We Become Like Our Most Predominant Thoughts

by Clark Roush, Ph.D.

Solitude’s solace is essential to helping purge the mind of things that do not belong there. Our mental and aural filters are assaulted all day by things others say are important. It is perilously easy to slip into the “tyranny of the urgent.” There are lyrics to an old Debbie Boone song that go, “Did you give yourself to busy-ness, and never question why?” This is a remarkably salient question! I believe it is possible to wind up somewhere unintended, and not know exactly how one arrived, or the best way back. In order to keep balance and clarity, it is essential that we examine what it is we think about.

Tennyson offers this suggestion: “Guard your roving thoughts with a jealous care, for speech is but the dialer of thoughts, and every fool can plainly read in your words what is the hour of your thoughts.” I believe a similar senitment is voiced in the following Philippian instruction: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (Phil. 4:8) This leads me to conclude that what we think about is indeed of prime importance.

An anchor from leadership studies is: “We become like our most predominant thoughts.” If we accept this premise, it should be imperative that we scrutinize what it is we spend our time thinking about. If we are going to morph in the direction of our reflections, shouldn’t we spend sufficient time insuring that we are contemplating the correct things?

This world will not necessarily assail us with the most desirable venues for deliberation. That is why we must seek quiet solitude – in order to access our mental processes and delete the bugs we find in our programming. They slip in simply, and often undetected; hence, we must be resolute in our attempts to focus on things that will help, not hinder; empower, not enslave; free, not frighten; and inspire, not incite.

If this were easy, we would all do more of it. This is the challenge for us – plan regular periods of refuge and reflection. See what is going on in your mind. Is it what should be? If not, what can I do about it? How am I being shaped by what I think about? What are the predominant issues that ruminate in my head and heart?

I believe it is paramount for us to make this a priority in our lives. We will all wind up “somewhere,” and it makes sense to me to want to insure that we wind up where we intend. Searching in solitude seems to be effectual in our attempts to make our cerebral wiring what the Father would have it be.

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