In a recent conversation someone mentioned a minister of religion who never talked of religion but instead talked only of politics. I am reminded of those sports fanatics who really want to talk only about golf or football. Jesus said, 'For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.' Whatever we say or do each day is really only the manifestation of our thoughts made concrete. What we think about is important, the thoughts we entertain, and the thoughts that become the focus of our mind are the thoughts that we allow to inform our view of the world. As individuals we are ultimately responsible for the judgements we make and the actions we take. As Shakespeare wrote, 'There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.'
In Jordan Peterson's best-selling book, 12 Rules for Life, he advises that we should only say and do things things that make us strong. Therefore, I think it must follow that we should begin then with only thinking about those things that make us strong. The mind itself is constantly buzzing away with our thoughts, it was once described as 'the cocktail party inside the head'. When we bring ourselves to an awareness of this, we can listen to our own chattering thoughts.
This brings me to the story of a Zen student monk who complained that his studies were too onerous and that he had too much to do. The abbot listened sympathetically and then asked if the student could do just one thing. 'Oh, I can do just one thing', the student replied enthusiastically. 'Well then, just watch your mind', said the abbot.
We could say that we have to learn to maintain the garden of the mind by not allowing harmful or negative thoughts to take root and to grow there. Deciding that we want to live for good and not for bad, we must focus on our life's purpose. We must uproot the useless weeds that try to choke the flower of our intention. Instead we must cultivate the virtues of principle, love and service to others, remembering the adage from the book of Proverbs: 'For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.'
My best wishes as always,