Thoughtfulness – A gateway drug? (Part One)
“Thoughtfulness is the gateway to truth”
No pun intended, but I can’t stop thinking about this concept. I first heard it during my morning yoga practice a few days ago (thanks, Adriene) and have really been grappling with what it means.
At first glance, my gut tells me it means a little something like this: When we’re truly thoughtful, truly intentional (another buzzword I want to write about) with our actions, and when we see people for who they are and how we can help them, our inner truth is revealed.
We are better able to understand ourselves when we understand others, and thoughtfulness is the path. In this situation, empathy and thoughtfulness are almost synonymous. Therefore, this concoction of empathy/thoughtfulness can lead us to truth because it empowers us to partake in peaceful discussions and understand diverse perspectives.
In my humble observation, our world seems dehydrated of the empathetic side of thoughtfulness and saturated in individual feeling and thought. Thoughtfulness no longer means discerning facts; it means understanding our own individual feelings and responding accordingly.
After this visceral explanation, it’s time to practice what I preach. In other words, it’s time for RESEARCH (one of my favorite things)!
Let’s start with a definition. Not so coincidentally, there are two definitions for “thoughtfulness”:
1) The state of being absorbed in thought AND 2) Consideration for the needs of other people
Wow! Just let that soak in for a minute.
Now let’s unravel.
Definition Numero Uno: This one is for our philosophical brothers and sisters. At it’s core is thinking, questioning, wondering, or my favorite – SEEKING. This is how we learn truth and discover what’s real. It can’t be solely external nor solely internal. We constantly have that inner voice asking us questions, so we need to harness that and research those questions. This is where we seek external help by reading or researching or talking to the people around us. Once all that information is gathered, we return back to our inner thoughts and wrestle with our knowledge resulting in our temporary truth. Let’s be honest, the world is constantly changing and so too must our truths.
“The thoughtful soul to solitude retires.” – Omar Khayyam
Definition Numero Dos: Once we have explored, researched and landed on our temporary truth, it’s time for action. For all my “actions-speak-louder-than-words” folks, this one is for you. Through the understanding of the world around us, we can better demonstrate consideration for others. When we come from a state of truth first and then consider the needs of the people around us, our actions come from a more genuine place from within our souls. With understanding of differing cultural and history and experiences, practice empathy, and treat others not just “the way you want to be treated” but BETTER!
“Great thoughts speak only to the thoughtful mind, but great actions speak to all mankind.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Through definition alone, thoughtfulness is two-pronged. It can only reveal truth when we both seek to understand AND act within this understanding. So all you humans out there still reading along, you may be asking, how can I implement this two-pronged thoughtfulness practice into my everyday? It’s simple, and I’ll tell you all about it in my next post tomorrow morning.
In the meantime, here’s a little truth nugget to consider this Friday:
We are all humans. We all have experiences that make us unique. We must be patient and see each other as ever evolving creatures. Thus practicing empathy, grace and forgiveness as we interact with one another.
Photo credit: Greg Rakozy