I failed. I mean, I really, really messed-up. How badly, you ask? So badly, in fact, that the whole blasted thing shattered into tiny pieces, fragments too small to be reassembled —not now, not ever. Why? Because I am a loser, a good for nothing incompetent loser. I am really pathetic, a true nothing. No wonder no one really loves or respects me, I mean, can you blame them?
Does that miserable rhetoric sound the least bit familiar? Well, it should, for as embarrassing as it may be to admit, such is the dialogue of that self-deprecating, nagging, destructive voice in your head, whispering any chance it gets (like a chatty unwanted house-guest) that you are not good enough. In truth, it is a skilled conjurer, a master deceiver, the sower of doubt, and the planter of lies. It sometimes bites like a venomous serpent and at other times seduces like a fair-skinned maiden. It knows you so much better than you think and waits ever so patiently for your compliance. Believe me it knows, for it is an “expert in its profession” (Talmud) and very well practiced. No one is immune to its cajolery-- not you, not me, no one. We must neither underestimate it nor allow it an inch in our psyche, for there it will establish its kingdom and take permanent residence, converting all that was once good to its cause. The Talmud (Tractate Sukkah) gives it many titles, but it is known universally by just one: “Yetzer Hara” (Hebrew for “Evil inclination”).
This “Evil inclination,” explain the Sages, begins its journey as a tiny seed, an irritant of the psyche (a negative thought creating disharmony in our perception) and from there it grows, bigger and bigger every day, spreading its branches like menacing tentacles until it consumes everything - all the good we once were. This is what it wants to do but you mustn’t let it. You must fight and mercy is no option for, believe me, it will show you none. True, dealing with this ancient enemy is difficult but we are not alone.
You see, spiritual masters (Godly men and women) have scoured the sacred texts for millenniums and have uncovered many an innovative method to help combat this immortal foe. One such Holy Soul, Rabbi Menachem Mendel (known affectionately as the “Righteous plant,”) spearheaded a movement whose principle slogan was, “Think good and it will be good.” Positive-thinking, he explained, is the only way to begin weakening our common enemy for it feeds, as explained above, off our negative thoughts/self-perception. In Jewish tradition, many miracles have been attributed to positive thinking -- the expectation of a good and fortuitous outcome. But, why? Why is positive-thinking so essential for producing a miraculous outcome?
Positive-thinking, explain the Sages, demonstrates a deep seated faith in the Almighty, a trust that no matter the situation (the hardship I face), everything will work out. Miracles, explain the Sages, happen when we connect ourselves to the “Master of Miracles,” the God who “spoke and the world came into being.” Hence, when we practice banishing negative thoughts (by replacing them with positive ones), we make a space for our true faith to emerge, a faith that once revealed, will bind us instantly to the infinite -- lifting us above all “finite limitations” (worldly constrictions and concealments). When bound to the eternal (via the faith expressed in our positive thinking), anything is possible, and the enemy doesn’t stand a chance. So learn from this the value of positive thinking, for it is the catalyst that makes miracles possible.
Practice replacing negative thoughts with positive ones and remember that everything is possible through positive thinking as it reflects faith in God -- the source of life.