Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, and Vice Versa

Easwaran’s thought for today quotes the Buddha: “All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” That is, our lives today are shaped by what we have thought and, consequently, done up till now. Furthermore, Easwaran elaborates, what we think from now on will, by implication, determine our deeds and shape our lives from now on. Thus, if we want to change our lives, we can begin, must begin by changing our thoughts. We have the power to choose how we think, and we can increase that power and our capacity to make the right choices by daily, disciplined adherence to Easwaran’s eightfold path.

I’m not sure that either Buddha or Easwaran are correct when they suggest that every aspect of our lives today is the result of what we have thought and done in the past. I suspect that it’s a little more complicated than that. But I have no doubt that our thoughts have a tremendous influence on our actions and, consequently, on the circumstances of our lives, and that the right thoughts and, consequently, actions can help to create a good, happy life.

Conversely, I believe that our actions can influence our thoughts and feelings. If we act confident or happy, we are more likely to think and feel confident and happy than if we don’t. This, in turn, can help us to act more confident and happy, and so on in the very opposite of a vicious circle. What is the opposite of a vicious circle? A virtuous circle, perhaps?

What I am trying to do today is think the right thoughts AND do the right deeds based on my best understanding of what’s right and what’s wrong. It sounds simple, doesn’t it? Simple in principle, but enormously difficult in practice. However, I would like to think that sages like Easwaran, Ken Wilber, and, yes, even Tony Robbins can help me to do precisely that.

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