What if……..

If thought is the fabric from which reality is made, then faith and intention become the mechanisms by which we focus and project thought.

                                                                                                              – Anonymous

What if we were spirits, balls of energy?  What if prior to being born, we could choose the Men and Women who would conceive us and help us with our values and beliefs? What if we could meet up with all the other spirits who would also be born to play enabling roles in our future life? What if we could choose our destiny?

What if…..

Grounded back to our reality, we see “What if….” as the yearnings of a meandering soul. Or a delusionary dream that needs to be closeted in the attics of our minds. But what if we did carry a master blueprint containing all our yearnings somewhere in our DNAs? Or what if the dream did have moorings in our wakefulness?

I see two pathways. One arising out of faith and the other from our intention. Which path to follow becomes our choice.

Our faith leads us to the realms of spirituality .We conjecture that situations do not happen randomly nor people come into our lives by chance. As we move through this maze of situations and people, we can choose to see our life journey as a blueprint ordained by a higher purpose. With this choice comes the realisation that the reason we are here is to heal our beliefs, learn from them and not to master and forcibly change them. Such a perspective does allow us to make peace with areas of our life which we find confusing and out of control.

But were we to move on the pathway of intention, we can choose to see our life as something we create and are responsible for. This becomes the essence. As we step out with positive intentions to make a choice, we start understanding the underlying reasons why we fail to do so on many occasions.

I get reminded of that wonderful Arbinger Institute publication, “Leadership and Self Deception: Getting out of the box”. While the book focuses on leadership in the organisational context, its argument applies in our life situation too. The book states that people respond to “how we feel about them” and not because “how we treat them.” Let us halt here and absorb the import of what is being said. “Feeling inside” has far greater impact than “action outside.” The genuineness, or otherwise, of what our true feelings or thoughts are, seeps out irrespective how or what we show on the outside.

We “get into the box” as we allow our lives to be dominated by our insecurities and start projecting our failures on to others to try and protect ourselves from our own reality. This then becomes our strategy of self deception and “keeps us trapped inside the box”, away from the truth of our attitude towards others and its crippling impact on our relationships.

As an example, if you are in an abusive relationship, this could be due to your belief that you are unloved. If you believe you are unlovable, you will attract those ‘into the box” who can help you to demonstrate this belief because you have it, not because it is the truth. Abuse is one way that this belief can be played out.

But intention does allow us to choose to become the observer of our beliefs and changing them once they are no longer working for us. And as we change ourselves inside, what we attract on the outside also changes. And this becomes our pathway to move “out of the box.”

So, do we move on the faith path as we reconcile and make peace with our troubling beliefs and other aspects of life? Or do we follow our intentions as we face failure and turbulence in our efforts to implant new beliefs and a life change?

What if….. we could make this choice?

In Learning………                                                                                                  Shakti Ghosal


* Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box – An Arbinger Institute publication, 2008.

Author: Shakti Ghosal

* A PCC Credentialed Leadership Coach. * A qualified engineer and a PGDM (Faculty Gold medalist) from IIM Bangalore. * More than three decades of industry experience spanning Engineering, Maintenance, Projects, Consumer durables, Supply Chains, Aviation and Tourism in the Gulf region and India. * Top level management positions to drive business development, strategy, alliances all around the globe. * A visiting faculty at the IIMs. *A passion to envision trends & disseminate Leadership incubation globally. www.empathinko.in , * www.linkedin.com/in/Shaktighosal. shakti.ghosal@gmail.com . +91 - 9051787576

49 thoughts on “What if……..”

  1. Dear Shakti,

    This post is so beautifully written which always means it is gently and mindfully thought out as well; thank you so much for that. I really love this perspective that how we feel about another person comes out regardless of how we act. I believe this wholeheartedly. It is why I believe it is so important for us to cultivate an energy, an undercurrent, of peace in our being, so that we can meet each other in peace and acceptance.

    Thank you for this post, and for your heart and thoughts 🙂

    Peace to you,



    1. Dear Allison,

      Thank you for your visit and the very thoughtful comment you have made.

