The Harms of Evil Thoughts
In the same way as positive and sublime thoughts lead man to perform fruitful actions, so also filthy thoughts drive man towards impurity and defilement. For man is a thinking creature; he first thinks and then translates his thoughts into action.
When improper thoughts make way into the depths of man's being and spread like weeds, positive and good thoughts, which are like beautiful plants, are gradually eliminated and their place is taken by evil thoughts. As a result of these satanic thoughts one is prepared to commit ugly acts that blacken the heart and destroy one's life.
Every tree develops and grows gradually and yields its sweet or bitter fruits. An evil thought, too, is like a seed that will not yield any fruit except and evil deed. Man involuntarily entertains and pursues evil thoughts and with the passage of time they gradually run their roots in all corners of his soul and grow into a big and strong tree.
The attainment of happiness and felicity, however, requires a soul at peace and a heart that is pure. If the soul's window is closed on ugly thoughts, room is created in it for the growth of good thoughts.
Some great man was asked, "Where can happiness be found?" He replied, "In the beauty of human thought." Hence one must block the stream at its source and stop improper thoughts from entering one's mind. Further, one must accustom oneself to thinking about fruitful and worthy matters.
'Ali, may peace be upon him, said:
Nurture in yourselves a love of contemplation and accustom yourselves to seeking forgiveness, for that cleanses you of sins and impurities and increases your reward. 22
Habituate yourself to purity of intention and sincerity of purpose, so that you may succeed in your efforts and endeavours. 23
Although the personal qualities that have already been moulded are not so simple to alter, but if one makes a persisting effort to eradicate undesirable characteristics that lead the personality into decadence and destruction, given the significant capacity of the human being to acquire desirable habits, human merits and virtues gradually take roots in the mind in a natural manner.
In order to attain to noble qualities one must concentrate his attention on commendable traits, for through self-suggestion of such virtues and meritorious qualities and their development one can obtain brilliant results.
Paul Clement Jagot writes:
Self-suggestion arranges another array of troops in the battle against habit, instead of itself launching an attack, it introduces certain ideas into the unconscious which are opposed to those originated by a particular habit. In this way, it produces a gradual mental sublimation in the vital faculties.
The first point to be kept in view for achieving this goal is to pay close attention to the fact that every habit can be abandoned.
"I can liberate myself totally from its evil, and I shall achieve my goal"; this one should constantly go on repeating to oneself. In accordance with the law of self-suggestion this conviction gradually takes on an absolute aspect as a result of repetition. The unconscious records the above suggestion, and removes the unpleasant feeling of unavoidable compulsion and futility of resistance that is produced as a result of enslavement to habit and whose futility can be proved through sound experience.
If I analyse the apparent satisfaction produced in me when yielding to an (undesirable) habit, I will be convinced that this mental satisfaction is insignificant and it would be better instead to enjoy avoiding the harms that always accompany this kind of erroneous conduct. 24
22. Al-Amidi, Ghurar, p. 192.
23. Ibid. p. 492.
24. Jagot, Paul Clement, op. cit., p. 102.
Adapted from: "Ethics and Spiritual Growth" by: "Sayyid Mujtaba Musawi Lari"
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