"AS YOU THINK, SO YOU BECOME"
One becomes just like the One he
serves (as one thinks, so he becomes). ||4|| (sggs 223).
Since our life is shaped by our minds, what we think, that we become. As the mind is nothing but thoughts-stuff, whatever is in one's mind will reflect in his words. In turn, words manifest as actions ("Karnee"); actions form habits; and habits solidify in character. Thus, thoughts processed in our head ultimately become manifest in our face, our speech, our body and our overall attitude. Simply stated, what we consistently cultivate in our minds determines our character-formation, and our destiny. For that reason, if a person wants to change the character-formation in him, he can do so by consistently changing his thoughts. Thus goes the proverbial expression: "Man is the architect of his destiny".
Clearly, our thoughts have great power over our life. This statement — as you think, so you become — which all the wise ones agree on, is at the core of true understanding as to how our thinking affects who we are. It also highlights the connection between what we think and what we ultimately become. For example, eternal Joy (Anand) follows pure thoughts as dust particles follow the wind. So too evil and suffering follow evil thoughts as the shadow follows the body. Clearly, all that we are is the result of what we have thought — like intention, like becoming. Our inflated ego may not like it, but this is the unshakable reality. Also, as our lives are interwoven with the thread of One all-pervasive Spirit, the influence of our daily actions and behavior spreads in ever-widening circles.
Because we exist in the ego-mind, the majority of us have entire life of wrong thinking. On the unsteady base of conditioned mind we perform all our activities. Due to inattention to the core of our true Being within, we are only aware of thinking, feeling and doing. But we are not aware of our Mool (Source, Origin, Jot...). Whatever is happening in life is a direct result of the mentality we have cultivated and the choices we have made in the past.
The Gurbani (also other Indian scriptures) compares this life to a field ("Khet"), in which our Karma is the seed. We harvest exactly what we sow. So we have no one else to blame for the way we live at the present moment but ourselves. If our life is one of mental distress and unenlightened existence (Manmukh or material lifestyle), it is because we have sown the seed of foolishness, selfishness or ignorance. To the contrary, if we live a life of eternal Peace or Happiness, it is because we have sown the seed of Bliss (Gurmukh or spiritual lifestyle). We are the only one who possess the choice and authority to determine which type of seeds to sow. God has given us the freedom to choose.
Therefore, whether we like it or not, our situations in life are self-construct — construction of a confused head and a disturbed heart.
Simply put, Mayaic thoughts bind us and thoughts set us free. That is, he who considers himself free becomes free and he who thinks he is bound remains bound. All suffering is of the psychological ego-mind. Our Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...), being transcendental, is not tainted by the worldly sorrows, fear, and any feelings of inferiority or inadequacy.
There are both positive thoughts and negative thoughts. To act in positive thoughts increase truth, and to act in negative thoughts increase falsehood and delusion. Negative thoughts (or seeds) are evil, which are devoid of the sense of true love and well-being of all. These thoughts fill us with ignorance, evil passions (desires and fears, anger, greed, attachment, pride, enviousness, stubborn mindedness), obsession, suffering, doubts, corruption, selfishness, hatred, cruelty, hypocrisy, cynicism, untruthfulness, quarrel, "I-am-ness", anxiety, worry, the feeling of like and dislike, and so on. These negative seeds become obstacles on the path of love and righteousness in this world. Also, they sap our vital energy and inhibit us from accessing our intuitive intelligence and real Mool within.
Positive thoughts (or seeds) are those pure thoughts which demand the well-being of all. These thoughts fill us with love, wisdom, selflessness, goodwill, trust, harmony, truthful living, righteousness, faith, happiness, peace, joy, cooperation, forgiveness, straightforwardness, kindness, cheerfulness, contentment, unpretentiousness, nonviolence, patience, steadfastness, self-control, realization of misery in birth and death, detachment, alertness, awakening, evenness of mind in favorable and unfavorable situations, " ਚੜ੍ਹਦੀ ਕਲਾ - Charradee Kalaa", etc. If we plant positive seeds in our minds, they will enable us to be close to our true Being; resulting in right lifestyle. To walk on the path of Truth in this world is liberation (Mukti).
The modern day life is such that we hardly have time or enthusiasm to remember to be positive, virtuous, humble, good, tolerant, forgiving or kind in our dealings with other human beings. In the process, we have no patience to observe and understand "what we really are". Closing our eyes to such day-to-day lifestyle that is governed by reactions and whims (false ego regime), we dream of reaching somewhere. Along the way, we measure our progress by "name and gain". But when it comes to spirituality, we often stand puzzled, since spiritual unfoldment cannot be measured or weighted against our material success.
Artificial and unnatural ways of thinking and acting create complications in life, resulting in undue confusions, conflicts, hang-ups and mental sorrows. Such negative seeds beget bondage to the world of objects. In truth, any thinking of the phenomenal world is thinking of ego-mind-senses-illusion. In turn, this type of thinking that is based on subject-object relationship, reinforces body identity. Since names and forms conceal the Truth, any identification is simply misidentification!
