This morning my niece Athena posted on Facebook that she’d had bad dreams again and they prevented her from getting a good night’s sleep. This isn’t the first time she’s posted that kind of status. Since bad dreams are also a problem for me, I commented thus:
“I may have said this before, but I’ll say it again–pray for good dreams every single night of your life. And don’t forget to say thanks in the morning. This is the best cure for bad dreams. It works. Also, I’ve learned that there are certain things that trigger my bad dreams–like movies (could be some scene or theme you weren’t expecting) or the news. I pay special attention to my prayers on those occasions. Try reading good stuff before you turn out the light. And sing or listen to uplifting music. I love it when I wake up with the Hallelujah chorus playing in my head.”
I wrote that shortly after having read the following classic thought (courtesy of David Kenison).
Classic thought for Friday 10/11/13 – Howard W. Hunter on the magic of thought:
“As a being of power, intelligence, and the master of his own thoughts, a man holds the key to every situation, to make his life what he chooses it to be. When he discovers the divine power within his soul, he can lead his life to a God-like nature. If one dreams lofty dreams, so shall he become. There is magic in the way one thinks. If we expect the worst, we will get the worst. If we expect the best, we will receive the best. If we train our minds to have faith in God and ourselves, we are using one of the great laws of life. If we think and live righteously, happiness will find its place in our lives. It is amazing when we expect the best how forces are set in motion which cause the best to materialize….
“Outward circumstances do not determine the course of our lives as much as the thoughts that habitually occupy our minds. These thoughts carve their impression on our faces, in our hearts, and on the tablet of our eternal souls.”
– Howard W. Hunter, “Thoughts Make Us What We Are,” Beneficial Life Insurance Company Convention, Victoria, British Columbia, 7 July 1983; see THWH 74
I don’t disagree with President Hunter, but it seems to me this is a borderline piece of information. I’d be more willing to think I am wrong than that he is, so I want to ramble on this topic for awhile.
A good deal of my unhappiness seems to be the result of my thoughts. (Maybe all of it.) People often say things like the above and I am quick to object now whereas there was a time I would probably have agreed. I was raised on: “I think I can.” But I started to find that I couldn’t do the things I thought I could. I’m willing to concede there are a good many things I don’t want badly enough to work harder for their success and maybe that’s the whole crux of my problem.
Thinking of President Heber J. Grant who is the classic example of TRYING, I’d have to say that I don’t try hard enough at everything. I could try harder, but it also seems the harder I try at some things the harder The Forces Against Me try. (Actually, I don’t think they try. They are successful with a wave of the hand.) If I decide to change my sleep habits I find myself unable to fall asleep or stay asleep or avoid bad dreams or the house floods during the night . . . Whatever! There is always opposition beyond my control to daunt me. And I am easily daunted I guess because I don’t want it badly enough.
I don’t want most things badly enough, but it’s not because I’m lazy. I’ve learned to not care vitally about worldly success (as defined by me, which is a bit different from what’s ordinarily regarded as worldly success) because it is so elusive.
Is it the case that I’ve found that the most important things come easily? Or is that understanding my blessing, my gift? What matters to me is peace and safety and–hokey though it may sound–a close relationship with God, having His approval. I’ve had to learn to value those because the obstacles against everything else I’ve ever “wanted” are too overwhelming.
My emotional state is a preventative to getting the extras. How much of that is within my control is a question that could consume every minute, every day. I don’t want to think about it all the time, so I fold. I say to myself, “Fine. Take it. You win. I don’t want to fight anymore. If you won’t let me fly, that’s OK. How about we just read a book?” Because I’m dealing with this condition all the time–facing the disappointment that I’ve survived the night each morning, dealing with the trauma of another day of life, and trying to persuade myself to function–I have little to give to my other interests. My interest in my interests waxes and wanes.
I repeat this from the HWH quote above: “Outward circumstances do not determine the course of our lives as much as the thoughts that habitually occupy our minds.” Was I having thoughts my whole life that were eroding my temporal foundation–my dreams or aspirations? And am I now (for the past 18 years) just waking up to their loss?
You know what? I HAVE WHAT I WANT. Most of it is or seems handed to me. Home, Kerry, the gospel, peace. That is all I know on earth and all I need to know. (Thanks, Mr. Keats.) I’ve never been much into decoration.
And, in large measure, I AM WHO I WANT TO BE. I just need practice in a variety of similar conditions each day to operate consistently. So I do my practicing by dallying in my dreams (not nightmares)–writing, art, used to be dancing. I even have my Almaic wishes. I believe in Elder Wirthlin’s promise of the law of compensation. In fact I’m not sure I haven’t already been compensated.
Perhaps my life’s mission is to learn that. Over and over and over.
I will conclude with a quote from Roald Dahl: “Dreams is very mystical things,” the BFG said. “Human beans is not understanding them at all. Not even their brainiest prossefors is understanding them.”
I don’t claim to be a brainiest prossefor, just a regular human bean.