What Do You Think?

I always know when I’m starting to get into the Christmas spirit when I feel the urge to purge. Every year I kick off the holidays, around mid-October, by cleaning out my closets and cabinets. Getting rid of the dust and dirt, and anything that is just plain clutter. Oh, I know that nobody who comes into my house notices the difference, but I do. And it makes me feel good–like my house is truly in order.

In thinking about what I could do this lent to put my spiritual house in order, I realized I could do some purging of the part of myself nobody sees: my thoughts. It didn’t start out that way though. It started when I decided not to speak one word of criticism about any other person. Not one! I don’t go in for gossip, and I don’t consider myself a judgmental person (although I’m sure there are those who would disagree), but not one critical word about anybody? Well, I’ll admit that’s going to be tough.

Then I realized what I really needed to do was change my way of thinking. That’s where everything begins, isn’t it?–with thought. Nice words, hurtful words, right actions, wrong actions–all take root in the mind, in what and how we think. There’s an old saying, “You are what you eat.” I believe in a very real sense, we are what we think. Our thoughts, our minds, control our actions. So our first job is to take control of our thoughts. It’s not easy, and it takes effort and practice. If you want to see how you do, monitor how you react to others driving home in rush hour traffic, or try to resolve an issue with a bank, or an insurance company. Yeah, it’s no piece of cake. Am I up to the challenge? I’ll let you know after Easter.

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