      The perspective that you speak of is really a concrete finding from several studies and you might like to look up the reference I have quoted there to get more details.So, yes, an undercurrent of positive energy can be a great shifter and enabler in this world racked by so much conflict.

      Peace to you too.



  2. I am pleased to see your blog and thanks for stopping by my own. I do not think life is always about either/or choices but instead we can take a partial path and then step back and start another. There are choices and it is not easy! I like your thought provoking post here.


    1. Yes Christy, life is about choices and as we remain conscious of this, we take more responsibility about all that is going on in our lives rather than ascribing blame.The other aspect is the learning and satisfaction we could derive from the journey itself rather than getting overly hooked to the outcome.

      I appreciate your presence and your comment.



  3. Very nicely written.
    Although, I wonder what the “Ostrich Syndrome” image has to do with the article. 😉
    Consciousness and sub-consciousness has always been a subject of many grand discussions. Our mind constantly thinks, plans, hopes and dreams. What if’s – None of us is really free. Our mind filters our actions based on our upbringing, beliefs and inner sensibilities.
    I was wondering why you are correlating faith with intentions. My mind exploded as I mulled it over and over. You’re right! Faith has so much to do with our lives. A single belief, overpowering the mind, can spread like a fire, grow and rule over your actions.


    1. Hi Rommel,

      Great to see your thoughtful comment on this earlier post of mine. The Ostrich image is really to reinforce the aspect of self deception I have referred to in the post and I quote from there, “We “get into the box” as we allow our lives to be dominated by our insecurities and start projecting our failures on to others to try and protect ourselves from our own reality….”The image therefore really was not meant to speak of the classic “Ostrich Syndrome”.

      I am also delighted to see the great awareness you have achieved about the aspect of faith. Indeed our faith can work as an inner “operating System” as we go though our lives.

      I appreciate you for your presence here.

      Shakti Ghosal


  4. What if…oh, how difficult life can be especially when we had no input in the formation of our selves from the beginning…
    you bring good food for thought and i’m happy Arindam featured this post…my simple mind dwells upon faith in the Divine One, and being grateful for this existence in this time and space…always hoping my intentions are bringing this small world closer to our real Home.
    thank YOU.
    ~abundant peace, love and light~


    1. Thank you for your kind comments. You indeed have brought in sunshine into my day:) You have also brought into this space the three most important aspects of our lives- Faith, Gratitude and Intention. I appreciate you!



  5. There was a time in my life that I felt uncertainty and not so sure of what would it be my path to walk to, asking so many if’s, you are right it is our responsibility to make our life right, and we do have a choice always because it is only us who can do it by ourselves… Another post that inspire me a lot, thanks for showering wisdom…


  6. Shakti, I’m still taking in your thoughtful comments. I believe that nothing happens by chance, there are no coincidences. There might be a grand design, but we have the ability to choose which path we’re going to take. The “what if’s” come into play when you internally debate how life might be different if you had made the other choice. Each action and inaction shapes you. For me, this is how I can understand two people, coming from the same background and experiences, but having different outcomes.
    Thank you for your insights, Judy


    1. Judy,

      I love your clarity. What jumps out at me from your comment is “the ability to choose” But this ability is a function of our awareness and the perspective that we hold of the choice set at that point in time. As you say, ” each action and inaction shapes us.” As if we are always standing at a fork on the road and deciding on the path that we choose at that point in time………

      “What if” is every time we look back at those significant forks.




  7. During my seventy-one-years this I have learned about life: Nurture the positive and love/life will grow—feed the negative and it will destroy.

    Blessings – Maxi


    1. Hi Maxi,

      What a wonderful perspective.It reminds me of what Goerge Bernard Shaw had said.

      “Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he said….’whichever dog I feed’.”

      Thank you for your presence. I appreciate you.



