“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” – Proverbs 4:23
In one sense the heart means the seat of the emotions. I think it also means the subconscious mind, where all of the stimuli and thoughts of our entire lives are stored and processed before our conscious minds are even aware of it.
Haanel says in Chapter 2:
“It is often true that conditions of fear, worry, poverty, disease, inharmony and evils of all kinds dominate us by reason of false suggestions accepted by the unguarded subconscious mind. All this the trained conscious mind can entirely prevent by its vigilant protective action. It may properly be called ‘the watchman at the gate’ of the great subconscious domain.”
The conscious mind is the watchman at the gate. The subconscious mind accepts everything that comes its way, without discrimination or discernment. That’s why it’s so important that I choose what I allow into my conscious mind, which in turn influences what goes into my subconscious mind.
Hand in hand with this goes another truth we looked at this week:
Law of Dual Thought
Thought is a combination of ideation and feeling. We can attach any feeling to a thought we want.
This was brought home to me very forcefully one day almost seven years ago…
Our oldest son, James, was taken from us one bitterly cold night in December, 2009. He’d gone for a drive out in the country after work, as he often did. That night there were pockets of dense ice fog. Since it was not foggy in town, he wasn’t aware of that until he hit a patch about two miles west of town. He probably didn’t even see the stop sign, nor realize he had reached the highway. He was broad-sided by a dual trailer grain truck coming down the highway.
We live twenty minutes out in the country, and every time we drive into town, we pass by the spot where the accident occurred. The skid marks were still there ten days later, and there hadn’t been enough fresh snow to cover up the rumpled snow in the field where the grain truck and our son’s pickup came to rest.
Each time we drove over that spot on the highway, I fought down the panic as I thought, “This is where James died.”
And then I thought, “This will not do. I have a choice. I can let that thought, with its accompanying emotions take root… or I can turn it around and look at the positive. ”
Ever since then, as we’ve driven past, I have deliberately, consciously thought, “This is where James met the God he loved.”
James knew where he was going after he died… and so did we. There was no doubt in our minds that he was going to be with the Lord. We just didn’t think his time would come when he was 25 years old.
Losing a young son has a way of bringing home the fact that we really don’t know how many tomorrows we have. Certainly I did not know, on the evening of Friday, December 11, when all seven of our children were here for a family dinner. that it was the last time I would see my son alive. Nor did he know that he would have only 24 hours left to live.
The grieving process also has a way of bringing all the negative emotions to the fore. Fear… anger… jealousy… But just as I have a choice about what to think as I pass the place where James left us, so I have had ample opportunity in the years since then, to choose the positive emotions over the negative. Transferring of grief and loss, to gratitude and gain.
And in the same way, I can apply that lesson to any situation in my life, attaching any emotion I choose, to whatever happens day by day.