The Discriminating Powers of the Mind

A multitude of causes unknown to former times are now acting with a combined force to blunt the discriminating powers of the mind, and unfitting it for all voluntary exertion to reduce it to a state of almost savage torpor.” ~ William Wordsworth

Reactions to challenging those within your sphere of influence to think outside of the box, to question their limiting assumptions and to make room in for original thought are of four kinds. They either love you, and are inspired to do even greater works; or they admire you, doing little to change their own approach; or they are stunned and they shut down; or they react to the pressure you bring on them and turn on you. Exactly what forces compel such responses are often difficult to discern, but you can be certain that raising the bar will have consequences.

The first reaction refines while the latter three coarsen the powers of the mind. I am inclined to agree with Wordsworth’s assessment that the discriminating powers of the mind have reduced over time rather than increased, an observation that many have echoed through the ages in relation to times prior to their epoch. My hope, my personal aim, is to so function privately, personally and professionally that the challenge to rise up out of the “savage torpor” that threatens our freedom and our prosperity as a race can be heard by those who have an ear to hear and the will to do something about it in their living.

Any movement in this direction requires voluntary exertion. No man can force another to live more abundantly, but every man is endowed with the capacity to be inspired. Some allow inspiration to touch their hearts more readily than others and the wonder of our design, the power of free choice, is that people sort themselves out based on the choices they make in this regard.

Inspiration is short-circuited whenever hearing is not followed up by doing. If you take up the work of compelling others to think and live more vivaciously you will likely find that many are willing to be inspired, but few will hold the inspiration in the heart long enough to make the changes necessary to break old habits of reaction and function. If you’re not careful to invest your inspiration wisely, you’ll quickly find yourself stuck in the trap of having to constantly pump up those around you, for as quickly as you stop pumping and turn your attention to other matters they will deflate and eventually regress.

Just as there are causes unknown to former times acting with a combined force to choke the live out of those living, there are also forces at work to awaken the savages from their torpor. As soon as you decide to be a blessing in your living, you quickly realize that you are not alone! Add to that the fact that some will take your inspiration to heart and translate it into action in their living and you will quickly find that you are surrounded by people who share your vision for a better world.

Ask yourself today if you are man enough, woman enough to stop yielding your energies to the forces which blunt the discriminating powers of the mind. If you are, then you might find inspiration in these words that clothe the core of my thoughts on this matter:

I refuse to abandon the idea that we can leave this world a better place than we found it. I do not possess enough faith to believe that more of the same old thinking will yield a different result in living. If it takes being ostracized, judged, criticized and condemned by those who worship at the altar of human nature, so be it. I am willing to use my free choice in a way that every thought, word and deed carries in it the signature quality of blessing, regardless of how it is received or I am treated, for nothing matters more than my integrity. I am willing and able to be all that I know I can be in this and every future moment.

Be wary of those who tell you what to think, do or say, especially if they do so while discouraging you to think for yourself. Be not fooled by those who tell you that to stay true to your highest vision you must be a martyr. Use your mind, question your assumptions, refresh your perspective, refine your vision and hone your skills at every turn.

Consider these two final points: (1) It is never too late to make the voluntary exertions that revitalize the discriminating powers of your mind and (2) you are as young as you will ever be right now, so the time is right to move from inspiration to actualization!

14 thoughts on “The Discriminating Powers of the Mind

  1. Ricardo B.

    That’s well put. Inspiration is a beautiful thing; it swells the heart and to not put that swelling to good use – to overcome some impediment, some mountain or obstacle in oneself – will cause a sad deflation which then almost like an addiction one hungrily goes looking for something else to excite the senses. Inspiration put in action does all that – it compels awareness to look for the precious moments to eagerly scale over what has been holding one back. Inspiration is like a jet pack that’s been hoistened on your back with an expiration time – there is thrust and momentum to help propel you forward, but you have to aim it right and use it quickly or else it will just run out and you’ll be stuck wondering why on earth you are still where you are when in fact you could be having a whole other conversation with yourself, looking upon new vistas of opportunity and creativity.
    The more I think about it, the more I think you even have to be careful with inspiration, because if you are willing to be inspired but then not do something productive with it, it increasingly lends itself to a growing sense of futility which is akin to digging your own grave. You set up precedents of failure and that then requires even more energy to dig yourself out of. For heaven’s sake, once you see the light, don’t go back in the dark I say to myself! That will certainly turn your stomach sour and reflux is soon to follow.
    Good stuff to think about this fine morning!


