“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.” Buddha
So, it’s almost here. It began with what felt like an impossible, whimsical dream, then it became something I dared to talk about to people and, a few years on, finally it’s happening. In just over a week I’m setting off to India for the winter to fulfil a dream of studying and practising yoga in its homeland.
It shows me that what we dream for and long for can happen – you just have to believe it will and be prepared to work for it and to make sacrifices and changes. But do you know what? If your passion to do something burns deep enough, those sacrifices you make don’t even feel that bad, and can even turn out to be good things.
For example, this summer I’ve been working like crazy to earn enough money for the trip and living in a caravan to save even more pennies. On the surface, I’ve had to sacrifice a number of things – time to myself, time with my partner, time for socialising, home comforts, living space! Yet I don’t think I’ve ever felt happier, and perhaps a part of that is knowing that my life choices are leading me further along a path I really want to tread; call it my dharma.
Yet it all began with a dream… Budddha was right when he said that we create our own world with our thoughts. We have so many thoughts in our heads. Many of these are are loud, shouty, ‘on-the-surface’ thoughts that tell us we’re not good enough, make us feel frightened and feed us a constant stream of negative dialogue about ourselves and about the world around us. They are so noisy we tend to listen to them and believe them.
But beneath those thoughts there are other, quieter hopes and dreams and thoughts. These are the ones that whisper quietly but persistently at us, and won’t leave us alone, even when we tell them to shut up. They are the ones that tell us we’re awesome, that we’re better than we think we are, that life is a beautiful gift, that we have so much to offer, that we are strong. Why is it so hard to listen to these thoughts?
I spent years trying to suppress that little voice that nagged at me, soft but persistent. It told me that I should learn to be a yoga teacher, that I should travel, write, connect with nature, that I should find a job that inspired and motivated people and, ultimately, helped them heal. I used to belittle this voice and tick it off sternly, telling it to shut up, because it was just ‘dreams and fantasy’. I told myself I was being silly – those weren’t real ambitions, they were just romantic yearnings. That wasn’t the ‘real world’.
I did this for years, but it still didn’t stop nagging at me. When I finally decided to listen to it and to trust it, my life started to change slowly but surely, and then it became like a snowball rolling down a hill, gathering speed and volume. Now, as I contemplate my life of yoga teaching, travel, writing, massage, reiki, connection with the great outdoors and wildlife, I feel like a miracle has happened – how can this impossible dream have become my reality? But then I realise it’s been a gradual change. Dreams become thoughts, become actions and concrete decisions, become life… So that little voice wasn’t so silly after all it seems.
We have a choice: to believe the negative, destructive thoughts that haunt all of us; or to delve deep and go on an inward journey to unearth the nurturing, positive thoughts that lie beneath them and start to trust them. Either way, our world will respond in kind and corroborate those thoughts. We need to learn to tap into our innate truth and intuition, and to grow into the person that, deep down, we know we are and want to fully become.
So we think, so we become.