  8. I’m afraid my comment will be much more simplistic than those who have left previous comments on your blog. I found what you said to be insightful and well-written. But I would like to add (which in some ways has been expressed beautifully by others who have commented), what if you could do both? What if you could live with faith and intention?
    Yes, I believe that we were given a sort of “blueprint” for our lives, but we don’t remember it. And yet, neither do I believe that everything is predestined. My own belief is that we have been a given a sort of “path” to follow, but we have the ability to choose. I do believe in God and I do believe that we probably had a discussion with him, of sorts, about what kind of life we were going to lead here on earth. At the end of that discussion, I also believe we were basically advised to do the best we could with what we had and hopefully, one day, go back home to him. He would provide the opportunities, our job was to choose what we wanted to do with those opportunities. In this way, you not only take responsibility for your own life and what you make of it, but you know that if you are making the best out of the opportunities that have been granted to you, then you are also following the “path” that God has laid out for you.
    Again, a respectful and cordial salute to you and everyone who has commented on this blog. It is so refreshing to find so many deep thinkers.


    1. Hi WFB,

      Thank you for your lovely comment. “What if we could do both?” What if….

      I guess we carry a bit of both aspects inside and the power and wisdom of choice is what our “blueprint” might dictate.

      I appreciate you.



  9. Thought provoking! I agree with most of what has been said by you and your readers. We are conditioned to think and feel a certain way and breaking those boundaries require what you rightly refer to as “the advantage of circumstance”. No doubt there are exceptions, but on the whole the weight of keeping body and soul together denies most people that advantage. Therefore when I propagate the path of intention, I am acutely aware that intention isn’t an option for the vast majority and that is the reason they fall back on faith. Also the reason most religions play on that desperation. And yes I can instinctively tell how a person feels about me regardless of what he/she is saying. But I wonder whether this is gender specific 🙂
    The idea of a pre-ordained blueprint and that video of the 10th dimension is truly fascinating and food for thought!!


    1. Hi Madhu,

      At the outset, I need to acknowledge your great presence here. Believe you me, I remain so impressed by your blogsite and your management of that. Great job!!

      Your perspective differentiating the choice between intention and faith is so very imcisive. When intention cannot be an choice, we turn to faith. That may be true! But the question remains, ” What stops us from holding an intention?” I realise the struggle which vast sections of Mankind need to go through on a daily basis. But holding intention is to merely visualise it for a couple of minutes every morning. As one does this, it can open new and unexpected doors of opportunity….

      Cheers and God Bless.



  10. This one is one of the most thoughtful and well written post I have ever read. Really wonderful. What if…? it’s a million dollar question in the real world for sure. Every wish, every regret, every question and every explanation some how either start or end with these two words; “What if…?”
    I also do believe, when we stand in front of the mirror and see ourselves; it’s not the mirror which shows us how are we looking? It’s actually, we the people, who looks ourselves the way we want to see. So what’s the point in focusing on those things, over which we do not have any control; why not to focus on ourselves and try to change those things which are somehow connected to ourselves.
    Great post. 🙂


  11. Dear Shakti,

    Thank you for your post.

    “What if………”

    The phrase is — pardon the alliterative turn of phrase which I could not resist — pregnant with a plethora of posers and possibilities.

    On one plane, it invites you to unshackle the mind — to abandon the self and to let go in flights of unbridled fantasy. It literally goads you to untether the consciousness from the often unpleasant and mundane realities of the here and now, and to dream of what might have been………….
    On another plane, it can furnish an escape valve. For someone caught in a situation of extreme stress — someone undergoing torture, for example — it can create a link, howsoever tenuous, with an alternative reality, which can confer the strength to keep battling against insurmountable odds.

    For the escapist or inveterate dreamer, it furnishes an alibi. He allows himself to remain immersed in his make believe world, and loses touch with the present, rendering him dysfunctional.

    Yet, the “what if……….” question is not all about a reality disconnect. If properly harnessed, it is a very useful tool in rational decision making.

    Psychologists rely on this to gain insights into the thought processes of patients.

    Armies engaged in war-gaming exercises use this approach to develop and refine strategy.

    Even in management science, “what if……” is associated with scenario mapping, again a useful tool in management.

    To quote Eckhardt Tolle, the renowned author of “The Power of Now” — “The realm of consciousness is much vaster than thought can grasp. When you no longer believe everything you think, you step out of thought and see clearly that the thinker is not who you are.”

    So why not indulge in testing the boundaries, and let the mind soar free?