Thinking in body-consciousness is movement, which creates selfish desires and fears, prompting us for pretending and misdeeds. As the ego-mind is unreal, so are the objects of desires. Mind's this imagination is called Maya that never ends, and never exists. Consider the analogy of ocean and wave. Before the wave arises it is the ocean. Similarly, before the mind arises — illusion, Maya, world-appearance, play (Leelaa), etc. — it is the Ocean of Pure Awareness or "Joti-Svaroopa". As under every wave is one ocean, under every name and appearance is This Substratum, the Timelessness ("Akaal Purukh"). When we think through the ego-mind, we are a person, an object, a notion, a body or some other modification, but not the true Being.
In nutshell, competing on the bodily field are two opposing forces: discriminative intelligence (Bibek Budhi) and the sense-conscious mind. The wicked impulsive mental and material tendencies are the offspring of the sense-blind mind. On the other hand, the Soul's Pure Virtues are the offspring of the discriminative intelligence. The battle field of these contending forces is the human body with its physical, mental, and Soul-faculties; the field on which all actions of an individual take place. On this battlefield, the war is waged between the soldiers of the Soul's Pure Nature and the uncontrolled activities of the ignoble, wisdom-blind mind. Thus, every moment in one's life, there is a Spiritual and psychological battle going on between the Soul-nature and the sense-infatuated mind under the delusive influence of the false ego-sense.
How can we change negative thinking, ideas, wicked tendencies or concepts? Choosing the right thought process is just what we need. But it is easier said than done. Although the choice is ours but to have that right choice, we need practice, correct self-efforts, earnestness, willingness, right thinking strategy, and a high degree of self-awareness.
Inner Simplicity, which is the absence of psychological construct self-image, is necessary. With inner Simplicity comes a natural integration of emotional, intellectual and physical layers of one's personality. The scriptures tell us that by consistently cultivating good thoughts, we can change the character-formation in us. By aligning our thinking with the Pure Consciousness within, we can chose not to sow the seeds of ignorance or foolishness. In other words, by constantly identifying with the Mool within (Source, Origin, Jot...), one can manifest his spiritual nature. In spiritual seeds there is no phenomena. Such a shift in focus can be brought about only when the body-consciousness is transcended. To this end, selflessness coupled with piety is the powerful tool to transcend the body identity. In essence, the combination of selflessness and piety is same as accepting "Hukam" or God's Will. When the mind is fully focused on "Hukam", there is no Mayaic Karma.
As we know it, the mind is always engaged in thinking, planning, feeling, inquiring, desiring or fearing. With the aid of witnessing the mind or subjective introspection one can find what his mind is up to at a particular moment. Such impartial self-analysis can be performed throughout a day. Also, every night, prior to retiring, one can sit in a calm place and ask his intuition whether his spiritual faculties or his physical inclinations of temptation won the day's battle between Good and bad tendencies. The idea is to turn the mind inside, then concentrate all its powers and throw them upon the mind itself so that it may realize its Unconditioned State. Each such practice would increase one's victories over the deluded mind, and lessen its bewilderment.
Another sure nail in the coffin of wrong thinking is to give up all doubts and negativity. Doubts and negativity poison everything. Wise ones point out that a snake can kill you once but doubts can kill you again and again! Shabad-Vichaar helps remove doubts by finding out who we really are. Without knowing who we are, dormant tendencies will keep rising as manifest thoughts; poisoning our mind, society, world, and so on. Therefore, if one must think, the Gurbani asks him to think of his godly status. Or best is to simply know "I am That: Joti-Svaroopa".
The spiritual lifestyle is the journey into the "Now" — to be fully aware in this very moment about our essential Identity as Pure Awareness ( "Joti-Svaroopa") that existed before the demon mind-ego arose. So the key is to start spiritual discipline right "here" and "Now" and change the way in which we see ourselves. This may lead to the following question: does living in the present moment mean there is no room for imagination, visions or plans? Thinking is an autonomous process. In fact, the very nature of the mind is to keep creating the past and the future. So the important point to understand here is that we should not allow any thought to enter into the mind that is contrary to the Divine Word or Teaching (Gurmat). Therefore, the Gurbani challenges us to disassociate from our demon mind-ego "Now", responding to the reality at hand. As a result, our psyche will quietly undergo a change — there will be more clarity in our thinking and vision, more patient and calmness in our feeling, and more purity in our conduct and behavior.
The ultimate Truth as revealed by the Gur-Shabad indicates that man's spiritual Identity ("Joti-Svaroopa") is safely stored within, but the key to unlocking it is hidden in the mess of his wrong thinking. Every negative seed, thought, notion, concept or action is like entering the wrong key. When no sincere effort is made to check and correct the way we live, then our spiritual nature remains locked and thus inaccessible. Consequently, before the body falls, we never realize in us the Cosmic Man: the Gurmukh.
— T. Singh
Page modified: Saturday, May 25, 2013 1:07 PM (PST)
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