There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

The quote of the title is attributed to William Shakespeare and is one of the clearest indicators of how the mind works from an emotional context.  Yes! Some may say the intellect is a mental thing and emotions are more heart centered, but we do not live in a world where one organ or one energy state is separated from another. Ours is an organic body that exist on the physical, and metaphysical plane, both working together to make up the whole.

The metaphysical is about knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space. Therefore as a man thinketh so is he; there is neither good or bad, but thinking that makes it so. The ancient Chinese had a proverb that states: “A man without a smiling face must not open a shop.” A genuine and freely given smile is a gift that is shared without toil or cost and also a gift honestly accepted that energizes and uplifts.

” I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”


Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. Yet the world is full of people who are selfish and self-seeking. The rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage. He has little competition. The New York Telephone Company once made a detailed study of telephone conversations to find out which word is the most frequently used. And which word do you think it is?  it is the personal pronoun “I.” “I.” I.” It was used 3,900 times in 500 telephone conversations. “I.” “I.” “I.” “I.”

In a clinical study  done decades ago, it was noted that people may actually go insane in order to find, in the world of insanity, the feeling of importance that has been denied them in the harsh world of reality. There are more patients suffering from mental diseases in the western countries than from all other diseases combined. Nobody can answer what is the true cause of insanity. Some say it is organic and others say it is emotional. What we do know for sure is that certain diseases, such as syphilis, break down and destroy the brain cells and result in insanity. In fact, about one-half of all mental diseases can be attributed to such physical causes as brain lesions, alcohol, toxins, bad or unhealthy medications and injuries.

But the other half the people who go insane apparently has nothing organically wrong with their brain cells. In postmortem examinations, when their brain tissues are studied under the highest-powered microscopes, these tissues are found to be apparently healthy. Why do these people go insane? Retreating into a world of their own making in an attempt to find a space where their self-importance is not marginalized and where they can maximize their worth.  There is a need to have an anchor in peoples lives. Whether you are the Buddha or you are the lowest crack head on the block, we all hang on to something that keep us grounded. Just because you don’t understand it, it does not make it not so.


Just like the patient in the study on insanity, those of us who choose to stay in this world, still yearn to be appreciated….or appreci-loved. An honest and sincere appreciation makes one sit up taller, strider stronger and smile wider.  One of the most neglected virtues of our daily existence is appreciation. As children we learn more how to criticize than to complement. And as we grow up and in turn become parents, we somehow, neglect to praise our sons or daughters when he or she brings home a good report card, and we fail to encourage our children when they first succeed in riding a bike or reading a book. Or do something so simple only a child can appreciate.


Nothing pleases children more than this kind of parental interest and approval. Teaching a child the value of sincere complement starts with complementing them from the heart.

Likewise as we enter adulthood, lacking the joy of being appreci-loved, we constantly seek validation from material things or things with little to no intrinsic value. When we as adults deal with other adults we must practice the same desire to show honest appreciation and complement. For we never know who’s life we may save, that was drifting down a road of despair.

Most people enamored by their own sense of self importance become closed of to others as they bask in the isolation of their own little world. Securely enclosed in our own world we tend to ignore others and the things and value you can get from interacting with them. Because so many of us never grew up experiencing genuine appreciation and complements, we pass on cheap flattery and think this is all we need to give.  There is a difference between compliment and Flattery. Flattery is like counterfeit  money, it will eventually get you into trouble if you pass it to someone else. So what is the difference between genuine appreciation and flattery? Well, one is sincere and the other insincere. One starts from the heart out; the other starts from the lips out. One is unselfish; the other selfish. One is universally admired; the other universally condemned.

Flattery is cheap praise and should never be confused with genuine compliment. Yet if you are unable to complement someone, it is better you hold your tongue. For I would rather prefer to give nor receive cheap praise.

“Don’t be afraid of enemies who attack you. Be afraid of the friends who flatter you.”

Someone said it best….”Flattery is telling the other person precisely what he thinks about himself.”

It really does not diminish you to be genuine with people. Start with the people closest to you. This will give you much practice. A note of caution though. While your smile and your friendliness can be given freely, it should not be given cheaply nor allowed to be abused. Many reLIEgious minded folks misunderstand this. And many radicals dismiss it as weak. It is not weak to be happy inside. They mix up the childlike happiness with the happiness of the spiritual warriors. One is often seen as cute but can be dismissed by the cynical. The other is seen as unnerving to those with ulterior motives, or pleasantly pleasing by those who see little good in the world.  It is not weak to glow and let others see your glow. It is telling the world that you are undaunted by the slings and arrows this failing society throws at you.

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth. —Muhammad Ali



One thought on “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

  1. Great post brother! And I hope you and your family have a prosperous 2017. I think this will be a very interesting year. I suggest everyone get their mind right. With Trump in office this will a bumpy ride. Stay focused at all times.


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