Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Unity of Words, Thoughts and Deeds

When my spiritual quest was in full force, I came across the following quote by Gandhi:

“I do what I say, I say what I think, I think what I feel.”

Shortly after reading this, I was in an ashram in the middle of India and heard another spiritual teacher utter the same phrase. This teacher said it in this manner:

“Word, thought and deed must be one.”

I remember sitting on a cement floor in yoga pants and a t-shirt and feeling like the ceiling had parted and God himself was appearing and telling me “Wake up, Nadia…this is what you have to start doing”. So that is when I began to start meaning what I say and doing what I said I would do.

Initially, it was amazing to notice how much of a disconnect there was between word, thought and deed. I was not a bad person, I was quite normal in my behavior. But when you really start to live with the focus on word, thought and deed being one…it is an eye opener.

For example, if you are talking to someone and you tell them that you will talk to them later - well….what does later mean? Does it mean five minutes from now, five hours, five days or is that a polite way of saying you will never talk to them again? I will admit that a law school education makes a person even more aware of the significance of definitions of words. Often people will use the same word and attach completely different meanings. Hence, why there are so many law suits in this country.

Applying the Concept of ”Word, Thought and Deed As One”

Eventually it became a whole lot easier to have word, thought and deed be one. Now it is a way of life. If I change my mind about something, I let the person know and if I can tell that something I said I would do will not happen, I let the other person know that too.

Sometimes this honesty can be a bit much for one on the receiving end but that shows how dishonesty is considered a normal form of behavior. We have justified the existence of the “white lie” a little too much to the point that a white lie is considered okay.

Naturally, this made me wonder how God or the Universe views the white lie. Keep in mind, when you learn about karma and reincarnation, you really do not want to do anything that may jeopardize your future embodiments.

Meditation Garden

When I lived in India and when I was studying with my Buddhist Master, I heard many stories about how karma affected a person’s future. It was enough to convince me to live my life to the best of my ability.

Since I just could not pick up the phone and call the Big Dude in the Sky, I asked for some help from above and that is how I came to discover a theory I call “Instant Karma”.

Instant Karma

I came across Instant Karma back in 2000 while working at a huge law firm. I was a very unhappy person at that time and I just felt like my life was meaningless, even though I was a student of spirituality. One morning, I entered the bathroom at the office and was greeted by a very happy woman who wished me a good morning.

Her joy annoyed me and I ignored her. (The irony is that now I am that happy person in the bathroom at work and now I sometimes get ignored.) When I entered the stall and closed the door, I felt horrible about what I had done. The guilt was so immense, I swore that when I got out of that stall, I would be more gracious with that woman.

Unfortunately, when I opened the door, she was gone and I felt even worse. I silently prayed that I would have another chance. Two hours later when I had to use the bathroom again, life had presented me with another opportunity. The same woman was in the bathroom and I was really kind and I apologized for being rude earlier. She was very understanding and I felt like the Universe and God were giving me a thumbs-up for a job well done.

Soon after this encounter, I started to notice that when I felt bad about doing something and sincerely asked for forgiveness, another opportunity to correct my error always would emerge within hours or a couple of days. Hence, the theory called Instant Karma.


As a result of Instant Karma, I have come to see that the key factor in anything you say, do or think is the intention behind it. Often in life, people say or do things totally unaware of the implications. One area that this is seen the most is in dating.

Whether you are a man or a woman, we all have had experiences in dating where someone told us that they would call us or do something, only to have that person vanish. I realize that the person who did the vanishing did so in an effort to not cause pain but ultimately ended up causing more pain than if they had been truthful. Take this example and apply it to every aspect of life and we see the same thing happening at one point or another.

People want to be liked and they do not want to cause pain, so they lie. Lying never does any good and it only creates more pain. The best way to be in this world, and it does take time to master, is to always mean what we say and do what we say we will do.

We like it when people treat us well. We also have the responsibility to treat others well. To sit back in our chairs and lament about how bad things are does not help in any way. We are of greater service when we start acting the way we want others to treat us. So if you want someone to treat you with respect, then treat others with respect. And the first step you can take to help make that happen is to have your words, thoughts and deeds be one.

By Nadia - Happy Lotus