On Fields O’er which the Reaper’s Hand has Passed by Henry David Thoreau
On fields o’er which the reaper’s hand has pass’d
Lit by the harvest moon and autumn sun,
My thoughts like stubble floating in the wind
And of such fineness as October airs,
There after harvest could I glean my life
A richer harvest reaping without toil,
And weaving gorgeous fancies at my will
In subtler webs than finest summer haze.
What is it in your life, in this world or beyond that calls forth your finest thoughts? Is it stories of great men or women who overcame the enormous gravity of mediocrity? Or perhaps the simplest revelation of nature’s many beauties? Is it time alone with Bach’s heavenly Suite for Solo Cello in G Major – Prelude or maybe time shared with friends while savoring Caciocavallo Podolico, the only cheese in Italy which is not, and cannot by definition be, industrially-produced?
Our lives are filled with influences that will, if allowed, produce mediocre thoughts. The trouble with mediocre thoughts is that they tend to generate mediocre actions. There is an old alchemical principle worth noting here: “As above, so below.” Your thoughts are higher than your actions in the sense that thought precedes action. Finer thought, therefore, generates finer action.
Some actions may come with little forethought, as with habitual or instinctive reactions, but living a reasoned life – especially in today’s day and age – requires the ability to think finely in coarse situations.
Excellence is nothing more than the finest thing in the room. It is a relative thing and as such excellence is available to everyone in any situation. You can hold an external standard in mind to assist you in your quest for finer thoughts, but ultimately it comes down to you. It matters not what another would do were he or she in your boots, what would, better yet, what should you do?
When conversation turns south, do you fly along unquestioningly like a migrating goose? When your spirits are low, do you allow thoughts of desperation, impotence or perhaps despair to corrupt your mind? When a friend asks: “Are you feeling well?” does your mind turn easily from rosy, productive thoughts to lesser things that may not even be true of you in that moment?
If so, you have some work to do. Your mind is a remarkable instrument that, properly used, can rise to produce precious and wonderful thoughts that are perfect for the occasion. Think about your life and ask yourself when you did your most creative, constructive, salient thinking. If it was only in the past, why? What changed?
If it is now, well, kudos! You’re on the right track. Your mind – if you’ll pardon the cliché – is a terrible thing to waste. Exercise it rightly, feed it well, reveal excellence where you would normally settle for mediocrity and your world – our world – will change for the better.
14 thoughts on “The Finer things in Life”
great way to finish my day…this is the time when creative thinking and appreciative thinking can start tomorrow on a high note…thanks 🙂
Deeply appreciate the fineness of your written expression, it truly inspires the refining process within that I have loved being engaged in. Fine thoughts in regard to the application of true principles are inexhaustible. Thanks for this refreshing new beginning.
Very kind, Joshua. Have a good one.
Love this post – thanks!
Great to consider Thoreau and your other points today.
I could read Thoreau daily…and often do!
Refreshing thoughts! Sometimes I feel like I am standing in a “room” of mood that could change in an instant if I just choose to walk out of it and into another one. How quickly we can become subject to influences which we aren’t even conscious of, and how fortunate we are if we start to have an inkling of our choice in the matter. Well, I intend to make sure I own the finer things today. Thanks for the encouragement!!!
Awareness is the first step to liberation from a “ping-pong” existence!
These are some really useful points to consider. Your post made me look ahead at my day and insert some reminder flags at various points where I might default to the low road instead of the high one.
Excellent approach. I’d love to hear how it went for you.
Great post! It sends the message that you can start wherever you are and that mediocrity is a choice, not a sentence imposed on you.
Thanks for a wonderful start to my day!!
I really appreciate the fact that you consistently try to get people to live their lives in a more responsible way. You said that excellence is simply the finest thing in the room, an many people would assume that to be the finest would have to mean competition and strife. That actually would prevent anyone from finding their finest. You still might be able to be the finest in the room, but you wouldn’t be able to achieve your potential finest in that situation. The only way for a person to find their true potential excellence is by supporting every other person to find their excellence as well. In that way, everybody can achieve their best, and that is true excellence.