Mindfulness’ Role in Resentments

Pondering childSubconcious mindTo understand “original fear” (from a previous post) with resentment, we must first understand resentment, which is the replaying in our minds of a past event. Resentments cause suffering but why can’t we just let go?

Understand resentment;  “re” means again, “sentment” comes from sentimental – emotions from the past.

Resentment comes from our subconscious brain that stores all the memory of experiences of our lives, like a continually running video recorder. Incredible, but science proves it’s true.

Resentments are linked to powerful experiences. Common events, like combing our hair, aren’t resented because combing  is not as important to our survival as running from danger.

But when confronted with a stressful persons or situations that cause real or perceived threats to survival, our bodies release powerful hormones: epinephrine, dopamine norepinephrine, and glucose, into our blood stream. This comination  spreads instantly to the brain, center of memory, sensitizing it to imprint a strong “survival” recording of what is happening right now. This, when similar conditions arise, we unconsciously, automatically and instantly awaken a defence mechanism imprinted on memory telling us to react to insure our continued survival.

This is how humanity survived threat. It is automatic, unconscious and it is still with us today, though in modern times, without mindfulness, can cause great personal suffering.

Mindfulness is capable of disarming resentment. Mindfulness can “re-mind” us that the resented event has passed, “It only happenned once!”.

Without mindfulness, resentment can trick us into experiencing resentment as if it is happening again, for the first time. Mindfulness asserts that the resented experience occurred only once, regardless of what memory tells us!

Allowing memory to replay the resentment without mindfulness causes the body to release the identical hormones from the first event, causing the same emotions, but now with panic, “Oh no! It’s happening again!”.

The brain becomes overdosed- imprinting, this time, the resentment, overtop of the original memory that is closest to the truth. The truth becomes bent, even lost in the re-imprinting.

The hormone rush creates panic. Panic causes  overload, disorder, faulty memory. Mindfulness soothes the panic, preserves the truth.

We see that resentment without mindfulness causes bent truths and suffering, but here is a caution of resentment with mindfulness;

Resentments that cause a release of hormones can overpower the will of mindfulness. If you notice frustration during mindfulness, this is likely what is happening; the hormones are causing a conflict between memory and truth. 

Always stay with the truth.

Now that we understand resentment, we can look forward to the next post:  Resentment and Original Fear



Mental Massage Therapy

Brain actiivyt copyAs our bodies require a good circulation of body fluids to eliminate toxins, our conscious minds can benefit from a type of psychic circulation that comes from mindfulness and meditation. 

We instinctively rub or massage a painful spot on our body to stimulate circulation and remove the toxins that are causing the pain. When we touch the spot it hurts; this is the same as touching a knot of stored consciousness in the mind. When we see, read, speak or think of a past hurt, it comes up into the conscious mind where we react to it again.

Practicing mindfulness and meditation is like practicing massage to a knot in a muscle of the body; similarly, mindfulness works on our stored consciousness of experiences.

Without the treatment of mindfulness, a mental knot can crystallize into a lump that is toxic to our mind consciousness. Practicing mindfulness allows us to detect and transform the toxin and over time to eliminate it.

Embracing the knots of anger, sadness and regret in our stored consciousness is like practicing massage to a sore body. Mindfulness can create the type of energy that allows psychic pain to dissolve and be flushed out.

The Ties that Bind Us

knotEveryone has internal stores of pain, anger and frustration caused by our judgments toward others who have been unkind or insulting to us. Taking these slights personally causes internal formations that are like ropes that bind us and obstruct our freedom.

If we don’t know how to cut these internal ropes and transform them, a knot will form that tightens every time that we meet someone who is unkind or insulting. Over time, the knot begins to crystallize into a hard lump of irritation. We might try drugs, alcohol or mental diversions to relieve the pain of these irritations. This complicates the issue, causing ropes and knots of addiction.

But through mindfulness, we can find these knots, and through meditation we can experience transformation by untying them.

Be aware that formations caused by pleasure can cause suffering and lost freedom.

The pleasure of falling in love is a huge internal formation. When falling in love we are not free – we can all think only of our beloved – we cannot study, we cannot work, we think only of the object of our love. When falling in love becomes an internal knot we become unstable.

When we taste, hear, or see something pleasant, then that pleasure can become a strong internal knot. When the object of pleasure disappears, we miss it, we search for it, expending much time and energy to re-experience it.

If we consume alcohol, go to the casino, view pornography or violence, and begin to like it, the liking starts an internal formation in the body, in the mind, due to the sensations caused. We begin to look for more of the substance or act, and become very anxious when we see it running out or it is gone. We are not even finished with the first one, and already we are thinking of ways to get more. The knot crystallizes.

