Our mental state can most often be described as a swirl. Our thoughts are largely determined by what we see and what we hear. And since our senses are always flitting about, so are our thoughts. But when we focus our attention on a single idea, we start to gather power, and that power forms an image in the Mind of God.
Learning to control our thoughts does not mean suppressing them. It means choosing what we are going to think about and keeping our attention on that and that alone. Having a quiet mind does not mean having a blank mind. A quiet mind is an observant mind. You cannot receive an accurate impression while conducting a running commentary.
The power of a quiet mind has many benefits. It reduces stress, makes us peaceful, and generally improves the quality of life and our ability to pay attention to those around us. But when that quiet mind “situates” itself in an idea, its power is magnified exponentially.
An idea is not simply a string of related thoughts but rather an image containing all of its component parts within itself. It’s like an icon or a Tarot Key. Everything essential to the idea is present in one image. When that image is fully realized in our mind, and we stand in the middle of it as though it were an extension of ourselves, the image has enormous drawing power.
Priming the pump
Strictly speaking, power is only a potential. A car battery has power. But unless you connect the two poles of it to an electrical circuit, no energy will flow. It is not enough for us to embody an idea; we have to breathe life into it. And the way we do this is by turning the image into an animation. In order for an image to have creative power in the Mind of God, it must have action. Is it money you need? See yourself paying your bills. (Remember, it is in giving that we receive.) Sufis say, “Ask for what you need, and then pay for it.”
Picture yourself holding a wad of $100 bills. Peel them off one at a time and lay them on top of a spot representing the account that has to be paid. Do this over and over until all fear is gone. Pay the entire amount, not just the monthly payment. Doing this sets up a flow of energy in the Mind of God, and where there is a need, God provides the means to fulfill that need.
Remember that God doesn’t care what the need is or who is making the request. “Rain falls on the just and the unjust alike.” It doesn’t matter one iota whether you deserve it or whether you’ve been good. This is an impersonal principle. An electrician doesn’t have to “deserve” a proper flow of electricity; he just has to know how to connect the wires.
This doesn’t make prayer sound very romantic, but it does make it practical. After all, is your goal to make yourself feel good, or is it to get results?