A New Way of Thinking

Almost every time I tune in to CNN there is breaking news about more drama in American politics. It is not unlike a TV reality show where you are just waiting to see what happens next. I feel fortunate to live in the United States but our government has made this country a disgrace on the global stage. Amidst the chaos and confusion, is there any place where we can find purpose? I believe the answer is yes and where we find purpose is by looking within. We have to turn within and begin to ask ourselves important questions. What is my purpose here as a human being? I believe most of us never ask this question because our perspective of our place in the universe is very narrow. Our primary interests focus on what affects us immediately: taxes, the business meeting tomorrow or picking up the kids from daycare. Just to keep my own life on track is a challenge; I cannot possibly save the world. Certainly our immediate circle of life warrants our attention but too much detachment between ourselves as individuals and the big picture of life creates a mindset where we expect others to deal with the issues that do not “belong” to us. The problem is, there is no “others.” The “other” people do not exist. There is only one human species and it is all of us together. When we visualize the world in a sort of segmented, compartmentalized way, we disconnect from our relationship with humanity as a whole and our interrelationship with life on earth.

There is hope for humanity and it begins with changing the way we think. However you think or whatever your beliefs and values are, you were not born with these. All of humanity is born with a “blank slate” in terms of our thinking. All of the beliefs, values and behaviors that divide us as a species were learned. If negative programming was learned earlier in our lives, we have the power to unlearn this programming and replace it with a way of thinking that is more positive and life affirming. Yet changing the way we think requires an understanding that by doing so we can elicit change in our circumstances. This is absolutely true. The collective thinking of society is responsible for many of the challenges that confront the human species today. Pollution is not necessary. Starvation is not necessary. War is not necessary. Global warming is not necessary. Any of these can be reversed by choosing to think differently and using our minds creatively to come up with solutions. Now it would be easy to relinquish to the notion that I am merely one person and no effort that I make as an individual is going to make a difference on such huge problems we face in our world today. I would say this is flawed thinking and is precisely the kind of mindset that needs to change. All of us matter and all of us can make a difference, even as individuals. Yes we all have to deal with the immediate affairs of our lives but for even a few moments of your day, give yourself permission to be creative. Give yourself permission to use your mind to express your creativity. Your creativity can be expressed by thinking of something new and working on it. This creates an immediate change because something has manifested as a result of your action that was not there before. If we choose to do nothing, we will stagnate as a society and remain victims of the way “other” people think. If you choose to think differently, to think creatively, to believe in yourself and know you have the power to make things better for yourself and those around you, little by little you will begin to see positive change. It only takes enough of us thinking creatively, bringing the full power of the human mind to bear, that we can tackle the big problems of humanity and our world.

Michael W. Jackson

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