  2. Maybe the biggest problem is that we look outside ourselves not just for information, insights and education – which is essential – but for approval – which isn’t. I don’t understand why we do that but we all seem to do it, at least for part of our lives. In this way when we are inspired by someone we follow their lead at least partially to gain their approval and so, when we move away we don’t run with the ball ourselves because it was always about the affirmation and never about ‘the ball.’
    The big questions, then are how can we really learn to stand on our own feet? To investigate reality for ourselves? To care enough to change?


  3. Colin

    This can be seen as somewhat of a cliche, but the saying “The mind is a muscle” is a truth that has been forgotten in the ease of which information is available in our modern age. They say that the new generation is more able to phrase the terms needed to search our newer information repositories, which is a part of the mind’s muscle that has grown stronger, but I think we lose something when we do not really know and understand the things that we have in the past. I’m not saying that it isn’t a good thing to have so much information at our fingertips, but there is a difference between having the information available and really understanding it. For example, I have a feeling that with the popularity of GPS units, our natural ability to tell direction has suffered. That is just a small example, but I am sure that there are many like it, some which we understand and some which we don’t.
    The world has many influences that try to make us forget the truths that we knew, and to make us break the promises we make to ourselves when we are inspired.

    Remember this: If you are not honest with yourself, you will not be honest with anyone. When inspiration comes to you, from someone else or from within yourself, act on it! Timing is everything, and if you say “I will take care of it later”, you are not being honest with yourself. That is the best way to “short-circuit the cycle of inspiration”. If each of us was able to do these things, to be honest with our inspirational follow-through and to be willing to exercise our mental powers in ways most people are not, we would be well on our way to reducing the savage torpor of the mind that the modern world is thrusting upon us.


  4. Lara

    I am hearing you loud and clear, Gregg. Thank you for your challenge to rise up and assume the responsibility which is mine. My thoughts, words and actions are my choice. I am only a victim by choice. It is not as hard as it may appear and the rewards are great. The ripple effect that could change the world. Thank you.


  5. Vincent

    This is well summarized. Inspiration is a challenge and an art, but also a crass industry in the world as we know it. People are encouraged, challenged and shamed into sharpening their tools for selfish behavior so that they can be galvanized for various commercial purposes. But concentrating skillful selfishness is hardly inspiration from any true standpoint!

    Real inspiration derives from example, the clear evidence that something thought not to be possible IS possible. Dishonest people will reject even that kind of inspiring evidence, but honesty will resonate in those who have it. Hype, smoke and mirrors are not necessary when there is the courageous willingness to think honestly and to act on what is discovered to be true. Your words bring the lights up on a vital area once again.


  6. I am deeply inspired and appreciative of what you have shared with us this morning Gregg. Your words, like your actual living, has made a difference in a lot of lives, including mine. Yes, it takes courage to stand for something significant in ones living, and it takes genuine caring to challenge others to live up to their absolute finest. Yet this is what is ultimately going to allow the world to be a better place than it was when one first entered into it.

    Free choice, free will I guess you could say, is both a gift and a problem. A gift when it is used to uplift; a problem when it is used to deny or to focus on negative elements in others. And from my own experience I do know that there is always a ripple effect that stems from our choices, and that ripple effect is always going to be seen in the quality of our surround and in the quality of our own living.

    Perhaps one, before they make the choice to deny the greatness in both themselves and in others, should fast forward in their own life and ask themselves “how am I going to feel about this (action, decision, choice etc.) when I am older and looking back at my life? Am I going to feel joy and upliftment or am I going to feel shame?” And then of course make your choice based on that the answer to those questions.


  7. MMc

    Read almost any story in history or the Bible and you’ll see these 4 reactions played out over and over again. Thank you for a clear description so we can make an informed choice as to how we react to the pressure of inspired change. Onward and upward!


  8. Lady Leo

    Bravo! Living with the concern to leave this world in better shape the when you entered it is a worthy guide.I find the inspiration to keep moving in that direction is all around me. There are many who have lived or are living an inspired life, read about them. Choose your friends and companions accordingly. Allow thankfulness and constant appreciation to fill your heart. Find work that supports some phase of benefit to the world. Beautiful post…thanks


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