Consider these two statements, first from James Allen:
“Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armoury of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself; he also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace. By the right choice and true application of thought, man ascends to the Divine Perfection; by the abuse and wrong application of thought, he descends below the level of the beast. Between these two extremes are all the grades of character, and man is their maker and master.” – James Allen, As A Man Thinketh, p. 8
Second from Siddhartha:
“As easy as it was for him to talk to everyone, to that very extent there was something that separated him from these people, this was clear to him. And this thing that set him apart was his being a shramana. He saw people going through their lives in the manner of a child or animal, and he both loved and disdained this at the same time. He saw them striving – and suffering and getting gray – over things that seemed to him completely unworthy of this price: over money, over small pleasures, over a little respect.” – Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha, p. 71
We spend so much time creating or own roadblocks using the ‘weapons’ referred to above and the result is us striving over things that are unworthy of the price. Looking outside of ourselves to find value in our lives. We have the ability to create that wealth within ourselves if we take the time to notice the habits we get into and what we tell ourselves.
I’m guilty of this myself. Every day. There isn’t a day go by where there aren’t moments where doubt creeps in, all self-imposed. Sharpening my own knife seems to be a habit as of yet unbroken. The truth is that we all strive for something and Siddhartha reminds us that most of this stuff just doesn’t matter. All of this doubt created in my own mind as I strive for something.
What I’ve taken from this is that it’s important to step back and remind ourselves what is truly important. Siddhartha showed he was content with nothing and everything and the ideal set out by Buddhist thoughts is that we exist in a world surrounded by so much and yet contain everything we need inside of ourselves.
- Consider the five things in your mind right now that you are seeing day after day. What is the sum total of those thoughts and are they positive or negative? Do you recognise that you are truly the creator of these thoughts?
- You’ve identified these thoughts; what is the driver behind them. Are you concerned about money, friendship, a relationship that you are then creating these thoughts? Ask yourself whether the importance of these things you are focused on is enough to affect your own well-being. On the flip side then, consider whether there is an equally important but opposite way of thinking. For me, doubt. What is doubt then if not a motivating force in my life. I take the seed of doubt and hold it in my mind realising that when doubt arises I’m going in the right direction. Doubt isn’t a seed to hold me back but rather fuel.
It’s a powerful feeling to recognise, and then going further and truly believing, that we are creating all of the thoughts that propel us forward in this life. Choice. Our ability to choose and decide is always our friend, as I’ve talked about before.
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