“For as he thinks within himself, so is he.”
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
Mindfulness. Means staying aware of our thoughts, emotions and even our body. More importantly, implies we can choose what we let in. What we keep out. What we ponder. What we search for to reflect on and notice. Becomes a habit, like breathing in and out.
Most importantly, you have the capacity to keep in focus good things in your life. Moment by moment. You can fill your mind up with thoughts, feelings and emotions you choose. By choice you bring into your heart and soul an ongoing awareness of the light in your life and even the darkness. Like opening a doorway into your own spirit, you can invite solid, promising beliefs and perspectives into the day. The hour. Even the minute.
Take a moment and imagine experiencing all the blessings that come from above moment by moment and having these affect how you love, how you reach out and how you behave. Picture a door to your soul that opens and closes with you in charge. Beyond the door you see a vast open space filled with wispy ghost-like images, each one representing a virtue, a blessing, a thought waiting to sweep into your waiting spirit. You let them in and they feel good, right, and powerful.
Imagine you fill each moment of each day with a contemplative awareness of bringing light and love into the life of your soul-mate, your spouse, your children, your friends and even the stranger. What a difference that would make. The capacity to make a difference starts in the mind and heart. Exudes into the fabric of all your relationships. And changes everything.
A Long Time Ago
I remember once my father telling me, in preparation for a High School debate, that when it comes to the news, “No news is good news.” His point was that the news tended to focus on the bad things, seldom the good.
I think somewhere he was telling me what to let in and what to keep out. Too indirectly to sink in much. Although I have to admit, I still remember it to this day. My father seldom helped me with school, and so I also think back to this one event where he stepped in and made a statement about life, about the mind and when to be careful. Maybe somewhere in side he hoped to teach me a lesson that might make a future difference.
I would love to go back and have more conversations about the heart and mind and what he thought represented a good way to think about life, what to attempt to store in my memory banks for future use – to make wise choices.
My maternal grandmother took this kind of thinking to heart. She taught me early on that Jesus comes into a man’s heart when he requests His presence – after admitting his total need for him to solve sin and the wayward steps he takes in life.
To this day, I find it hard to believe the Spirit lives within me. But I’m trying to get closer to my own appreciation of God in me. I like to focus on what it would be like if His residence in my heart were taken more and more seriously. What would I have to give up and what would I gain? And what’s the cost of ignoring Him in the daily happenings I face?
When I think of our power as men where we stand tall, feel confident and know why we’re here on earth – whether discussing courage, wise choices, loving others and even success – I believe that our progress and even our peace, depend on a fresh look at what we pay attention to in the moments that occupy our immediate focus. If we dwell on the nature and experience of love and believe it comes from our own heart and not just something we feel when someone loves us back – then we can also begin to wonder how to speak from love, think from love and share it with others. Love in some way becomes everything.
I can’t help but ponder what my life would have been like if my dad had taught me early on to guard my heart, how to train my brain to reflect on what I let in and what I dismiss and then how to take the positives I dwell on to grow my life.
Ultimately what we focus on the most, defines us. Much can go into the heart. And it’s all potentially life changing.