Why do you do what you do? Why are your friends your friends? Why do you listen to the music you listen to, watch the TV shows you watch, and read the books you read? We often do not ruthlessly weed the garden of our mind. We should, because we become our environment.
The Last Psychiatrist has an incredible post about the unconscious:
14 subjects were shown 3000 pictures, 3 seconds each. Then, they were shown pairs of objects-- one was the previously seen, the other never seen-- and they had to pick out which one they saw.
The pairs were of three types: paired with something completely different; paired with something of the same type; and paired with an altered version of the same picture.
3000 images-- viewed once-- over the course of two to three hours-- and the subjects were able to correctly pick out the previously seen image 87-92% of the time. Absolutely wow.
Just because we don't remember something doesn't mean it's there. In fact, the evidence suggests that everything we encounter remains - if only for a moment - with us.
Those commercials you tell yourself that you're ignoring - well, you're not. Those commercials become part of you. The characters you see on television or in a magazine become part of you. Your friends and business associates become part of you.
You are being rebuilt daily. Look at that sentence. "Being rebuilt." Are you being rebuilt, or are you rebuilding yourself? Do you fill the moments that belong to you with edification? Or do "go with the flow" - which really just means allowing others to take you where they want you to go.
Small thoughts become weeds. Weeds destroy your mind. From the single greatest collection of wisdom:
Now there were some terrible seeds on the planet that was the home of the little prince; and these were the seeds of the baobab. The soil of that planet was infested with them. A baobab is something you will never, never be able to get rid of if you attend to it too late. It spreads over the entire planet. It bores clear through it with its roots. And if the planet is too small, and the baobabs are too many, they split it in pieces . . .
"It is a question of discipline," the little prince said to me later on. "When you've finished your own toilet in the morning, then it is time to attend to the toilet of your planet, just so, with the greatest care. You must see to it that you pull up regularly all the baobabs, at the very first moment when they can be distinguished from the rosebushes which they resemble so closely in their earliest youth. It is very tedious work," the little prince added, "but very easy."
Becoming an active builder of one's mind also requires personal responsibility. I am responsible for what I eat. I am responsible for what I read, think, and expose myself do. Thus, if I am watching MTV, that isn't something that is just happening: It's something I am choosing to do. Why am I making that choice?
Even asking one's self, "Why am I doing this?" has power. Often the answer is, "This is stupid. You're right. I shouldn't be doing this." Or, perhaps, you really are watching MTV because that's who you are. If you're happy with that, who am I to tell you otherwise? Most of us, unfortunately, do not choose to become anything. Life just sort of happens. We just sort of end up who we are.
It's your mind. You can't control everything in life - probably, we can control very little. One should take great control over the little things.