THE FUNCTION OF THOUGHT
By Rev. Dr. Arthur Chang
Life is a totality. Yet often, humans set up a hierarchy of one thing as more important than another. Hierarchy is useful for countless situations. However, as in the case of, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” hierarchy is not always relevant. Such is the case in dealing with thought and action.
Some may argue that human life is an illusion, that reality is spiritual and eternal. Process Philosophy and Theology would disagree. They will argue that objective life is reality and ideas about life are abstractions, which do not exist without the thinker. How about God? Process thought argues that if there is a cosmology, there must be a God.
Process thought also argues, as quantum science does, that reality comes in droplets, that in an instant reality comes into being and perishes. Our senses are not able to note that constant change and therefore registers a continuous reality that is not actual.
Where is all this leading? It is leading to the question of what comes first, the objective thinker or the abstract thought that we hold about our reality. Whether or not we can agree about the hierarchy of thought and thing, it is clear that changes we make in our lives generally come from thoughts we have about our desires. However, the thought does come from us, the thinker.
The next concern is whether thoughts actually create things. The need to distinguish between a scientific statement and a poetic one is vital. It may be good poetry to say “thoughts are things,” but it is not good science. Can thought take the place of things that must be done? If you need food, water, exercise of sleep, can thought about your needs satisfy these needs?
For the most part, we will discover thought as a supplement, and not a substitute, for action. We need thought to guide us toward amazing things. However, thought needs action for us to achieve these things. The richest people are those who applied their thoughts successfully—not just those who prayed. The healthiest people are those who work at it, with right exercise, diet and rest.
The essentially of thought does not mean all we have to do is think, or pray. There is a wholeness, a totality, of our objective reality that includes thought and action as equal partners--not one without the other.
Jesus’ “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” suggests action is not separate from thought.
How then is thought powerful and healing? Thought will set up the mental and spiritual atmosphere to bring heaven in harmony with earth, thought with action. Furthermore, thought has a direct impact on our bodies for aiding the healing process for ourselves and others. However, the atmosphere, though creative, is not always sufficient. Science, which is action, has its place. Thought will not build our homes, cars, and appliances or make your omelets.
Thought will lead to happiness and better relationships however by allowing us to reflect on the right predisposition toward desirable outcomes. This is something other people will feel and respond to positively.
Thought, for the most part, is intimately related to action without the need to declare one as more important than the other. Thought may not be magical, but in the creative process of life, it is miraculous when married to action.