I was preparing to give Sunday Service on the topic of “Deeds Vs. Intentions”. The core premise of the reading is that even the desire to harm is an error in that it denies the reality that all is God. This topic brought to mind the many ways that our state of mind affects our reality, all the way from legal consequences to outcomes in physics to efficacy of medical treatments.

In law the concept of mens rea, Latin for “guilty mind”, can determine the nature of a crime. If someone kills then the severity of the punishment depends on their state of mind: premeditation is first degree murder, whereas a killing in the heat of passion is only second degree, and all the way down to self-defense which is not even punishable. In physics it is well established that the observer affects the behavior of that which is observed. In medicine the placebo effect is so powerful that the gold standard, double-blind studies must control for it.

This train of thought brought to mind the famous statement by Edgar Cayce, a well-documented American psychic, that “thoughts are things”. However, as I contemplated this, I recalled that Yogananda had said the inverse: that things are thoughts. That is, that the entire universe is a manifest thought of God. I recalled reading this and began to search for the exact quote, but I searched through several of the books I have of his talks and essays without success. Time was running out because I needed to leave for the meditation, so I chose a similar passage and decided it would suffice.

On my way out the door I sat my purse down to gather up the books I needed and it knocked over a pile of mail, magazines and other papers on the counter. A small booklet slid out from the pile, and it was one that my son Robby had picked out to buy at Ananda a few weeks before. I picked it up – it was called Harmonizing Physical, Mental and Spiritual Methods of Healing – and on a whim I opened it for a quick glance. The page I opened to contained the very quote I had been searching for! “In the ultimate analysis we find that everything is thought force.”

Master is always with us!

Linda Schoendienst

About Linda Schoendienst

Linda Schoendist has been a disciple of Yogananda since 1995 and is a member of the board of directors for Ananda Dallas. Linda holds degrees in accounting, tax and law and has founded three software companies. She serves Ananda Dallas with great energy and love and finds deep satisfaction in sharing the teachings of Self-Realization with others.