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Impressions of Thought

We receive impressions from conditions—the variability of these is responsible for the multitudinous thoughts that are ours. They are conveyed to the brain to be rejected or accepted—to be cast away or pondered upon—pregnant with possibilities good or bad. Through the mind they come like dirty water or pure clear streams to add their abundance to that which we have, to be retained for good or evil.

Either they turn our well of thought to stagnancy or dilute the already mixed water to a clearer kind. We filter them, if we but know their nature, to good account, or ignorantly store them up for some future, yet sure, overflow of gain or loss.

Experience and accompanying discrimination hold the means whereby the closing of the gate against putrid inflows is affected. In solitude only can one get a glimpse of the nature of that which the constant inflow brings. It is a poor picture that presents itself to the gaze from dank, turbid accumulations, muddy and blurred, nothing clearly visible, reflecting a soul-destroying flatness, no brightness glossing the kind of waters we are storing. Continue, and you shall be inundated by uncontrolled evil, and the pictures of rare beauty which the mind can reveal will sink almost to the impossibility of being realized. Filth will solidify, giving no reflection from its dull surface, void of beauty, sending forth only foulness which will permeate the being. Think of the fair flowers of thought destroyed by this poison at their roots, giving life only to loathsome weeds, which, clinging tenaciously, destroy the growth of pure thought.

But let us pass to pleasanter thoughts, hopes, possibilities and actualities. Gaze into the wells of that mind which is stored with some knowledge, controlling that which comes, and retaining that only which is good, permitting no known ill to wither or destroy its fair flowers. Before you will pass fair scenes, beautified here and there by rare touches of pure color—touched by the brush of purity as by a true artist intent upon the good, acquiring and revealing that which is true, touching the canvas with delicate strokes, and clinging fast to the inspiration of elevated thoughts. In such a mind there is no pandering to false inducement, to superficiality that will lower genius. Reflecting things truly, adding day by day greater clearness and further purities of tone, and feeling the buoyancy of infinite possibilities, it uses things temporal as steppingstones to the Eternal.

Here and there some picture will become tarnished, but with purpose intent, new effort is made, guarding against errors of impatience and in vigilance until an actuality of sustained effort is accomplished.

So let us control our thoughts, and be artists, true to our calling—and the daubs will gradually be replaced by fair pictures. No streaks shall hide the Soul's hidden beauties, nothing shall shadow itself into doubt. Let the palette of our life bear the true colors of a reflecting mind. Experience will give knowledge, and gradually the mind will take that only which is true. Surely will the store of pureness overflow, watering fair flowers of thought to undreamed of beauties.

Cleanse thy thoughts, and they will cleanse thine actions.
—Confucius
Understand a man by his deeds and words; the impressions of others lead to false judgment.
—Talmud
Whosoever hath not knowledge, and benevolence, and piety, knoweth nothing of reality, and dwelleth only in semblance.
—Sa'Di
Do not consider any vice as trivial, and therefore practice it; do not consider any virtue as unimportant, and therefore neglect it.
—Chinese Proverb
The world is full of delights for him who, be he rich or poor, his passions conquered, has a soul at peace.
—Bhartrihari
Whence comes happiness? From tranquility and self-control. Men without self-restraint drift before their passions like rudderless boats before the wind.
—Bhagavad Gita

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John D. MacDonald

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