    I can only conclude that done sparingly, attempting to answer the myriad “what if………” questions that keep popping up can be immensely rewarding and can stimulate the thought processes. Overindulgence in this pastime, on the other hand, can turn out to be a habit-forming opiate.


    Viney Sahgal
    Sent from my iPad
    ( From the Lounge Session Group)


    1. Dear Sir,

      As always, your comment on my post rewards the reader with refreshing perspectives as you dwell on the intrinsic power held captive in the words, ” What if…” These words indeed allow one to envisage alternative outcomes without getting embroiled or overwhelmed by immediate roadblocks. Its almost as if one holds a magic wand; its almost like one can make the “magic solution’ become reality as we ask, ” What if…?” We may call this initiative a vision, made glorious in technicolour by our imagination. But others might see this as our delusion as they perceive us not willing to lock horns with immediate challenges. As I think of all this, a germ of an idea invades my mind and I get the whiff of a future blog! Thank you Sir, I need to acknowledge you for this.

      I also appreciate my dear batch mate Kabeer’s Shairyee though I do find it a wee bit off centre.

      Cheers and God bless.

      Shakti Ghosal ’74

      P.S. As always, I am taking the liberty of shifting your response to my blog site.


  12. Shakti, there is a bit to digest, here. None of it new to me. A little thought, a little spirituality, a little quantum physics 😉

    In my mind, this sums it up: “… intention does allow us to choose to become the observer of our beliefs and changing them once they are no longer working for us. And as we change ourselves inside, what we attract on the outside also changes. And this becomes our pathway to move “out of the box.””

    We can worry about how we affect others and perhaps it is important to our personal evolvement as eternal beings that we do harbor this concern – after all, we are all in this dance together. Even Jesus said what we do to another, we do to ‘him’ – meaning, as I understand it, to ourselves. Indeed, there have been glimpses and blinks in my own life where I absolutely know we are All One. All drawing in the Universal Breath.

    Yet as far as our own lives are concerned, if we want to continue growing and maturing as souls in bodies, we need to remain Open in this dance. Not expecting others to ‘get it.’ They may or they may not – that is just the way things are. We simply exert our intentions and accept our power to change what we ourselves do not like – either change our perspective, our location in time and space and/or our minds! We cannot change anybody else’s. We can only change ourselves – and what a self empowering choice it is to continue doing so. Yes, it’s work. But what better job could one have? At least that’s how I see it from where i sit.

    Thanks for a great post, as always!


    1. Wonderful Bela! As I read your comment, what jumps out at me is the aspect of our choosing to self empower our own selves. As we realise this, we also choose to power our intention to “make a difference” as we get up each morning.What a wonderful perspective to hold!

      I appreciate you Bela.



  13. Shakti,

    What a fantastic post! You left me a lot to think about. I enjoy this choice that I have as a human to navigate life through faith and intention and I tend to choose both on regular occurence 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!


    1. Hi,

      Thank you for your kind words, they are so gratifying.What you have said of our need to shift our choice between faith and intention at different points in our life is so right. I guess it all comes down to the alignment that we can bring to bear between our values and our circumstances at that point of time.

      I appreciate your visit and do look forward to your comments in the future too.

      Cheers and God Bless.

      Shakti Ghosal


    1. Wow Pradeep, I am still trying to get my head around it! What if……. this was indeed so. That would imply that the tenth dimension being would have no place to go and thus would be the ultimate prisoner ( restricted to a point) of his own dimension!! Phew…

      Thanks for sharing this and with your permission. I propose to share this onwards.




  14. A well-considered and though-provoking post, Shakti. I suspect I will continue to mull on this as I handle the responsibilities of my day … and just look at the conversations you’ve inspired here. Wonderful.

    “What if …” Not asked of ourselves often enough as our souls meander and yearn … and learn.

    With your permission, I would like to post this on “Into the Bardo” … all credits, links, and copyright intact. I would need a photo and a short bio. If you would be okay with this, please email me at jamiededes@gmail.com with “Bardo” in the subject line and include the photo and bio. I’d also like to invite you to be a contribution writer to Bardo.

    Thanks for your fine blog. I like everything about it including “I’m listening…” for comments. Perfect.

