Ancestors, Childhood and Mindfulness

Apple seedsEach of us has everything it takes, to be full human being. Think of the progression to full humanity as an apple tree.

In every apple, there are seeds. Each seed contains the new apple tree, plus all the experience of previous generations of apple trees. Inside the seed is a wisdom, an intelligence that knows how to become an apple tree, with a trunk and branches and blossoms and apples.

But the seed cannot progress to a full tree with blossoms and fruit on its own. The seed can do it only because it has received and contains the experience and adaptations of generations of ancestors.

Like the apple, you posses the wisdom and intelligence to be fully human because you have inherited an eternity of wisdom from generations of blood ancestors and spiritual ancestors too.

Not all of our ancestors were good people, but we have all the inheritances of good, bad and mediocre. What part of ancestry is manifest in the present can be changed, if we are mindful.

Our ancestry together with our childhood experience – like the seed and the environment it grows in – is part of who we are today. If a bad childhood experience is causing problems, we can work toward our own solution.

For example, at a meditation retreat, there’s an exercise about writing a letter to your parent. One woman, whose father had died, couldn’t even begin the exercise, because her father had terrified her so much as a child that she could not bear to even think about him, much less write him a letter.

But writing a letter is concentration, a form of meditation on flow; continuity. This woman was having difficulty with meditation; that was the reason she was attending the retreat.

Old fears and resentments paralyzed her in the present. Because we feel scared, we sometimes think we don’t know what to do, so we become thoughtless, mindless, motionless, we freeze.

If we use breathing as a starting point, we can cultivate the energy of mindfulness and understanding. Understanding, when it arrives, helps release our fear, anger, hatred, thawing our frozen emotional hearts .

Subsequently, the woman in the retreat was assigned an historic meditation of, “Breathing in, I see myself as a five year old. Breathing out, I smile to that five year old.”

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