I’ve been thinking a lot about the absence of positive thoughts in the world today. I know everyone is obsessed with this pandemic, and that is a good thing. A lot of lives are at stake and it’s only right that we give a great deal of attention and effort to seeing that as few people suffer because of the pandemic as possible. That being said, there are other things going on and we cannot give up on living just because there is one major glitch in our life.
You don’t have to be religious to appreciate that the things you think about are the things that make you into who you are. Yeah, there is a verse in the Bible that says that, but there are a lot of other people and sources that have said the same.
We all can find our own inspiration about how to be more positive about ourselves, our world, but there is a simple biblical idea that gives a very brief and yet practical process — after all I’m a big lover of process.
whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.Phillipians 4:8
The thing is, a great many influences around us would really rather have us thinking about negatives, about divisive, about problems and troubles. No one makes any money off of people who are content. People who are upset are people who can be moved, manipulated, controlled.
I said that I’m a “process” guy. I’ve always been fascinated by the “how” part of how things get made. One of the reasons I loved truck driving was that in those days I had the opportunity to get inside factories and businesses and to see how things happened: how manufacturing worked, how distribution worked, etc..
It ought not to be surprising then if I tell you I like to watch TV programs about where things come from. Lately we’ve been watching a series about food manufacturing and one of the episodes followed flour from the truck to the grocery store shelf in the form of Matzoh crackers.
While I’m not Jewish, I learned about Matzoh crackers a long time ago. They are a form of very simple bread containing only flour and water, no leavening or rising agent at all. They are baked under the supervision of Rabbis to insure that they meet the rigid religious requirements of the Jewish religion.
So, during this TV program one of the details that was mentioned is that Matzoh are supposed to be UN-leavened. Leavening is seen by them as a form of impurity, a form of sin, as it were. The supervising Rabbis say that in order to meet the standard the bread has to go from flour to completed product in under 18 minutes.
A few days ago I wrote about having baked my first sourdough loaf at home. I didn’t talk much about the process but sourdough starter is a leavening agent that is made from nothing more than flour and water. The “yeast”-y stuff, the stuff that makes the bread rise into a lovely air-pocket-filled loaf comes strictly from the air. There are little yeast-y thingies floating around in the air all the time. You only need to cultivate it in order to make your own.
That’s the sort of thing that happens in our brains when we don’t make a concerted effort — as if we were baking an unleavened bread — to think about good, positive, powerful things. If we don’t make our brain think about them, something else is going to fill the void. If you aren’t diligent putting good stuff in there, the bad stuff is going to fill you brain without your having to do anything at all.
There is no referee on the sidelines to make sure you aren’t cheating in the game of life. No metaphorical Earth-Mom is forcing you to do good things for the earth. You can be kind, or you can be mean — no one is going to police your attitudes. But if you don’t put good thoughts in your head and in your life then the negatives that are all around — just like the “yeasties” in the air — are going to settle down into the dough of your life and you’re going to have a different life than you expected.