THOUGHT VS ACTION
Buddha once said: “What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow. Our life is the creation of our mind”
The power of thought is the greatest power that man possesses. The present day luxuries are the consequences of mankind’s collective thinking. We are the architects of our own life and the onus is on us to build a mansion or be satisfied with the rubble. Each individual is what he is today because of his thought process. We humans are blessed with the cognitive abilities and thinking is what differenciates us from the brutes. The intellectual philosophy of “existentialism” propounded by some of the great philosophers of the 18th and 19th century like Kierkegaard and Frederick Nietzsche states that man exists and in that existence man defines himself and the world in his own subjectivity, and wanders between choice, freedom, and existential angst. For these intellectual giants, the powers of their thoughts have forced them to question their own existence. Their existential angst is beautifully paraphrased by Rene Descartes’ (a great Greek philosopher) famous postulate “Cogito Ergosm” which translates as “I think. Therefore I exist”
What is a thought ? For lexicographers it means an idea, an instance of thinking or to be even more precise “a state or condition of thinking”. Our brain is a super computer consistently assimilating data and correlating it and structuring it in the form of a thought. Studies on brain activities reveal that a deep thinker may encounter around 50000 thoughts per day. About 100 years ago this figure was around 5000. But today there is information galore and our brain is constantly trying to process it. He may think about how it is being prepared and the probable side effects after consuming it. He may rationalize and decide whether to have it or not. Our thoughts are greatly affected by the way we perceive this world.
We have the conscious mind and the sub conscious mind. The conscious mind gathers knowledge and exp;erience through the senses. It learns from books, conversation and experience. This reservoir of knowledge and experience is then passed down into the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is the mind of action. It is responsible for all that we do. It is the seat of memory and of instinct. It is a repertoire of tremendous power and extraordinary intelligence and carries out complicated processes in our body which makes life possible.
As we walk along, the seashore our fet leaves an imprint on the sand. In a similar way, every experience leaves a mark in our mind which arguable moulds our thinking prowess. These accumulated experiences have got a profound ramification on our actions. Most of our actions are guided by our thoughts. Every thought is a seed. It is upto us to allow it to germinate or relegate it to the deepest recess of our mind.
Fostering the right thoughts is very important because it influences our action, builds up character and develops a steadfast mind. There are two sections of people out there. One who overcomes life and the other who is overcome by life. Those who are able to control their thoughts and exercise their negative emotions will triumph over life’s difficulties. Those who succumb to their emotions will always be bogged down with life’s inequities.
There is a misconception that it is difficult to regulate our thoughts. But the truth is we can control and regulate our thoughts in the same way a traffic policeman controls the traffic on a rush day. Undesirable and destructive thoughts should be arrested while constructive thoughts need to be encouraged. Sometimes as we change the topic of our conversation, we need to change the focus of our thoughts too to streamline our thinking prowess.
There is a very interesting exercise which is often done in Business Schools to reiterate the link between thought and action. The instructor provides each of the team members with one inflated balloon and one pin. Then he will announce that whoever is left with the balloon intact will be the winner. Soon there will be a flurry of activities with each participant trying to burse the other person’s balloon. The end result is that, no one will be left with any balloons. The learning from this exercise obviously is that we tend to succumb to our thoughts/emotions. When the instructor announced that the winner will be the one left with the balloon intact, the participants construed that they need to burst the balloons of others to come first. This is mob behaviour. Instead of bursting the balloons of others, they could have simply protected their own balloons. This is a classic example of a thought determining the course of action.
To find yourself, think for yourself – said Socrates
When Arjuna geared up; to fight the kauravas, he became insipid after seeing his gurus as part of the enemy force. This sapped his energy and confidence and pushed him to leave the battle field. It was up to Krishna to explain to him about the rationale of this war and how his actions are going to be justified. The entire – Bhagawath Gita dwells on this profound philosophy of finding over true self. We need to constantly introspect and churn out the disproportionate thoughts that lead us to doom. Our negativities should be decided and replaced with an engulfing radiance of love and compassion which will rejuvenate us and the world around us.
What differentiates success from failure ? Why do some people succeed while others are pushed down the echelons of failure ? Is there a success formula ? The answer to these intriguing questions lies in the type of mind one possesses. A successful person always thinks in terms of achievement, prosperity and growth. They exude positive vibes and nurture positive thoughts. Their motto is always service and cooperation
By training ourselves to think thoughts of goodwill instead of hate and resentment, of cooperation instead of selfish acquisitiveness, of service rather than personal gain, we will be able to reflect these wonderful notions as actions that benefit humanity and mankind.