Maybe you’re familiar with the following quote. To this day, I haven’t been able to attribute it properly, but that’s beside the point (look at me getting off topic right off the bat!)
WATCH YOUR THOUGHTS
FOR THEY BECOME WORDS
WATCH YOUR WORDS
FOR THEY BECOME ACTIONS
WATCH YOUR ACTIONS
FOR THEY BECOME HABITS
WATCH YOUR HABITS
FOR THEY BECOME CHARACTER
WATCH YOUR CHARACTER
FOR IT BECOMES YOUR DESTINY
I recently saw a sarcastic listicle decrying this quote, and it got me thinking. I’ve personally always been fond of it, but I can see how people could find it sanctimonious.
It’s true, isn’t it? If we read the above through the lens of judgment, it certainly doesn’t leave us with a good taste in our mouth. I know that, keeping the judgment perspective, I get the impetus to rebel against it—Why do you care about my thoughts? Get the f*** out of my head!
But what if that’s simply the wrong way to take it?
What if it wasn’t about judgement, but about awareness? Are you systematically aware of your thoughts?
A CASE FOR MINDFULNESS
I think the concept we have of mindfulness is a lot more complicated, a lot more contrived than what it really is. Mindfulness isn’t reserved for the chosen few. It’s certainly not about perfect thoughts either. It’s simply—and I use this word quite purposefully—about developing our awareness.
If you look at the definition of mindfulness, it’s pretty straightforward:
1) the state or quality of being mindful or aware of something
2) a technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them.
Mindfulness doesn’t imply that there’s a good or a bad way to think and feel in any given situation. It only beckons us to pay more attention.
Noticing isn’t judging. Awareness can and should be neutral. For a true mindfulness practice to take hold, self-compassion needs to be firmly present as well.
MANTRAS AND PRACTICES AND PHILOSOPHIES, OH MY!
But back to the original quote: if our thoughts are the lens through which we view the world, it goes to follow that our way of expressing ourselves in this world will be coloured by that lens.
In turn, the mantras that we create through our thoughts and our words—because that’s essentially what they are—have a tremendous impact on how we behave ourselves.
These behaviours, when repeated time and time again are nothing other than practices. Whether these practices are detrimental or beneficial is really up to us.
We can choose to cultivate love, abundance, trust and ease. We can also just as easily cultivate fear, scarcity and doubt.
Does choosing one over the other make us good or bad? Actually, no. It doesn’t. Either is, in fact, a valid life philosophy.
Do these philosophies bring us joy? Well, that’s the crux of the question, now, isn’t it?
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