Aligning Words and Actions

(image via

(image via

Martin Buber, the great Jewish theologian said, "There are three principles in a man's being and life. The principle of thought, the principle of speech, and the principle of action. The origin of all conflict between me and my fellow men is that I do not say what I mean and I don't do what I say."

With this as background, consider the following story about Ghandi.

It seems, once upon a time, a woman brought her son to see Gandhi. She said, “Please Mahatma. My son eats sugar morning, noon and night. He is obsessed. I know he will listen to you. He respects you so much. Tell him to stop.” Gandhi responded, “Come back in four days.” When they returned, Gandhi spoke to the boy, flatly intoning, “Stop eating sugar. It’s bad for you.” The mother incredulous asked, “Why did you have us wait four days?” “Because madam. Four days ago I was still eating sugar!”

The story is clear. No matter what the change it is ultimately one of personal responsibility. I cannot ask others to be different until I myself am different. I cannot ask behaviors of others until I have willingly demanded the same of myself.

Springtime is always a wonderful time of the year to align ourselves. We can start by asking ourselves the following questions:

1. What in my nature am I unwilling to look at?
2. What benefits do I get from not changing this part of me?
3. What actions must I take to align my thoughts, words and behaviors?

Reflection on these questions can help us say what we mean and do what we say.