Aristotle tells us that we don’t need to believe everything we see or hear, and goodness knows our minds are literally bombarded today, like at no other time in history, with thoughts and ideas few of which are in any way beneficial to our health and welfare. The sharp and sudden rise in the West of widespread mental health conditions is testament to that.
I am also often reminded of the thought on that, attributed to the Buddha –
“Believe nothing, merely because you have been told it or because it is traditional, or because you yourselves have imagined it. Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher. But whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings, that doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide.”
We cannot prevent thoughts and ideas arising in our minds, but we can – though few do – limit the opportunities for unhelpful thoughts to trouble us by carefully choosing what we read and the voices we listen to, and by the elimination of all other sources of unwanted and unnecessary ‘noise’ as far as possible.