Aretha Franklin Album Cover

by Wambui Bahati

In the summer of 1968, I remember dancing and singing along with Aretha Franklin as she wailed, "You better think! Yeah, Think! Let your mind go. Let yourself be free!"

Whether I was washing the dishes, doing homework, or just hanging out with my friends, whenever I heard that song, I'd stop whatever I was doing and belt out at least one, "Think!" myself. Of course, I also owned the 45 record. I loved that song. For three weeks, Think was the number one R&B single in the United States.

During that same summer, I was preparing to go away to college. I had taken the right test and had gotten the right scores, so surely I knew how to think. Yes, I knew how to think. I have come to realize, over the years, that while I knew how to think, I didn't understand the power of thinking or the power of thoughts.

While I celebrated Think being the number one R&B single, I failed to realize that thinking was then, is now, and forever and always will be the number one factor in what determines the quality of our lives. "Yeah, you better think."

I didn't realize that I was creating what I was thinking about. Because of this, I created some real messes. Oh, don't get me wrong; I created some wonderful adventures too. For the most part, however, I was busy thinking as a reaction to what was going on around me. I was thinking on automatic.

I was not totally in charge of my thinking. Therefore, I was not totally in charge of my life. I was imaginative and very creative in all areas that pertained to the arts – theater, crafts, and writing. However, it never occurred to me to apply that same imagination and creativity to every aspect of my life.

Psychological studies show that each of us has about 60,000 thoughts each day. That's a lot of thoughts. Yes, that's the good news. Here's the sad news. We are not having 60,000 new thoughts each day. Most of us are thinking the same few little thoughts over and over again 60,000 times. ("My boss is getting on my nerves." My boss really gets on my nerves." "I got to find me a new job." "I'm going to quit this job." "I'm going to quit this job because my boss gets on my nerves." "Did I tell you what my boss did?" "He acts like I'm stupid." "He really made me angry." "My boss . . .)

I now realize that just like I didn't understand the power of my thoughts, most other people do not realize how powerful their thoughts are either. Most of us do not realize that the universe, or God, or whatever we call the greatest power is busy creating for us what we think and create in our minds. Our thoughts are powerful things. They are energy. Our thoughts carry vibration messages throughout the universe. They bring to us more of whatever we are thinking about.

Therefore, if we are concentrating and thinking about how bad things are, we are creating more bad things. If we constantly think about things that really don't matter, we create more stuff in our lives that doesn't matter. Knowing who was voted out of the house on a reality TV show really is not going to affect our lives unless we are that person who was voted off or we are somehow personally connected to that person.

We spend time thinking about and discussing movie characters, how to beat electronic games, discuss other people's business, and what's wrong or right about our political system. True, we are not hurting anybody and yes, there are worse things we could be doing. However, we are not really helping ourselves either. We can use the time that we spend thinking about things that don't really matter to us to create completely new lives for ourselves.

Imagine if we spent this time thinking and planning our own lives – thinking about ways to make our own lives better and thinking about things that we want to have, to be, and to do. Think about what is right in our lives. We're not taking advantage of the simple, yet, remarkable gift that each of us has been given – the power to think. It doesn't cost us one cent to think. Learn to appreciate the magic of thinking and being able to choose what we think about.

Aretha sang to her man, "Think about what you trying to do to me". I challenge you to think about what you're trying to do to yourself. You have the power to think yourself into a place of joy, a place of peace and yes, even a place of health and wealth. Think about it.

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