We recently attended a program by an Indian doctor on the power of the mind. Some years ago he was dying of cancer, was given only a few days to live. Then he had an experience of God telling him he would be healed through the power of his mind. In his case, God had to come three times to reassure him, since his thoughts kept slipping back into doubt and hopelessness. He was completely cured and has dedicated himself to helping others do the same.
His premise is that all illness is psychosomatic, meaning that it has both a mental (psyche) and physical (somatic) component. Our thoughts and emotions affect the body through various chemical, electrical, and hormonal pathways. But most healing modalities completely ignore the importance of the mind and emotions and therefore never address a disease’s root cause. He used this example: Suppose your air conditioner (or an internal organ) is not functioning well. If the cause of the problem is a lack of energy going through the wires, it will not matter how many parts you replace. The answer is to fix the wiring (mental) system, which in turn is connected to the divine power source. This is done by training ourselves to direct the mind to avoid negative thoughts and emotions and replace them with positive ones.
This is entirely in keeping with the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, who often spoke about the immense power of the positive, God-attuned mind. When we tune in to God, through meditation or other forms of sadhana, and turn on the switch of positivity, His intelligent life-force flows through us to heal, inspire, magnetize, and transform us.
There are many examples of this in Autobiography of a Yogi. One of the most remarkable was the time when Sri Yukteswar’s health improved and declined dramatically according to the suggestions of his guru, Lahiri Mahasaya. In the end Lahiri said, “‘Really, it has been your thoughts that have made you feel alternately weak and strong. You have seen how your health has exactly followed your expectations. Thought is a force, even as electricity or gravitation. The human mind is a spark of the almighty consciousness of God. I could show you that whatever your powerful mind believes very intensely would instantly come to pass.”
How can we control our thoughts and emotions? The first step is to be able to focus the mind. This can be enabled especially by meditation, visualization, and controlling the breath. Once we learn to focus the mind, the next step is simply to tell it to focus intensely on what we want. A light bulb sends out rays in all directions, but the focused beam of a flashlight can be moved from one object to another at our choosing.
When a negative thought enters the mind, immediately stop it from gathering momentum. You can do this by clearly visualizing an image for two or three minutes in as much detail as possible. The mind is now focused and ready for you to aim it toward a positive quality counteractive to that negative thought. This two-step technique for replacing negative thoughts and feelings with positive ones is not that hard to do, but it takes resolve to overcome old habit patterns that prevent us from trying.
It is worth the struggle, however, for a positive mind is the key to health, happiness, and our constant connection to the Divine within.
You may also enjoy this healing prayer of Paramhansa Yogananda:
“Divine Mother, Thou art omnipresent. Thou art in all Thy children. Thou art in (the name of the person). Manifest Thy healing presence in his (her) body, mind and soul.”