We are what we think. Is this so?
What difference does our thought process make? What does being a person of faith have to do with it? What about free will and what about right thinking and what about shoulds and shame and what about choices and intentions? And what about the Holy in the midst of it all?
Here’s what I think. I’m echoing the teachings of the desert mothers and fathers and I’m echoing the teachings of contemporary and long gone teachers of all faiths and I’m echoing the wisdom of many who share community with me at church.
What we choose to think matters. We are the pilot of our thoughts. We assent to the negative ones: We can follow them down the same grooved paths that lead to worry or bitterness or despair or any of the other obsessions that can cramp our souls.
Or we can choose to redirect the well-worn paths that lead us to nowhere. We can choose to gently reroute our negative grooves by paying attention to them when we start down that path. Noticing them and following them to greater knowing of ourselves and then; choosing a different course. A course that leads us to a gentler, grace filled place where there is room for sunlight.
We see it all the time in others, don’t we? Some people seem obsessed with the ways the world has wronged or cheated them. They pounce on the offenses and pick at them and get energy from rehearsing them over and over and over again and spilling them out into their interactions with the world and while that rehearsal is going on the performance that is life right now is playing out without their whole presence.
I see it in others and I know too that I have been that person. Haven’t you?
The wisdom teachings of all faiths tell us that fixing our attention upon gratitude and trusting that all things have lessons for us and knowing that in the midst of the most gnarly and ripping of pain we are partnered with the Holy; these choices of thought lead to soul stretch and health and serenity.
So paying attention to what we choose to hold in our heads, what we choose to allow to gain purchase in our bodies, what we choose to ground our lives upon: These things matter.
What matters too is that the reach of God toward us throughout time is a reach not of retribution but of grace, love, and enfolding.
We are what we believe. We are what we think. We are what we practice. We are.
May we choose the expansion that is love and light. It matters in the sacred gift that is our being, and in the impossibly pregnant gift that is the community of God.