October 21, 2022

Are You Telling Yourself The Truth?


Many years ago, while studying at university, I took a class in reasoning. How to think, basically. It was interesting, although rather dry, as we took various arguments – all sorts of arguments and statements, the kind we make a dozen times a day – and carefully laid them out, pinned them down, and dissected them.
They ended up looking like strange, wordy, equations.

We were looking at them to check each statement’s veracity – whether or not it was true, whether or not the ideas, beliefs, and assumptions it was built on were true. Because I think we can all understand this – an argument built on statements that are untrue or built on thinking stemming from faulty reasoning, is not going to ultimately serve us.

Just as with everything we hear, not everything we think is going to be true.
Thoughts are powerful. In a lot of ways, they shape they reality we each live in. But don’t make the mistake of believing that everything you think is true.

Instead, check your thoughts. Over and over, listen to that voice in your head as it speaks to you, and check what it is saying. Lay that thought out, pin it down, and dissect it. Where did it come from? Was it something you heard someone say on TV? Did you read it somewhere? Was it something that came out of your mother’s mouth when you were a child and it just kind of stuck? Was it a thought you picked up somewhere along the way and decided to keep because it comforted you?

As the Queen says in Alice in Wonderland, with practice, it is possible to believe six impossible things before breakfast.

A great many of the tired untruths we tell ourselves stem from fear. Unchecked, they can distort our view of the whole world, they can lead us to distrust friends, and they stop us from experiencing joy. Don’t let this happen to yourself – find and use that quiet, true voice inside you and question everything.


Teresa had stopped humming under her breath, but she didn’t look at him while her hands deftly prepared the herbs. ‘Think of your mind as a garden, Stephan,’ she said. ‘And your thoughts as the plants growing there.’ She put a bundle of comfrey aside and combed through the pile for more. ‘What do you want growing in your mind-garden?’ Her fingers were gentle and sure. ‘Some of your thoughts – most of them I would hazard to say – are like noxious weeds. Growing unchecked, choking out the plants you ought to cultivate. Some of your thoughts are like herbs that could be useful – could be of service to you – if you sorted them carefully and grew more of them.’

Stephan was silent. ‘I don’t think I understand,’ he said at last.

Teresa hadn’t even sighed at how slow he was.

‘It’s like this,’ she’d said. ‘All of us are able to look at our minds and think about, well, our thoughts. So, get yourself into the habit of looking at your thoughts, Stephan, and deciding if they deserve a place in your garden. Are they going to grow and bear fruit good to eat? Or are they sticky little burrs that just get under your skin and aggravate you until you’ve scratched yourself till bleeding?’ She shook her head.

‘And when you find an unwanted seedling – a destructive thought – that doesn’t belong in your garden, pluck it out, denying it your attention, and replace it with a quality little seedling that does belong. When you find a suckling branch sprouting that blocks the light from the good thought habits you are growing – gather up your sheers and prune it away. Don’t give it any space.’

Teresa & Stephan, The Gathering, Ch 46

Katherine Genet is the author of the Wilde Grove mythic/visionary fiction series, as well as complementary non-fiction. She has been walking a pagan path for 30 years and is a shamanic Druid, spirit worker, and priestess of  Elen of the Ways.

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  1. Michelle

    This is such a powerful practice to cultivate, as an avid gardener the analogy really reasonated with me when I first read it in The Gathering and I appreciate the reminder now. In fact it is making me realize I need to turn it into a mantra so that I focus on this practice much more.

    • Katherine Genet

      To me, this is one of the foundational practices from which all else can flow. If we don’t get this one thing right – and it’s an ongoing process which becomes easier over time – it will always be easier to succumb to fear and so lose our way. May your garden be lunch and beautiful ?


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