3. Thought Selection
IF one goes to market to buy the materials for a good dinner, he will carefully choose things of a superior quality. Not only the enjoyment of the meal but its nourishing qualities depend upon the right selection. One will go into detail as to the different cuts—if he be a meat eater—and note the species, soundness, and ripeness of the vegetables and fruits.
Who wants to eat decayed meat or un-soundvegetables?
We value our bodies, and strive to supply them with food which is favorable to health, and easily digestible. While the right combination for a good dinner is desirable, the quality of the finer and more complex food for the mind is of far greater importance.
Dyspepsia of the stomach is bad enough, but mental and moral indigestion is much more serious and persistent, and often brings the first-named disorder in its train. The mind can be stuffed, starved, or poisoned as truly as the body.
Feed a boy upon nickel or dime novel thoughts, and if he does not provide himself with pistol and knife, and seek adventures, he will, at least, have strong impulses in that direction. If the seductive doses are continued he will grow into a bundle of living disorderly forces. If he devour tragedy he will become tragic inside, and some of it will break through the crust of restraint upon small provocation. On account of bad feeding there is often a seething mass of uncivilized impulses which are only hidden by a thin civilized veneer.
Mental hunger is insistent and will have food, be the same good, bad, or indifferent. It is generally made up of negative and fugitive thoughts.
Every thought is a force, and if our vision were keen enough we could, perhaps, see them thick in the mental atmosphere which surrounds us, and distinguish their quality.
Thought selection is not only important in character and action, but its influence permeates the body and regulates or affects every physical function. Sickly, evil, or angry thoughts tend to natural expression in a sickly body. Fear and depression also pull down and weaken. The process is not rapid, and so we do not ordinarily trace the connection. A “fit of the blues” will cause indigestion, and the latter sensation will react upon the former and intensify the color, but it was wrong thinking that caused them both. The blues with their whole uncanny brood never come unless they have been invited.
The condition of the present is always the natural outcome of the past. It is absnrd to blame chance, and still more so to call it divinely sent. It is vastly better to own up and admit that we did it with our “little hatchet”—thought.
We have a kind of thought reservoir in which are stored all the mental impressions of our past life. Though they may have passed out of memory, each forms a part of what we are today. Under some unusual conditions, and especially in the case of persons who are in process of drowning, all the details of past thinking are flashed like lightning before the consciousness. Because thought is creative, great care should be taken in its regulation. In a chemical mixture every drop modifies the compound, and so every thought adds its sweetness or bitterness to the life and character.
As the letters and words of a book are formed and arranged to express the ideas contained in it, so by a law that knows no exception, the body becomes “a living epistle known and read of all men.”
How wonderfully complicated is every mind, and its body is an exact correspondence. Every detail of the unseen part is seeking to reflect itself in the physical features and organs of every degree.
We are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Rather we are constantly making ourselves, and this is what makes our responsibility fearful and wonderful.
Everyone is suffering from the mistaken depressions and inharmonies of the past. We cannot wholly change at once, but we can begin to look upon the bright side of things, and so fill the mind with cheerful affirmations and aspirations, that pessimistic thoughts will find no standing-room.
Everything around us takes on the aspect with which we have clothed it by our thought.
The mind has its sunny rooms, and also apartments of gloom and antagonism. It is a great mistake to think that you must live in the letter of everything as it comes. Choose your own company and abiding-place.
As the sculptor skilfully wields his chisel to release a beautiful statue which lies imprisoned in a block of marble, so your symmetrical thought may gradually mould an expression which is divinely fair.
Select thoughts of harmony, love, cheer, good-will, health, purity, and beauty, and just in proportion as you hold them they will displace and crowd out their opposites. You thus command the situation if you will. But “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
The real world in which one lives is his thought-world, and not the mere things that are about him. Just think of creating your own world!