    Thanks also for your visits to “Into the Bardo” …
    You are much appreciated,
    Jamie Dedes


    1. Hi Jamie,

      What a delight to see your comment which I saw just now! I indeed feel blessed if I have been able to kindle some kind of reflections and perspective shift.

      Of course, you have my permission to share my post any which way you like.I would send you the required mail with the requested for inputs to your E Mail ID. And I would be delighted to be a contributor writer to BARDO, thanks for your offer.

      And Jamie, thanks to you also for your visit and comments, I truly appreciate.

      Cheers and God bless.



  15. It is difficult for me to respond in an either/or manner, Shakti. I’ll give my version of living life – and this concept is ever-evolving. What I say here is not what I would have said 10 years ago. I understand this to be my evolutionary growth, thanks to the information presented from several different sources – teachings of various paths and faiths I’ve studied to varying degrees.

    We are given Self Will so we can work with “the spiritual realm of choice” as co-creators and build the life that will give us the feeling experiences we are meant to have in this physical form. Thus, we learn to observe ourselves, realign and carry on. We can put our focus and attention on the positive and marvel at the results. Or we focus on the negative and see negativity all around us.

    Unfortunately I forget who quoted that people will not remember us for what we gave them, but for the feelings they experienced in our presence. I hear this wisdom in the responses of almost everyone I’ve asked about a past time in their lives.

    If the book is saying that people respond to “how we feel about them” and not “how we treat them”, I would hope this is not considered a “lightbulb” insight. Businesses that leave “heart” out of the equation are rife with personnel issues. There are major corporations in N. America who have come together as “spiritual corporations”. They meet to support and enhance each other in their commitment to run businesses with heart as well as all the other strengths. In my attempt to learn more about them, I saw how earnestly they screen those wishing to attend their conferences. I agree with you wholeheartedly that “… genuineness, or otherwise, of what our true feelings or thoughts are, seeps out irrespective how or what we show on the outside.”

    God help those who are trying to convince themselves that they can conceal whatever authentic feelings/energy is held in their hearts. Animals and children are better at filtering than adult humans because we are rife with conditioning, belief systems, biases… We truly can trust our instincts…it’s a matter of learning how to read them.

    I KNOW when someone doesn’t like me or want to be in my presence. Even in the blogworld. 😀


    1. Hi Amy,

      Such a pleasure to once again receive your comment.What jumps out at me from reading it is the aspect of an ever-evolving “Self” getting coloured and tainted by the environment,take-aways, perceptions, experiences and beliefs. What I also seem to sense is that our intrinsic Values get consigned to the bottom of the pile and thus get the least opportunity of influencing us as we move through life on a day to day basis. I also hear you say that a big part of choosing our paths lie with us. True, but does this not presume a level of consciousness and “circumstances advantage” that only few lucky ones have on this planet?

      You say “we learn to observe ourselves, realign and carry on”. Very true, this indeed remains the essence of the human learning process. But again this can only be situation specific, akin to making a judgement of the entire forest by seeing some part of it through a window. Can this not lead to a lack of true holistic appreciation?

      Lastly, I love the part where you have brought in the aspect of the coming together of “spiritual corporations.” In Hindi philosophy, we hold the concept of eternal cycles with each cycle ending with the coming of Kaliyug. It is then when Deliverance is at hand. Could the rise of these spiritual corporations be such a Coming?

      I appreciate you, Amy!



