experiencing it fully but not holding on to it. Also, the amount of power that this energy brings is unknown but well matched to you. The third point is that you honor all beings and work in peace. I recommend that all affirmations be broad in scope and always include a phrase about harmony. This approach has an adventurous feel to it, a sense of mystery. "I wonder what will arise!" Yet there still is the sense of participation, your creative input.
I call this approach surfing the cosmic wave. When you surf, the wave is always changing in its size, shape and speed so you must constantly adjust your plans, thoughts, actions and possibly your attitude. It is very dynamic. You cannot be stuck on just one idea of what will happen and what you will do. If your goal is to enjoy surfing the waves that show up at a level that matches your skill, you will frequently have a fabulous time.
Now let's consider a person taking a more firm approach towards material abundance. They might use the following affirmation: "I double my income this year without working any overtime." I often hear people state that you must clearly visualize a specific goal and be completely free from doubt in order to achieve it.
If you are drawn to this approach, feel free to give it a genuine try and see how well it works for you. But this approach seems too rigid for my tastes and I have never felt comfortable with it. It feels like I'm boxing myself in or forcing my way onto life. I feel that I should be open to the creative contributions of my higher-self or God and cooperate in a loving way with them. What if the regular me, my little-self, doesn't know what's best for me? I might act like a small child who wants candy instead of a healthy dinner. And what if my little-self doesn't know about a big surprise that God has in store for me and my rigid view closes me off from that opportunity?
Another interesting aspect of this firm approach is that since the goal is precisely stated, you can see how successful you were. If the goal is not met, you might have to re-examine everything. Was it me? Did I doubt the goal was possible? Did I doubt that I deserved it? Does this approach even work? I personally think that this approach tries to control the river you are swimming in and should simply be forgotten.
The first approach is a flowing adventure and as such can never fail. It might be described as dancing with the divine, never knowing what is coming next. Will you be spun around, held close or tossed through the air? The aliveness that comes about from not knowing cannot be matched, especially if you feel safe in the experience, if you feel safe in the hands of God.
I would like to point out that not knowing what will arise is very different than doubting your goal will be acheived. Yet sometimes very difficult situations arise, such as the passing of a loved one. I think that the idea is to respond to what arises in a natural, genuine way as free from judgmental thought as possible. In other words, I don't necessarily think that the goal is to be happy all the time. I think that the goal is to be fully alive in the moment!
When you find yourself feeling deep sorrow, don't be afraid of it or judge it, dive into it head first! Be fully alive! You may surprise yourself by discovering that while it can be a very uncomfortable emotion, after it passes, your true essence, your awareness, is not damaged at all.
By the way, one of my favorite affirmations is, "I, Thomas, open to and receive the love of God on all levels and live in harmony with everyone."
Before I finish, I would like to talk about something that many people call reframing. We have all heard the classic question: Is the glass half-empty or is it half-full? Why would this simple word play make any difference at all?
I prefer to reframe things into a bigger, more complete picture. In other words, is there something important that I'm overlooking? This is similar to understanding illusions. Remember, an illusion is not nothing. It's an incomplete picture that leads to a false idea. The secret to understanding all illusions is to understand the bigger picture, the greater reality, that holds the little picture, the illusion. Ideally, reframing does not stay tightly focused on the same thing; it opens up to a greater reality, a bigger picture.
So reframing the glass as half-full rather than half-empty seems like a shallow, emotional manipulation to me since it does not change what I actually have or change what I am aware of. This doesn't interest me as much as discovering, for example, that the glass can be filled again from a nearby faucet or stream. Now this makes a real difference!
But certainly some situations do not reframe so easily into a desirable scenario. What if you are in a desert and that half-glass of water is all you have for a two-day hike to safety?
This is where the view of the mystic comes in. A mystic realizes that God and creation are the same reality in different forms. It's like water and ice. In their essence, water and ice are exactly the same atoms. Ice does not just come from water, it is the water but in a different state. Because water and ice have different forms, they also have completely different characteristics, completely different properties. Could it also be true that the Creator and creation are the same reality in different forms? The mystic says, "Yes!" and the implications are mind blowing.
Since I have spoken about the mystic's view at other times, I will not go deeply into it now but I offer it as the most profound reframing available to us. With this mystical understanding, you will perceive every act as a divine act, every thought as a divine thought, every emotion as a divine emotion and every thing as the divine in physical form. You are not simply connected to God; every aspect of your being is divine! God is not just deep within you at a special place; you are divine at every level!
With this mystical understanding, you can joyously embrace an optimistic attitude like never before! You can glow with the flow and dance with the divine in a way that will fulfill you with a richness of life no matter what shows up! Yes, you are safe in the hands of God!
So I encourage you to give mystical optimism a try and experience for yourself the profound divine power that is always flowing through you at every moment!
Thanks for reading my essay! Have a magical and mystical day!
Written: Feb 24, 2008
If you enjoyed this essay, then you might enjoy some of my other work:
• Mystical audio books for children and grown-ups: Use Your Magic!
• An inexpensive ESP board game: ESP Mind Power!
• Back to my essays
• By the way, here is Eleanor Porter's entire book, Pollyanna