“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”
This verse from the Bible (Proverbs, 23:7) influenced the title of James Allen’s 1902 literary essay ‘As a Man Thinketh’ in which he states:
“As the plant springs from, and could not be without, the seed, so every act of a man springs from the hidden seeds of thought and could not have appeared without them. This applies to those acts called ‘spontaneous’ and unpremeditated’ as to those which are deliberately executed.
“Act is the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its fruits; thus does a man garner in the sweet and bitter fruitage of his own husbandry…
“As a being of Power, Intelligence, and love, and the lord of his own thoughts, man holds the key to every situation, and contains within himself that transforming and regenerative agency by which he may make himself what he wills.”
The mind is a funny thing, don’t you think? It seems to me that it is often both the problem and the solution to the majority of life’s trials and tribulations. Yet it is rarely still, chatter is rife rather than calm.
But why is there a constant chatter consuming the peace of our minds? What exactly are the consequences of this chatter to our system?
To understand our thoughts, their origins and how they operate, it is necessary to understand how our mind functions. In many respects the mind is similar to a CPU for the human system, it perceives – correctly and incorrectly – it remembers, it creates and it sleeps (deep sleep). These are the facets of the mind and barring deep sleep it is in constant movement, shifting from one activity to another.
To think is the mind’s job.
How we think and what we think is OUR job!
The trouble begins when we bombard our minds with excessive information, much of which is often not connected to our present moment. And like a computer, if the hard drive becomes full it starts to impact other parts of the system, thus reducing the machine’s efficiency. It is no different with the human system.
In 2014 we suffer from information overload, with multiple sources vying for our attention. We’re always connected to smart phones, tablets, social media and the like, all of which animate the mind, utilising its faculties which could otherwise remain calm and truly present.
The truth is we’re seldom truly present; our minds are usually in several places at once. I am not referring to concentration, although that is one facet of being present, rather I mean true moments of experience in which your mind is a recipient and a beneficiary of EVERYTHING around you.
In tangible terms, not being fully present is like speaking with someone while simultaneously reading an e-mail on your smart phone, you’re not really there. And over time this kind of approach will leave you slacking in your job or role (whatever that might be) because like the computer’s hard drive your mind is overloaded, unable to fully deal with the task at hand.
As importantly, consider the wider impact of abstracting yourself from being truly present. You might miss seeing your baby’s first step because you’re too busy texting; perhaps you’ll miss the sign that a close neighbour needs you at a critical moment in her life because your busy making thousands of friends on facebook, maybe the loving touch of your partner’s caress will go unnoticed because you’re too busy thinking about your to-do list. Always busy, busy, busy thinking something, your mind never still!
And when these busy thoughts spin round and round in your head like vultures circling carrion, they converge into a mash of meaningless attachment and desire leading to actions that are not founded in clarity. You REALLY want to get into a head stand because you see the person next you in the class doing it, and it kinda looks cool! But hang-on, don’t you have neck strain and isn’t that the reason you came to the yoga class? You’re not truly present, you’re being led by your mind’s chatter. (As you can tell I have a thing against head stands and this is purely because I think very few people in a group classes are actually prepared and ready for that āsanā!)
Anyway, hand stands aside, statistically human thoughts are 70% negative. Seventy per cent! That’s a huge proportion. And mostly due to busy thought vultures fighting over the mental carrion that’s actually the remainder your peace of mind. Imagine what happens to the human system if so much of the mind is consumed with negative thoughts. Unless we make concerted conscious efforts to change direction, this negativity will cause suffering and pain. As the saying goes, ‘is the glass half full or half empty’ – it is your mind, your thoughts, that decide.
The seed of positive thought should be watered to blossom into a tree of beauty. Unless you connect to the positive side of things, you will make yourself more and more toxic and end up being a GRUMP! And you can only do this by being truly present.
So stop the chatter and experience the PRESENT MOMENT, the birds, smells of the earth, the myriad of colours and expressions of life, sounds near and far; and if the chatter comes (which it WILL), stop it and observe the direction of those thoughts.
Think of the Biblical proverb in a more personal sense:
“As I think in my heart, so am I”
mi-yogaḥ offers many different tools provided in the eight limbs of yoga that will help you to stay in the present and also help you to change the pattern of negative thinking. To explore more and learn these tools to maximise your present moment, email at yoga@-mi-yogah.com
Text for the Video:
Life. Thrown into a chaotic mess, moments pass by and you grow up. People come and go. Opportunities pass – there will be more. Hope. Understanding. God. Is it really what you think it is? Before you know its over again. And all you got is a glimpse.
Jhalak was shot in Bombay, Delhi, Bundi, Ranakpur, Jaipur and Jodhpur.
Shot with Magic Lantern RAW and stabilized with the Freefly MōVI M10.
Cinematography and edit: Tim Sessler
Music: Chris Tate