I admit it, I’m one of those strange people that loves to re-read books that I’ve read and enjoyed time and time again. Especially stories that were meaningful to me when I was younger. This week, in a fit of nostalgia, I read a book that I loved as a child: “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It's about a young girl named Mary who grew up in India with unloving and disinterested parents. This created in her a hurt and anger that resulted in antisocial and arrogant behaviour that further pushed people away. The story tells of how she gradually learned to live, love and experience wonder; and then invite others into this healing process too. The story is set in a forgotten garden – where things that looked dead were actually dormant and “wick:” alive and just waiting for the chance to grow.
In the story, Mary and her friends learn to use what they call “Magic.” By this they mean the intention or energy of their thoughts - or the greater Intention that causes growth and change, the force that can turn a small seed into a huge tree; that causes the rising and setting of the sun. Mary’s friend Colin says:
“Sometimes, since I’ve been in the garden, I’ve looked up through the trees at the sky and I have had a strange feeling of being happy; as if something was pushing and drawing in my chest and making me breathe fast. Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of magic: leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people.” They learned about the “Good Thing” or the “Joy Maker” that is the source of the magic.
Mary and her friends discovered that the way they focus their intention – their thoughts, words and actions – directly affects the way the “magic” is able to work in their lives:
“…One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts--just mere thoughts--are as powerful as electric batteries--as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live.
So long as Mistress Mary's mind was full of disagreeable thoughts about her dislikes and sour opinions of people and her determination not to be pleased by or interested in anything, she was a yellow-faced, sickly, bored and wretched child. Circumstances, however, were very kind to her, though she was not at all aware of it. They began to push her about for her own good. When her mind gradually filled itself with robins, and moorland cottages crowded with children, with queer crabbed old gardeners and common little Yorkshire housemaids, with springtime and with secret gardens coming alive day by day, and also with a moor boy and his "creatures," there was no room left for the disagreeable thoughts which affected her liver and her digestion and made her yellow and tired.
So long as Colin shut himself up in his room and thought only of his fears and weakness and his detestation of people who looked at him and reflected hourly on humps and early death, he was a hysterical half-crazy little hypochondriac who knew nothing of the sunshine and the spring and also did not know that he could get well and could stand upon his feet if he tried to do it. When new beautiful thoughts began to push out the old hideous ones, life began to come back to him, his blood ran healthily through his veins and strength poured into him like a flood. His scientific experiment was quite practical and simple and there was nothing weird about it at all. Much more surprising things can happen to anyone who, when a disagreeable or discouraged thought comes into his mind, just has the sense to remember in time and push it out by putting in an agreeable determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot be in one place."
"Where, you tend a rose, my lad, A thistle cannot grow."
I think this is profound – to say the least! And what I love is that science is now able to articulate what this book described when it was first published in 1910. Neuroscientists are discovering how negative thinking affects our brain. Our thoughts aren’t intangible or ephemeral, they have weight and substance. They are actually electrical impulses that create neural pathways in our brain. Positive thoughts release positive ‘feel good’ chemicals whilst negative thoughts do the opposite. These chemicals affect every cell in our bodies. Constant, negative thinking results in bio-toxins leaching out into our tissues creating illness – both physical and emotional. The good news is that because our brains are constantly changing and growing, we can influence and direct this process by actively choosing what we allow into our mind. I can’t stop thought’s popping in – but I can choose whether or not to hold onto them and believe them. Where I choose to focus my intent, my energy and my thoughts will directly affect how my brain, body and emotions will respond.
So let’s take the ‘magic’ to an even deeper level. I was listening to a podcast the other day about Quantum Physics. It totally blew my mind, to say the least! I was so fascinated I googled the topic to see if I could find out any more information. Bad idea on my part. I couldn’t even understand the “Quantum Physics for Dummies” page! The complex mathematical equations made my mind boggle! I think I’ll just stick to the “English” version from the podcast. Here’s some snippets:
“You, at your core are made up of these tiny little building blocks of matter called Atoms. Atoms are made up of smaller particles that are, in essence, swirling patterns of energy. They have identified sub-atomic particles that just come into existence – they don’t know where from. They have identified one particle that can be in two different places at the same time. They have identified particles that can leave point A and appear at point B without travelling the distance in between!”
These atoms make molecules and the molecules build cells. The cells that make up our bodies are constantly dying and being reborn. In fact, our whole body is renewed once every eight years or so! Incredibly, the atoms that make up "me" are not new. They have been around a LONG time. They have made up other things – and other people.
“You then, are like a pattern, a consistent, continuous physical pattern moving through space and time. You are this strange, exotic, highly tuned, finely calibrated collection of particles that used to be someone or something else and will go on to be something or somebody else, and yet, I just said that sentence and you just heard about it, and now you’re thinking about it. You’re reflecting on your own existence. So you are like this bag of bones and hair and skin and toenails and yet you also have the ability to reflect upon your own existence. You have consciousness.”
Isn’t that incredible!! If you’d like to hear the whole episode, just click this link: http://robbell.podbean.com/e/episode-5-atoms-and-interiors/
So there is this magic. It’s in everything. There are our thoughts, which can change our physical, emotional and spiritual state. There are the atoms that make up everything that exist; and that connect us all in ways we are only just beginning to understand. There are sub-atomic particles that are ‘magical’ in nature because no-one has a clue how they work. And there is this consciousness we each have that is more than our atomic structure, which transcends our ability to comprehend it. This consciousness makes me “Me” as opposed to you “You” – even though we share the same atomic structure.
So where am I going with all this? I’m not sure – I keep getting lost in the wonder of it all. And maybe that’s the whole point!
I guess what I’m wanting to say is that there is SO much more going on in this world, in our lives, than meets the eye. And it is Good! It’s exciting, it’s extraordinary! So if you’re stuck in what you can see at present – and if what you are seeing and experiencing in your world is predominantly negative or sad or fearful or mad; then please take some hope from this ramble!
You are not powerless or hopeless. You have the ability to change your cellular structure by the way you choose to think and focus your intention or energy! You are a Superhero!
Why not spend some time each day contemplating something positive? Lie on the grass and look at the details around you. Focus your attention on something beautiful that you see and notice as much about it that you can. Use your senses. Allow yourself to be lost in wonder – then linger in that moment. Focus on a positive comment from a friend; or a happy memory. Allow it to wash over you. Feel how your body responds to praise and positivity. Cuddle a cat or a small child. If intruding thoughts pop in just let them float away like a leaf on a river. Focus again on something good.
Practice, Practice, Practice; and ENJOY!