SPIRITUALITY OF THOUGHTS, FEELINGS AND BEHAVIOR
By Rev. Dr. Arthur Chang
There is a connection between thoughts, feelings or emotion and behavior. While they are not the same, they are complementary components of experience. Thoughts are forms in the mind; they are abstractions. Feelings are our emotional response to what we think is presently occurring in our lives. Behavior is what we do in the world of the five senses. This is the level of actuality or reality.
Life needs all three but it is lived fully at the level of behavior. Jesus underscored the value of behavior in the following parable of the man who had two sons.
“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’
“‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
“Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.
“Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered. (Matthew 21:28-31)
Whatever we may think otherwise, what we do is experienced in the world as our actuality. The famer must sow the seeds of what he wishes to grow. The individual must take care of her body to maximize her health and vitality as well as her longevity. The student may study a profession but, ultimately, the purpose is to practice at a particular career. The sun is not an idea in our minds, it is an actual entity in the sky and its energy, shared with the Earth, is vital for the survival of life.
To be dreamers is important; however, even more important is to work at making our dreams our everyday reality.
Similarly, prayer is a supplement, not a substitute for action. If we desire to be more prosperous, merely thinking or praying will not accomplish this. As with any desire, hard work is required. However, when we are motivated by a great purpose, “hard” is neither undesirable nor an obstacle. We gladly put the effort in because we will be inspired, rise up on the wings of love, and transcend the matter of “hard,” and even “impossible.” We will become seemingly miraculous because the Law of Growth makes itself fully available to us, and our doing becomes sheer joy.
Understandably, mystic, poet and Nobel Prize for literature, the Hindu Rabindranath Tagore wrote:
I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and found that life was work.
I worked and found that work was joy.
It will be no different for you, if you go from your thoughts and feelings to action and fulfill your desires.