Monday, May 5, 2014

Inner Decisions

Each one of us is uniquely independent in the inner realm of our thoughts. No one can bind your mind and make you think thoughts that you don't wish to think or choose attitudes that you don't wish to adopt. Each one of us is absolutely independent in that internal sphere. You, and you alone, have the option to use your mind as a power of positive creation. Thoughts are not just airy vapors, they are quanta of formative energy. They exert direct effect upon our bodies, our behavior, and even the external world around us. Your internal environment has power over your external environment the moment your choose to exercise control. You can alter circumstances and events at will by creating a vision of what you want to have happen and giving yourself permission to enact it. Moment by moment, thought by thought, you author your own script. You do it actively or passively. Either way, you are ultimately the cause determining which effects occur. People are only victims of circumstance if they believe that they are and take a passive approach, letting their lives become subject to outside forces. In a poignant example, Dr. Viktor Frankl recounts his experience and observations while a prisoner in Auschwitz in his classic book, Man's Search for Meaning. Living in the most brutal, demeaning, hostile environment imaginable, Frankl observed the actions and reactions of his fellow prisoners. Understandably, some people became angry and bitter. Some people managed to stay hopeful and perseverant. Notably, Frankl observed what happened when some prisoners made the choice to simply gave up, relinquishing their hopes for the future. He described this as a pivotal moment. The day they abandoned hope and decided that things were never going to get better was the day they began to decline mentally, spiritually and physically. Frankl's conclusion is timeless. He said, "Everything can be taken from man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms--to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way. In the final analysis, it becomes clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision and not the result of camp influence alone. Fundamentally, therefore, any man can, even under such circumstances, decide what shall become of him mentally and spiritually." In the end, it was not the Nazis, not the fences and barbed wire, not the atrocious external circumstances that dictated the person's life or character. It was his or her inner decisions. Each one of the prisoners decided how they would deal with the forces around them. Each person's life became a reflection of those inner decisions. - Dennis R Deaton

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