When I was a child, I had a magic torch – did you? If you turned it on and switched it round, it shone different colours at things – red, blue, green, and yellow – I loved it! It changed how everything looked depending on which colour you used.
Why am I describing this? Because our minds work in the same way. If your mood is ‘dark’ or ‘blue’, then everything you think about takes on that colour. The sun shining becomes a problem rather than a delight, and then it rains and we are bound to have floods! Someone’s chance remark is obviously aimed at making you feel stupid, and then the next person you encounter doesn’t speak, and you know they are ignoring you because they don’t like you!
On the other hand, when you are feeling ‘sunny’, then it is wonderful to have a sunny summer, and when it rains, that is great for the garden. You laugh at the remark someone makes, knowing that it isn’t aimed at you, and you feel sorry for the person who doesn’t speak to you, because they are obviously so busy they don’t even have time to say hello.
And all this is not out of our control – it is something we can switch around if it doesn’t suit us, just like the torch. Our minds follow what we tell them to follow. So if you notice that the day seems to be going wrong, switch the torch of your attention around – turn it to sunny. Begin to notice what is right about the day, and if you can’t find anything there, go for the bigger picture – what is right about your life, your family, your health – any category where there are things that are going right. This will switch your mind to a more useful beam of light.
Remember that our culture tends to have the ‘dark’ beam on, so we need to counteract that – the news is almost all about what is wrong in our world. We hear about the person who injured someone else, but not about the thousands who were being kind to others at the same time. So you need to help yourself to switch the colour of the beam by choosing not to get taken in by the cultural tendency – stop watching or listening to the news for a while, or subscribe to Positive News, a newspaper which reports the good things happening in our world.
Why is it important that we consciously switch our attention to what’s right? I can hear the cynic saying that it is like wearing rose-coloured spectacles, and is avoiding the real world. But excellent people don’t ignore what is wrong; they just approach it from a different angle. They start by counting all that is working, to give themselves a positive and useful frame of mind, then ask themselves what they can do to handle what is not right. From that useful frame of mind, we are able to find much better ways of handling the situation – we all know that when our mood is sunny, we can sort most things! And if we can’t sort it, at least we can keep it in perspective.
So start practising today, whether you need to or not. Put on the sunny beam and notice what is right in your life, in the world.