What can an ant do to influence an elephant? In the physical world, the elephant may not notice or care about the ant at all, but in the metaphor of the mental world, the ant can influence the elephant. It’s all about how we think, positive or negative. In the mental world within, the metaphor of ant and elephant are often used to describe the relative size of the conscious and subconscious minds. It is intriguing to note that the subconscious elephant, despite its vast size, is sensitive to every nuance of thought from the ant of the conscious mind. The ant pokes with a pin at the elephant’s tough, thick hide, yet is effective at influencing the direction of the elephant, just as a very small rudder can control the direction of a huge ship. So even though all of our unconscious bodily processes such as our breathing, circulatory and digestive systems, to name just a few, are completely, expertly, automatically and unconsciously controlled by our subconscious minds, the thoughts in our conscious minds, positive or negative, influence their operation. In fact all our conscious thoughts influence the thoughts of the subconscious in the events of our daily lives. The influence of the conscious mind is the key in making changes and creating new and better habits so we can live our lives more productively.
Most people live with a negative bias in our conscious thoughts, and in the introduction of the The Master Key Part Twenty-Two, Haanel describes the effect this can have on our physical health:
“The various forms of inflammation, paralysis, nervousness and diseased conditions generally are the manifestation of fear, worry, care, anxiety, jealousy, hatred and similar thought…
The problem before us in the healing of disease is to increase the inflow and distribution of vital energy throughout the system, and this can only be done by eliminating thoughts of fear, worry, care, anxiety, jealousy, hatred, and every other destructive thought, which tend to tear down and destroy the nerves and glands which control the excretion and elimination of poisonous and waste matter.”
It is fascinating and sobering to realize what a huge influence our thoughts have on our physical health and well being, even to the point of using a constant positive mental attitude to heal ailments by eliminating negative thoughts. The culture we live in generally accepts a negative bias in our thoughts as normal, living in fear, criticism. It is missing out on this power of positive thinking and even laughs at people who do choose to go against the current and think positively, saying that they are “pollyanna’s, pretending everything is wonderful in a corrupt, evil, negative world where bad things are more sure to happen than good things”. They say “you only have to watch the news to see how bad it is”. Perhaps they do not realize that their thoughts are so powerful that they can create that negative reality, or a true positive reality, not the one of the pollyanna’s. To create a positive reality requires the cultivation of a constant positive mental attitude, and surrounding ourselves with people who are doing likewise. This cultivation of a positive mental attitude cannot be done with 10 minutes a day of positive thinking. It is our “predominant mental attitude” that counts, as Haanel states in The Master Key System Part 8.19:
“You can not entertain weak, harmful, negative thoughts ten hours a day and expect to bring about beautiful, strong, and harmonious conditions by ten minutes of strong, positive, creative thought.”
In order to substitute positive thoughts for the negative ones that come so naturally, it is necessary to work to create a mental image of the positive, as Haanel states in The Master Key System Part 7.4:
“This is another psychological fact which is well known, but unfortunately, reading about it will not bring about any result which you may have in mind; it will not even help you to form the mental image, much less bring it into manifestation. Work is necessary – labor, hard mental labor, the kind of effort which so few are willing to put forth.”
Most people, myself included, lived for so many years thinking that there was some mental caste system, that some people were endowed with the ability to think deeply and were blessed to accomplish great things, and some were just destined to go along with the crowd. What I have found out though, is that the ability for our own personal unique greatness was already put in us by the Creator at the beginning of our lives, and that all we have to do is claim it, access it, and develop our own unique message, our “authentic self”, if you will. At the end of this post, I will give you some suggestions for helping you get on a path to discover your own authentic self.
