The "reality" of man is his thought - not his material body. Although man is part of the animal creation, he possesses a power of thought superior to the rest of the created beings. If his thought is directed continually towards heavenly subjects, he becomes saintly; if, on the other hand, his thought does not soar above things of this world, he is little better than an animal.
Thoughts are of two kinds:
a) Thoughts that belong entirely to the world of thought.
b) Thoughts that result in action.
The thoughts of our Lord Jesus Christ belonged to a high spiritual world, but he also brought them into the world of action.
Some men and women have exalted thoughts, but if they do not realize them in the world of action, they are useless. The power of thought is dependent on manifestation in the world of action.
Nevertheless in the world of progress and evolution thought has an effect, even if it is not always expressed in action. To this class of thought the majority of philosophers give expression; their thoughts are above their actions, too high for them to live up to themselves. The difference between philosophers and spiritual teachers is this: Spiritual teachers follow their own teaching, bring down into the world of action their spiritual conceptions and ideals, whereas mere philosophers do not. We often find philosophers emphasize the importance of Justice, while in their private lives they are most unjust. This state is impossible with spiritual teachers. No man can separate himself from his thought.
- 'Abdu'l-Baha (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha; From a compilation of ‘Discourses of ‘Abdu’l-Baha given in London and Paris’; Star of the West, vol. 2, no. 19, March 2, 1912)