‘ You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice’. Reference from ‘A Course in Miracles’.
It is tempting to think that it is only what we do that is important. After all if you contemplate robbing a bank you won’t get thrown into jail unless you do it ! Thinking about it is not a criminal offense. BUT if you think long enough about becoming a bank robber you will eventually become one ! Without mental discipline what we think about we will create, and manifest in our lives – ok if it is what we want.
You may consider that you have no control over what you think, that you are somehow blameless when it comes to the thoughts that come into your mind. It is true that ‘lots of stuff’ comes into our heads prompted by what is happening around us, our past experiences, mental conditioning etc but the thoughts that we choose (yes, our choice) to ‘feed’ are the ones that will ‘grow’ in our minds and inevitably govern our behavior.
Humans uniquely in the animal world have ‘freewill’ – the capacity to choose, which precedes every action. In other words we have the capacity to be the ‘watcher’ of our thoughts, and to challenge and ultimately change our thinking patterns. This is both a gift and a responsibility to ourselves and those who are affected by our actions.
If you are struggling to bring about lasting change in your life look no further than your thinking patterns. If your thinking is not aligned to what you want to achieve you will revert to old ways. So if you have brought about a behavior change, say a commitment to take more physical exercise, you need to carefully monitor your thinking patterns thereafter to ensure that you don’t buy into excuses which will water down this commitment.
Expect some resistance to change to arise and be ready to reinforce the commitment at the level of thought.
Of course, sometimes our thinking is muddled and we don’t know what we want. After a while this can give rise to feelings of frustration and it can be tempting to do something ( anything !) just to move things forward, the risk being that we will do something that we will live to regret. In such situations it is often best to choose the ‘do nothing’ option until our thinking is straight.
Summary – as our thinking drives our behavior we cannot afford the luxury of being casual or indifferent about what we think. So make the monitoring/modification of your thinking a daily discipline, if this is not already the case, and you will get better outcomes from your actions.