The Wonderful Influence of a Positive Mental Attitude
So what’s the point of going to all this work to develop a positive mental attitude? Is it easier to just stay the way we are? Well, yes and no. Yes, if you end up discouraged and in despair that there has to be more to life, like I was, and some just choose to stay there. They just seem content to live lives of of “quiet desperation”, and avoid failure by just not trying. But No for me there came a point a few years ago when there is no other choice for me but to seek and find a way out. I am not speaking from a position of having “arrived” or of being your new source of wisdom (I actually want you to learn to think for yourself). It’s just that since I have begun a journey toward a more positive mental attitude, I would like to help you get on that journey with me, if that’s what you want. Is it easier to be positive? I found that once I started developing a positive mental attitude, the cascading effect is making it easier and easier, so I now assert that it actually takes less effort and is easier to continue in positivity that it was to stay in negativity.
Another way of looking at this is that people who choose not to develop a positive mental attitude will not achieve their full potential of who they were created to be, and hence will be inferior, not to others, but to themselves and who they can be. In Scroll VI of his book, The Greatest Salesman in the World, Og Mandino says: “Henceforth, I will know that only those with inferior ability can always be at their best, and I am not inferior”. Og is saying here that people who choose not to develop their abilities, and do not continually strive to be better, have inferior abilities because they don’t want to develop, and hence they are always at their best, as good as they’re going to get, which is inferior, because they have no desire to change. The reason that I (and you if you choose to join me) am doing the hard mental work, with sweat pouring down the faces of my mind (isn’t that deep? :)), am not always at my best, is that my best is continually improving; it’s the journey – you and I are getting better and better because of our hard work. So those who choose not to work at it just stay at their best, and do not improve. Again, I say these things as someone working hard on my own journey, inviting you to join me as a peer, not as someone who has all the answers.
So what is the direct influence of a positive mental attitude on the processes with in the body? Haanel states this in The Master Key System Part 22:
“11. Let us see how the action of the subconscious mind over the body differs. You receive a wound; thousands of cells begin the work of healing at once; and in a few days or a few weeks the work is complete. You may even break a bone. No surgeon on earth can weld the parts together (I am not referring to the insertion of rods or other devices to strengthen or replace bones). He may set the bone for you, and the subjective mind will immediately begin the process of welding the parts together, and in a short time the bone is as solid as it ever was. You may swallow poison; the subjective mind will immediately discover the danger and make violent efforts to eliminate it. You may become infected with a dangerous germ; the subjective will at once commence to build a wall around the infected area and destroy the infection by absorbing it in the white blood corpuscles which it supplies for this purpose.
12. These processes of the subconscious mind usually proceed without our knowledge or direction, and so long as we do not interfere the result is perfect; but as these millions of repair cells are all intelligent and respond to our thought, they are often paralyzed and rendered impotent by our thoughts of fear, doubt, and anxiety. They are like an army of workmen, ready to start an important piece of work, but every time they get started on the undertaking a strike is called, or plans changed, until they finally get discouraged and give up.”
From this we can see how the thoughts of our conscious mind can positively or negatively influence the processes in our bodies. But bringing it around to my own personal situation, here are some of the results of a positive mental attitude that I’ve experienced:
- I’m happier in all situations, even ones that I would previously have described as negative and unhappy. For example, recently when the gas cap fell off it’s perch and rolled under the car, instead of focusing on the irritation of the falling gas cap, I focused on the fact that I saw where it landed so it was easy to pick up.
- I look forward to the adventure of each new day, and generally attack my work with gusto, even things which I do not enjoy doing so much.
- I have more strength, vitality, vigor, in the mental and physical than I used to.
- I enjoy laughing more, and moments with family more, putting them in their proper place as irreplaceable experiences of the real joy of living.
- I plan and succeed with what I set out to do more often, and am developing an expectation of succeeding with a happy knack.
- I enjoy the positive influence I have on others in helping them to improve their own positive attitudes and feel better about themselves.
- I believe that long term my positive mental attitude will support the amazing processes in my physical body to sustain my physical health and prevent disease.
If this post has touched your heart, and you would like help in going with me on my journey to create a more positive mental attitude, You can check out the course I am taking in this short video.
If you´d like to connect with me personally, I’d love to hear your thoughts about your own experiences and how they compare to mine, so please feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you want to hear more of this kind of stuff, feel free to subscribe to my list in the box below.