Three key stepping stones to success in life. Thoughts, words and emotions.
Words we speak form an audible link between our thoughts and actions. Words may be compared to the clothing we wear, thoughts the underlying skin and actions with the pattern and coloring of clothing. While clothing may look appealing, it may not always protect the wearer from harsh weather, similarly, our actions may be praised by the world but when they run contrary to our conscience it creates an uneasy climate in the mind. Harsh words, like uncomfortable clothing, also create discomfort. Just as the fashion industry is challenged by getting the style, color, fit and comfort just right and keeping up with the trend, in the mind, we are constantly challenged by new trends. When thoughts we identify with are out of place or don’t fit the circumstance, we wear a mind that may be “out of fashion” for the situation at hand. Thoughts, words, and actions do not necessarily follow in sequence although that may be the logical progression. Even though we hide most of our thoughts from the world, emotions underpinning thoughts tend to leak out through our words and actions. Emotions form the basis for meaningful human interactions, while words are mediators. The right words may create opportunities, but only when the right emotions go along with those words do we taste lasting success.
When our speech does not accurately reflect deeper motives, some of which even the speaker may be unaware of, a division happens within. Good intentions coupled with bad words or pleasant talk coupled with bad intentions are two scenarios where such a split may happen. Our thoughts and intentions may be compared to a river’s invisible current, our words are like flowing water and our actions correspond to how that water is utilized. Just as a river cutting across a valley divides it into two halves, our thoughts, words, and actions divide the inner self from the world.
When our thoughts and/or words are unpleasant, inner awareness cannot safely cross the treacherous waters of the mind to unite with the world. Every time we indulge in unpleasant thoughts, the energy behind those thoughts and words blocks free flowing awareness. Similarly, our words and actions may also create barriers. Like a heavily fortified border between two countries at odds with one another, this internal barrier created by our thoughts and the external barrier that forms through our words and actions divide “us” from the world and consequently lasting peace both internally and externally becomes virtually impossible. Our experiences are projected on barriers created by our thoughts, words, and action, and the world is interpreted with that as the backdrop. Once we identify with a thought it is hard to disown it, just as we cannot peel away our skin. However, just as the body constantly sheds skin cells, thoughts are also continuously jettisoned from our conscious mind.
By nature, mind is a contaminated place, every time we consciously like or dislike a thought the inner space gets contaminated. We are the architects and builders of our mind. Just as a prison or a temple of worship can be built out of bricks baked in the same kiln, everyone has access to the same subtle energy substrate that fuels the mind. What is housed within the mind as our personality is patterned over time through our thoughts, actions, and words. At birth, the mind is clothed in purity which manifests as an infant’s innocent smile. Thoughts function as paintbrushes that use the ink of “identification”. Through thoughts and our identification with them, the paintbrush and ink respectively, the mind becomes covered with the colors, shades, and patterns of our likes and dislikes. The mind becomes a colorful robe and the physical body turns into an obliging mannequin displaying the various hues of the mind.
Every word we utter has a corresponding emotional signature attached to it. Thoughts create background noise in the mind, easily distracting our awareness from emotions that may filter out through our words. By not paying attention to those waves of emotion leaking out, we lose precious opportunities to emphasize good emotions such as love. On the contrary, if emotions are negative such as anger, we quickly lose what may be the only chance to mute our speech before anger spews out through our words and actions causing irreparable damage. Like fresh water that assumes the color of dirt that it is mixed with, the innocence of pure love quickly gets degraded when it encounters impressions in the mind.
While mind can be a noisy place, the heart is a quiet area. Just as the silence in a public library can easily be disturbed with a little sound, peace, and bliss enjoyed in the silence of one’s heart can quickly be disrupted by the noisy mind. Like a busy marketplace where sounds cannot be dampened by one person’s silence, the heart is no match for thousands of bustling thoughts that transact within the mind every day. The heart may be compared to a perfectly still lake in which a small pebble can create gently ripples that travel far in all directions. The mind, in contrast, is like a rough river in which a boulder may fall and not create perceptible ripples amid the already churning waters.
The emotional amplitude of sounds we create through our vocal cords may be influenced by the mind, the heart or the deeper stillness that lies beyond the two. Energy reflective of either the mind or the heart reaches the world through our words and actions. To have the experience lasting peace in the world, it must first be discovered within. The road to lasting peace cuts through a thick forest of emotions in the mind. Emotions of the mind carried through our words can easily divide families, communities, nations and even the world. Just as testing a sample of blood gives an indication of the health of a person, our words are a general indicator of our emotional health. When words reflect inner anger, the mind becomes hot and the heart turns cold. The net result is an emotional illness. On the contrary, when words reflect the love we feel for others, the heart warms up and with that, the mind cools and we regain emotional wellness.
When awareness is pinned to the mind, which inevitably rotates through dark and light phases, pain and pleasure are felt. Like the moon, the mind is a passive reflector. When the energy of the heart is fully reflected, the mind is barely felt. But when the emotional cord with the heart is cut, the mind becomes heavy and dark. The inner space is lit by the artificial light of our desires. The words “want” or a “don’t want” carry the weight of every desire, however insignificant, and these words keep us bound to the energetic orbit of the mind.
Words which link our awareness with the heart’s quality of unconditional love are acceptance and contentment, which are gates through which we open up to both the inner self and the outer world. By being content with what we have and accepting the world as is, it becomes easy to experience oneness everywhere. Love freely flows from inner acceptance to the outer world just as a river easily flows from high mountains to the low plains. Like the source of a river which does not dry up as the river merges with the sea, love does not evaporate when shared with others. The energies associated with acceptance and contentment when reflected in our words and speech do not gush out but fall gently on the listener's ears like measured drops of dew from a flower. Words can cut sharply when the mind speaks, but when the heart sings good emotions glue thoughts and actions together. The world will gladly play host to lasting peace when everyone wears the same emotional uniform, representing the heart.