23 Jun Attending to Our Thoughts – June 24 2019
Attending to Our Thoughts
The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And habit hardens into character.
So watch the thought and its ways with care,
And let it spring from love
Born out of concern for all beings.
As the shadow follows the body,
As we think, so we become.
Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha, The Dhammapada
When we learn to meditate, for many of us it is the first time we become able to see our thoughts and be able to have any effect on them whatsoever. Before meditation some of us felt we were at the mercy of the thoughts, as if they came from somewhere else and we were victims of them.
Then we begin meditating and within a rather short time we find ourselves able to see our thoughts clearly; and when we are able to see the thoughts clearly, it is merely one more step for us to be able to shift them–by shifting our attention from the negative to the positive, looking at what is right in a situation rather than what is wrong; by challenging the ego’s constant attempts to separate us from the rest of the world; by choosing compassion for others over judgment.
Simply by becoming present and wanting our thinking to change, it begins to change. We notice a judgment, we let it go and imagine love. We notice a tone of negativity in our self-talk and we remind ourselves that everything God has created is worthy of love. The more we commit, the easier it becomes.
This is not just positive thinking, but rather the beginnings of an entire paradigm shift where we begin to see our true place in the world as expressions of something far greater than our small self. As expressions of our divine nature.
The mind needs clean fuel to operate at its best. If we are athlete’s we wouldn’t dream of performing on a diet of Twinkie’s and beer. As spiritual beings having this human experience, the tendency of our mind will lead us to enjoyment or suffering, joy or sorrow, exaltation or shame, and its tendency will depend in large part on the material we’ve been feeding it.
Thoughts of love for self and others, or the negative tapes of habit. Which of these shall we choose today?
Today I will pay attention to my thinking and, when it throws up to me its negative judgments of myself or the world, I will challenge myself to let these judgments go and I will find the love and compassion within myself to turn them around.