Thursday, July 21, 2011

Why Thoughts Matter So Much

Found in Twitter stream, this morning:

What we think or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only thing of consequence is what we do.~John Ruskin

I had to respond with a vehement no:

What we think has big influence on state of our mind and happiness, regardless of followed or not by actions.

Case in point, as I watched earlier the effect of a few unwholesome thoughts on my overall state. Mind darkening, stomach constricting, and increased unpleasantness. Each contributing to unnecessary suffering.

And why, it is so important to guard the mind, and clean it up whenever the hateful or angry thoughts sneak in:

Found a few unwholesome thoughts upon waking up - putting a halt and replacing instead with wise ones, taking care of mind.

Oh! the happiness of a purified mind . . .


  1. I completely agree. Thoughts are actions when we "think" them but perhaps less so when they drift into our mind and we allow them to drift out again, as in zazen. Brings to mind the native story about two dogs fighting inside me. Which one wins? The one I feed. I need to keep practicing releasing unhelpful thoughts before they latch onto me or I latch onto them.

  2. Attitude is everything, a beginning to a purified mind which often sounds impossible. Start small... like you said, first wake with love for yourself, later when driving, dealing with phone representatives or with family bring kindness. That's I am trying to do, but one falls off. So I take 5 and collect.

  3. Yes, David there are two ways to deal with this. Unhinge oneself from thinking mind, and also willfully purify the mind, replacing unwholesome thoughts with wholesome ones. The latter, especially good when faced with hindrances. Cognitive therapy is only a canned version of a small part of 2500 year old teachings :)

  4. Was Once, I agree with you. I find guarding the mind quite a task. The old ways keep on creeping in . . . Hence the need for sustained practice! That mind of ours is so sneaky!

  5. Without thoughts there are no actions. Every action begins with a habitual conceptualization. We automatically identify Self and Object, make some arbitrary assessment of like, dislike or indifference, then decide how to act. This all happens in a fraction of an instant, a moment that lasts no time at all. In this way, we create our reality moment by moment. That is how powerful and important thoughts are. tragic (and comic) samsara is!

  6. Thank you Chris for helping see the movie in our mind in slow motion . . . yes, small invisible thoughts with potentially huge consequences, for ourselves, and the world.