As A Man Thinks In His Heart So Is He

I’m currently in a season of revelation. What do I mean? I’m a person who is not satisfied with the status quo. Perhaps it’s because of the turn my life took at fourteen that permanently made me the boy who questions life. I had no choice. Literally! I woke one morning to find my mother had passed, and then two weeks later, my father sat me down to tell me he couldn’t take care of me, and sent me to live with my sister. Like it or not, I was forced to stand outside the status quo of what would be considered the normal teenage boy’s life. Though I do not wish for those events to happen to anyone at that age, I can see what an asset that experience has become for me now all these years later, and so I am very thankful for having gone through it. Because now, when I struggle with things, I allow myself to go through it with a seekers spirit. In this way, I end up having things revealed to me that can be beneficial. They stretch me, change me, and grow me in ways that no other way can. This is happening a lot lately.

One of the major revelations is that I’m beginning to see the connection between the mind, body, and spirit far more clearly than I ever have before. I once had the tendency to cling to a negative thought until it started taking a stronger and stronger hold on me. If I didn’t do something to break that cycle, it led to constant worry, and anxiety. I started to step back from this habit a while back, and asked myself the simple question, “Why do I do that?” I was recently struck by an answer to that question that I hadn’t expected… I wasn’t doing it. Yes, these thoughts were happening inside my mind, and yes, I was the one being affected by those thoughts, but those thoughts were not put there by me. These were old, kind of pre-programmed thoughts. Imagine if we were able to take out our brains, and open them up as we do a computer. I guarantee you, there’d be software in there that we’d be for certain we didn’t install. Yet, it’s running just the same. What would happen if we tried to install the very first Macintosh operating system on the latest iMac? It wouldn’t work, yet we don’t consider this when we look at our thought life. There is no question we have matured, and evolved from childhood; yet many of us remain blind to the fact that though we may appear to have the frame of a new iMac, the operating system running it is antiquated.  

We have a way of knowing that our thought life is faulty by how much havoc it wreaks in our lives on a daily basis. Why is it that we are so stressed out all the time? Why do we sometimes desire to avoid life rather than embrace it? How many “I can’t(s)”, “I’ll never(s)”, “I’m not good enough(s)” and the like, do we repeat to ourselves each day? How many nagging thoughts do we let escalate to the point of becoming overly anxious? If something is beyond our control, do we become enraged because of it, or possibly fall into a depression? Do we find that we are blaming everyone else around us for how miserable we are, and not even ponder where we need to hold ourselves accountable? And if we look at it from a larger perspective, we might be able to ask ourselves why is it that the pharmaceutical companies have become gazillionaires with the advent of psychotropic medications? (Please take note, I am not saying this as someone against them, I am saying it because of the inordinate amount prescribed.) Could all of this be because we’re running software with bad commands and just don’t know it?

I recently viewed a series found on PBS entitled “This Emotional Life.” The series was on our emotions (anger, despair, etc.,) the pursuit of happiness, facing our fears, and another on our relationships, but they were all presented through the eyes of science. One of the segments brought forth the scientific findings of the brain’s ability to rewire, reroute, and reprogram itself, (it was defined as neuroplasticity,) through practices such as talk therapy, visualization, meditation, prayer, and the reinforcing of positive thoughts. And then another revelation hit… isn’t this what Jesus, Buddha, and others on the higher path tried to tell us all those thousands and thousands of years ago?

Jesus – “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” (Our heart can only be illuminated by our thought life. Good, positive thoughts create a good, positive heart – Bad, negative thoughts create a bad, negative heart. Though I believe Jesus was claiming here that the heart and mind are one.)

Buddha – “The mind is the source of happiness and unhappiness.” (Pretty straight forward, but note he is not saying that the mind is either happy or unhappy… but the SOURCE of happiness or unhappiness.)

And aren’t both the same as saying “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he?” (Proverbs 23:7.)

What would happen if every single neurotransmitter in our brain stopped transmitting? No thoughts. No consciousness. Can we go so far as saying no life? If this is the case, then the path to the Kingdom of Heaven, Nirvana, Paradise, or simply to a healthier, happier, fulfilled life, begins within our minds. The first step on the path is to develop an awareness of our negative thinking. What long, outdated thoughts have we been perpetuating on a consistent basis? Some of this type of thinking is deeply rooted, and fires almost involuntarily. But once we begin to make a habit of becoming aware of how we think, on a daily, and if possible, moment-to-moment basis, we can get hold of those deeply rooted thoughts and begin the process of weeding them out. Once we clear out all that harmful clutter, we find we can now open our hearts more easily to others. We can love more; forgive more; and most of all… BE MORE.

Perhaps these are the ramblings of a man obsessed with the hope of a more harmonious world. I don’t know… but I kind of like being this guy more than the guy I once was. Again, these are my revelations, and I’m sharing them with others to see if we're on a similar journey, as well as to hear from those whose journey's may differ. 

What do you think? Is all this possible? Have you found it to be true for yourself? Has faith played a part in your becoming a more positive, joy-filled person? Or, are you a person who has found this path through other avenues, becoming a more fulfilled, blissful individual? I’d love you to share your thoughts.

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