"WE can affect history by being stewards of divine encouragement," a wise lady once said .
And when she spoke, it was one of those moments when her words seemed to reverberate throughout my entire being.
It brought to mind an ancient proverb, "For as a man thinks within himself, so is he".
While this proverb appears to reflect a gender-based message to men, I've come to understand that it's actually a "genderless" message for everyone.
Many years ago I was given this proverb to use in a presentation. The giver asked me to look at the word "Thinks" in this proverb, then asked me if I could "see" another word in the word '"Thinks".
As I looked closely at the word "Thinks", the letters in the word began to separate revealing the word "ink".
As I focused on the word "ink" the giver asked me another question, "What is ink used for?"
That's easy — writing and drawing!
In fact, ink is used in so many ways that even before things come into existence they are first written or roughly sketched to begin developing an idea. Writers, artists, draughtsman, architects, scientists, engineers and even tattooists then go to work using their skills and talents to bring the idea to life.
What blew me away was — that hidden in the word "Thinks" is a world-changing, three-letter word that has shaped the history of mankind, both for good and evil. While I knew that the two words were closely linked, I hadn't worked out why.
As I immersed myself in this truth, heightening my curiosity to the max, the giver' interrupted my reverie asking another question, "So, what is the negative symbol?"
The "Minus" (-) sign.
"When an upright "tree" or "pole" is driven through the middle of the minus (-) sign, what does it become", the giver asked?
The "Plus" or "Positive" (+) symbol.
The giver said, "Look again at the positive symbol — what do you see?"
This time the question seemed to penetrate a place in my being where something like a searchlight was switched on, illuminating a hidden truth.
For the first time ever I realised that the positive symbol was, in fact, a cross. As I basked in the presence of this profound truth, I felt an overwhelming sense of love and joy wash over me. I stayed in this "place", enjoying the beauty and bounty of the wisdom being bestowed.
But it seemed the lesson wasn't quite over yet as the giver gently coaxed me into another thought, "When you use the "ink" you've been gifted with to create the thoughts you "think" in your mind, which do you choose — the positive or the negative?"
I wanted to say the positive but I had to be honest and said that I struggled sometimes to use the positive to create good thoughts about myself and other people.
This disclosure seemed to drive an arrow deep into my soul and for a moment I felt ashamed and guilty that I had allowed the negative to create thoughts of ill feeling, bitterness, hatred, fear and discouragement - not all the time, but for a good part of my thought life. It was a moment of truth that I wanted to run away from yet I stayed, transfixed to this profound new wisdom I was being gifted with despite my discomfort.
I was in awe, but in an awkward sort of way — feeling loved and validated that I was being given something of immense worth. Yet for some strange reason, I also felt a deep sense of sadness mixed with anger because I felt duped and demonised by the negative for so long.
It was as if my "thinking" was being realigned to a new pattern of processing my "thought life" from a perspective I had read somewhere in one of the ancient scriptures.
The giver then said: "Take out a piece of paper and draw a line in the middle. On the left hand side, at the top of the page write 'POSITIVE' as a heading. Then on the right hand side at the top, write 'NEGATIVE' as the heading. First, think about all the positive attributes life has to offer then start writing them down."
I wrote "love, joy, peace, goodness, happiness, hope, forgiveness, faith, compassion, caring, sharing, encouragement, goodwill, honesty, truth, integrity, charity, honour, loyalty, unity, abundance, fortune, freedom, chastity, purity, praise, equality, justice, valour, values, vision, reconciliation, redemption, salvation, beauty, serenity, patience, wisdom, kindness, humility, grace, mercy, healing".
When I had finished, the giver said, "Now write down all the negative aspects of life that come to mind".
I wrote "hatred, discord, fear, envy, jealousy, selfishness, immorality, dishonesty, disloyalty, bitterness, unforgiveness, cruelty, lies, depression, oppression, heaviness, murder, poverty, adultery, addiction, drugs, slavery, famine, terror, war, suicide, disease, recession, imprisonment, stealing, corruption, injustice, inequality, aggression, pride, deception, confusion, distortion, division, racism, discrimination, prejudice."
As I examined what I had written, I noticed with some degree of excitement that the page resembled a profit and loss statement.
The positive side of the "ledger" seemed to be brimming with words of encouragement, uplifting my confidence and giving me hope. Yet the negative side of the "ledger" seemed filled with "loss" misery and hopelessness.
It seemed that things adding value to my life came under the banner of the positive symbol or the sign of the cross.
And the things "diminishing value" came under the heading of the "negative" symbol or the "minus" sign which seemed to be "robbing" me, simply because of the "choices" I had been making.
The giver then said: "When you choose negative thoughts to rule your life, it will steal and destroy all the positive attributes life has to offer you, leaving you feeling worthless, hopeless, down and discouraged. However, when you begin choosing the positives that life has given you as a gift, your life will change. You'll begin seeing through the eyes of heaven and living through the love of hope and encouragement."
It was from that moment on I realised that my character is being tested every day and my resolve is being refined to become more like the giver — so that whenever I'm faced with the onslaught of negativity luring me into its deceitful web, accusing me and telling me I'm worthless and hopeless, I know that I have been given a choice — to believe the wisdom of the giver or the lies of the loser.
It isn't easy to choose the positive at the best of times because, like everyone, I'm human and have momentary lapses where I make mistakes or say and do the wrong thing. Sometimes, I'm hard on myself for letting my guard down and giving in to negativity.
When I do, I feel I've let myself and the giver down. But the giver doesn't see it this way. He sees me as a human being with imperfections trying desperately to live a life on the positive side of the ledger where he's always encouraging me to choose the road less travelled.
When I fail, the giver gently lifts me up and, like a loving father, gives me a hug, encouraging me to keep going. I know the giver is proud of me. However, believing the giver can sometimes be difficult as there are so many conflicting thoughts and emotions I have to deal with every day with the negative thief continually harassing me. It's part of the deal to live as a human being but we have a way to destroy the works of the enemy of negativity — By taking every thought captive to the obedience of the giver.
I've come to understand that "taking every thought captive to the obedience of the giver" simply means - when a negative thought enters my mind and even before it can take root and begin to grow to take control of me, I deal with it and remove it from my mind through the help of the giver.
What this encounter with the giver has taught me is that despite my mistakes, my failures, my wrongdoings, my regrets and disappointments in life that have sometimes kept me pinned down with the negative thief calling me a loser, the giver does not hold anything against me. The giver sees us differently — he sees all the goodness inside of us. And the giver's greatest desire is for us to prosper in every way — physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally and financially.
Whenever you're faced with a challenging moment where negativity is tempting to bring you down, remember to reach for the wisdom of the giver who will lift you up. May you begin to "think" with the "ink" written" in the "blood" of the giver so that you can live under the Sign of the Cross!
* Colin Deoki is a contributor and this is his opion and not of this newspaper.