  16. What if.. I could tell you I knew that we chose our blue print and parents for our life’s growth and experience.. What if… I could explain that when in that other Spirit existence we know exactly what it is we wish to achieve and experience within our Earths Vibration of Matter and Physical Form. What if.. I said once born we then forget, and have triggers set within our Blueprints to job us along to remember our plans.. And What if I said to you I have spoken too, touched and know for definite those different Spiritual realms exist..
    And what if I could also say our very thoughts and feelings draw to us our experience.. We create even our own illness as our energy within our Physical bodies gets blocked and choked by our thinking.. as we hold Fear and Negative energy.. We are Energy Beings…and as such we conduct positive and negative energies..
    We are brought up within the thoughts of our teachings of History, our families, our religions.. We take all we are told as truth… We are brought up with them… we are told from a young age.. ‘You need to work hard to get anywhere in life’ So we come to believe it.. So too if we are called Fat, a failure, or any other label we are given.. We hold that thought with a ‘feeling..’ That Feeling is the Key! For we grow up FEELING good or Bad about the things we are told by our elders as we believe and Feel them to be true..
    Maybe if more could get Outside the Box of that perception.. They would see that what we have been brought up to believe and now ‘Feel’ to be true.. Is not truth at all..
    Once upon a time the world was thought and perceived to be flat.. Until it was proved to be round.. Then perceptions changes..
    A great example of that is conventional medicine.. We think we have to try and heal the symptom.. when in fact we need to see what caused the symptom in the first place.
    A remarkable video is this No Medicine hospital in Beijing Where Thought projected into a patient dissolves the cancer she has in a matter of minutes.
    What if.. we could all start and use our thoughts in a more positive way, in love and Light.. What if we could change the world! Arrgh.. WHAT IF.. We put all our INTENTIONS on Creating Peace!.. What if!!!
    So so enjoyed this wonderful Post.. And forgive my long reply.. Sue


    1. Dear Sue,

      Sorry for the slight delay in responding but what you have brought in through your comment is so, so awesome! I had to move in and out a few times, loving the swirling thoughts and fearing this burst of creative insight might stop once I start tapping the keyboard.

      I am indeed intrigued to hear you affirm what to me seemed some errant imaginings.You say, ” And What if I said to you I have spoken too, touched and know for definite those different Spiritual realms exist..”. I would love to become your disciple and learn more of this. What if…… you allowed me to become so?

      Our process of socialisation indeed ladles all kinds of stuff- beliefs, mis-alignments, fears and conformity into the open receptacles of our minds.And these indeed become our reality, our truths against which you measure everything else. But alongwith this we also imbibe the invaluable knowledge which Mankind has garnered through the ages. So could there be a trade-off,a better way forward? What if… I could know this?

      I appreciate you, Sue, for taking the time to be here and your so powerful and thought-provoking comments. Love them as I do your presence.



      1. “”I am indeed intrigued to hear you affirm what to me seemed some errant imaginings.You say, ” And What if I said to you I have spoken too, touched and know for definite those different Spiritual realms exist..”.””
        These are not Imaginings!!… But real… and amazing.. I have shaken hands with a man who was in spirit for 80 yrs… I have witness many things.. And if you trawl though my achieves you will discover more.
        Thank you for taking the time to reply, and no worries about the delay.. I too have been away from the PC for a couple of days due to a heavy work load.
        Blessings to you Shakti.. We are all of us learning as we open our minds to the many possiblities ~Once we have shed the indoctrinated thoughts of our past teachings as to how we perceive our reality!
        ~Sue.. 🙂


  17. Tough call Shakti….A large part of me says that the intentions are coming from a deep, innate knowing within born from the faith we carry from our beginnings. We have the blue print and our intentions come from this, not always consciously, keeping us headed towards the path we came in to live. We were born to our parents for they serve to provide us with the lessons we need to learn to accomplish what we came to do. If we intend our lives, that intention is merely in keeping with the blueprint….That is my way of living, but this was most thought provoking…Thank you friend! Loved pondering it! Blessings….VK


    1. Hi VK,

      Reading your comment does make your argument compelling and I need to acknowledge you for that. Intention, the way it has shown up in your life, is undoubtedly at an elevated and holistics plane. I do see now that perceived in this way, it would be aligned to our faith and intrinsic values. A truly refreshing perspective…

      I appreciate you.



    1. Hi Jeannie,

      Great to see you focusing on the “intentions” route. I guess that is the only way we can make a difference.I believe you hold the awareness that setting intention is quite different than goal making. It is not oriented toward a future outcome. Instead, it is a path or practice that is focused on how we are “being” in the present moment. Our attention is on the ever-present “now” in the constantly changing flow of life. We set your intentions based on understanding what matters most to us and make a commitment to align our worldly actions with our inner values.

      Thank you for your presence, I appreciate you.



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