Mind Stuff 2

We all know that it is a struggle to change our habitual thought patterns, but it is perhaps helpful to first understand how these patterns are created in the first place, as they are responsible for creating our experience of life.

The following words of Mahatma Gandhi perhaps sum up best how we create this experience:

“Your beliefs become your thoughts

Your thoughts become your words

Your words become your actions

Your actions become your habits

Your habits become your values

Your values become your destiny”

The basic beliefs and attitudes we hold were taught to us by all the significant people in our lives. First by our parents, and later by our peers, school system, religion and the media. When what we have been taught gets reinforced through our own experiences in life, we start to create specific thinking patterns that just get stronger and stronger with time.

What we believe will influence what we think and how we perceive the world.  Our perceptions are basically how we receive, process and interpret information. Information is received through the senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste and proprioception, which is the sense that provides us with information about the internal state of the body, like the muscles, skeleton and movement thereof. We then ascribe meaning to this information that is based on our past experiences, our personality, and our needs, motives and interests. This will in turn influence the way we interact with the world through what we say and do. Next we throw expectations into the mix. Our expectations of ourselves, others and situations stem from our beliefs. When our expectations are met we are blissfully happy and content, as the world is functioning in harmony with our belief system, but if not, we often find ourselves in a place of hurt, disappointment and negativity. Our expectations fuel our emotions, and when we get overly emotional we tend to make choices that result in behaviour that is not only impulsive, but often lead to consequences that hurt us.

As we keep on reinforcing the same thought patterns, words we use and things we do, we create habits that become automatic and unconscious. And so we build our value system which leads us to our destiny through the choices we make. If we are not aware of the above, but function in this world by simply reacting to our circumstances, we will feel like victims with limited choices. Yet, if we become aware of how we create our own destiny through what we think, say and do, we can start interacting with our world in a much more meaningful way. Our choices will suddenly become more powerful, as we consider the consequences of our words and actions and how they will create our future.

The consequences of our choices can be described as karma. Everything we do, say or think are like little seeds that we are planting and watering, that, when grown, yield the fruits of the energy that created them in the first place. Karma is the universal law of cause and effect that helps to create our present reality. It is not punishment or reward. Something that at first glance may look like a tragedy can be a blessing in disguise and vice versa.

One of the best choices we can ever make in life is to engage in Karma Yoga, which is according to BKS Iyengar “the achievement of union with the Supreme Universal Soul through action”. This is the yoga of selfless action or service. Just imagine what life would be like if you first think of giving or serving without expecting anything back. Try this and see how it impacts on your beliefs, thoughts, words, habits, values and ultimately your destiny.

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2 Comments

  1. Yvonne said,

    August 9, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Totally agree with the concept that the consequences of our choices in life define who we are and what we become. In other words Karma as you say. I agree with you on the what we say and do and how that defines us in our future, the choices, thoughts and actions can have far reaching effects in the distance of our lives. The trick I think is to recognise that we are not infallible and that some of the choices we make are not the best for ourselves and for others. But when we recognise this it is how we behave after the fact that defines who we are and thus move forward.

    • dreamlite said,

      August 10, 2011 at 9:36 am

      So true Yvonne. It certainly doesn’t help to beat ourselves up for those ‘less-than-proud choices’ we sometimes make….and we all do. You are right when you say that it is how we behave afterwards that define us. And isn’t it fantastic to realise that we always have new choices we can make? Even if it is hard at times, especially when we aren’t sure if it really is the ‘right’ choice. But that, I guess, is what makes life interesting, dynamic and unpredictable.


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