This is a story about the power of our thoughts. Some years ago I was playing a game of doubles in racquetball, meaning there are two players on each side. The object of the game is to keep the ball in play, trying to force the opposing team to make an error. Unfortunately, my partner was making most of the errors that evening. Although outwardly I tried to sound encouraging, inwardly I was thinking, “Can’t he hit anything back?” As the game progressed, he got worse and worse, and my thoughts followed right along behind.

Then I remembered that our teachings tell us that our thoughts have the power to affect an outcome, and decided to test this out. I began to hold a positive mental image of him and inwardly compliment him with thoughts like, “He is really trying hard.” When he did anything well, I mentally congratulated him.

Soon we began to win point after point. I don’t remember whether or not we won that night, but I gained a huge inner victory. More important than outward results was the fact that, with a positive mindset, I began to enjoy the game. I learned from that experience that my negative thoughts not only hurt the outcome, but also hurt my partner, and made me unhappy as well.

This lesson is directly applicable in situations we face every day. If you want someone — a spouse, a child, a boss or coworker — to behave differently or perform better, then it is up to you to create a positive space for them to step into. If you can’t, and remain inwardly critical, then you are part of the problem.

Here is a simple law: Positive thoughts produce positive results. Negative thoughts produce negative results.

There is a difference between discrimination and judgment. Discrimination sees something for what it is, while judgment includes an emotional component. It arises when something doesn’t align with our desires. We might see that something is wrong, but if we go on to react judgmentally to it, then we have crossed over into quite another mindset. It usually means that we ourselves have that same issue, and are projecting expectations and self-criticism onto someone else.

Positive thoughts produce positive results. Negative thoughts produce negative results.

“To the Mountaintop,” by Nayaswami Jyotish

In the Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramhansa Yogananda talks about an incident with his guru, Sri Yukteswar. Yogananda had left the ashram to go to the Himalayas and then returned some time later:

“’I am here, Guruji.’ My shamefacedness spoke more eloquently for me.

“‘Let us go to the kitchen and find something to eat.’ Sri Yukteswar’s manner was as natural as if hours and not days had separated us.

“’Master, I must have disappointed you by my abrupt departure from my duties here; I thought you might be angry with me.’

“’No, of course not! Wrath springs only from thwarted desires. I do not expect anything from others, so their actions cannot be in opposition to wishes of mine. I would not use you for my own ends; I am happy only in your own true happiness.’”

In joy,

Nayaswami Jyotish

A gentle reminder to our regular readers: Remember to practice the Touch of Light and Joy at least five times each day.


  1. We hear of consequences of positive and negative thoughts. But the example cited by you has a different dimension. This isn’t positive/negative thoughts generating positive/negative behaviour pattern thus encouraging or otherwise another person. Even an inward thought of encouragement, compliment can change a person.
    This is game at a different level! Let me try, and try to succeed with some of the problems, issues I have in my own family.

    Thank you so much Jyotish ji. Aum.


  2. Pranam Ji

    Though we knew Positive Thought to apply in any Situation bring in Best Results, this being disturbed by the Discremination in the Judgemental behavier of the Person involved.
    Thanks for the Inputs to over come this abstracles.

    With Gratitude
    R Sundararajan


  4. Thank you Jyotishji….it seems this was written just for me! I have been grappling with a similar issue and was quite discouraged. But now I understand….and shall create this ‘positive space’….
    With kind regards and gratitude,

  5. Thank you so much and feeling so much blessed for following masters and your guidance.

  6. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,

    Thank you for the blog :)

    So simply put for us to practice . Thank you


  7. Thank you so much for this wonderful reminder with such a rich example of both Beloved Masters. The Autobiography of Master Yogananda is one of my all time favourites books. Thank you again, God Bless and Namaste

  8. Wonderful blog, Jyotish! Thank you for the good reminder of how to help our co-workers, spouses etc. to develop their true potential.
    Blessings, mayadevi and helmut

  9. Your words are a good reminder that the power of our thoughts effect the world around us in the same way that our words or actions do. And, I like what you say about judgement having an emotional component because that is what creates the conflict inside us and with others. If everyone practiced what Sri Yukteswar says there would be no war! Love the painting too especially now that autumn is here! Thank you!

  10. Thank you Jyotishji for the Reminder to practice Touch of Light and Joy.

    And also for putting it so plainly about the game our negative thoughts play .

    May you always be the Channel for God and Gurus Wisdom and Love .

  11. Wow, this really resonated with me…so so many places it applies.
    Thanks, my dear friend!

  12. Great lesson. We all know that positive thinking brings positive results. But I never thought that while playing any game, if you compliment your partner mentally instead of criticizing mentally, his game would improve for the better. Great. I shall keep in mind.

  13. Your blog made my day. Wow! Then to top it off was your reminder about practicing the Touch of Light 5 times daily. I got to listen to that talk! Both were filled with simple shining examples of what we can do to enrich our lives and those we’re with, and to prepare for the future.
    Thank you, Paula

  14. Jai ma thank you.always look forward to your wisdom.they seem to always come at the right moment.

  15. Very nice article Jyotish Ji. Thanks for sharing the Light and Love of our Masters. Aum Guru!

  16. WIll this method also work for an evil mother? If I think of her as positive, will she be better?

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