Pleasant or unpleasant, internal formations remove our liberty.

The first step in untying the knots is admitting we have them.

Prayer and Meditation can help us accept how they were caused.

Mindfulness can prevent new knots from forming.

Lesson on Anger

Angry childWhen I was a child I reacted to an incident with anger and I spoke to one of my playmates very aggressively, and told her that I would never play with her again. She began to cry and threw something at me, and told me to get away.

I stormed home, where my father seeing my angry face and motions, asked me why I was so upset. I related to him the small incident that had sparked my anger and what I had told my little playmate.

“She’ll be sorry for what she did to me!” I said.

Father patiently explained to me how I had allowed my sudden anger to take control of my true feelings toward my friend. He said that I might possibly regret my actions and my speech.

“Then, you will be the one who is sorry.” he said.

Having cooled down a bit, I reluctantly agreed with him, then asking what I could do to repair the friendship.

Father, sowing a seed of regret, explained that any forgiveness would rest solely with my playmate, it would be her decision alone to forgive, and even if given, the forgiveness may contain conditions, especially if I had hurt her before this incident.

Noticing my further distress, father gently explained that the hurt I caused might not be repairable, and that preventing angry outbursts the only sure way not to damage loving relationships.

With considerable desperation, I asked him what I should do to prevent future angry outbursts.

“That’s easy,” he said, and the word easy grabbed my attention, because nothing my father tried to teach had been “easy“.

“As soon as you feel yourself getting angry,” father said, “You silently count to ten in your head before you say, or do, anything.”

More confused than ever, I asked, “What good will that do?”

“Counting to ten as soon as you notice your anger prevents you from doing and saying hurtful things that you will soon regret.” he said.

“Counting to ten helps you to see how silly anger really is, and how hurting other people will eventually make you feel bad too.”

Elusive Mindfulness

Blank canvasWe forget that people are so naturally creative and observant that they can perceive the truth and create new truths within their own experience, if they are willing to observe it. Creating a blank canvas or framework for the truth, and having some faith in the process, is all that is required, but that is a tall order for most of us.

Mindfulness can elude us because we have been conditioned that enlightenment is a commodity that others hold, that mindfulness is earned or worked for, or we pay others to dispense it as therapy at a tropical retreat, or as room service, in appealing flavours.

Seeking mindfulness can imply work in a temple or with a guru, of turning every stone, using mental cunning, devising trickery, creating illusions or visions, impersonating something or someone else, as if we can attract the spirit though self deprivation, suffering or hard toil.

We are conditioned to believe that “working hard” and “sacrificing” is what yields concrete results and benefits in material terms. No Pain, No Gain, has become the modern catchphrase.

But the elements of mindfulness are not a state achieved by a trick or technique; mindfulness is a way of being, especially away from the guru, at home after the retreat and in the world outside of the temple.

With this concept, we can be people of faith in learning to use mindfulness to create a psychic clearing, or a blank canvas, on which the divine can bring action toward truth. Seeking, we will find, but it is our own responsibility to be observant and seize the opportunity of happiness.

We know that universally, Nature abhors a vacuum. Creating a blank canvas for mindfulness to appear creates a sort of vacuum, wherein Nature works to fill the empty space with possibility for transformation and healing. It is up to us recognize and nurture possibility into ability, which leads to growth.

By setting an anchor or still point within each practice, we create a reference or pause, from which we can gain energy for the next steps of the journey.

Letting Go of Results

Tightrop walker woman copyIn Europe and North America we are results driven people, this proven by the paradox that we likely come to meditation and mindfulness practice because of pain, anger, depression or fear, with avoidance of these symptoms as the goal.

The “goal” paradox is, that the benefits of meditation/mindfulness appear when we deliberately unfocus on fixing problems. When a student says they are interested in being more relaxed, enlightened or pain-free, what they really say is, “Right now, I am not okay, I can’t accept where I am at”.

But with practice, we discover that eliminating the drive for results can yield something like what we want; better awareness of our natural psychic balance, despite the unbalance. Acceptance becomes a key that unlocks the door to enlightenment.

If we are teaching meditation and mindfulness it is essential to embody this concept of natural innate balance in the face of students who come to us results driven, wanting to get somewhere, anywhere, other than where they are at right now.

But befriending ourselves right now is prelude to an enlightenment that germinates naturally, without force, flourishing under the right conditions that meditation and mindfulness create.

The teacher’s own practice and talk should embrace the knowledge and confidence that a willingness to accept all student’s innate ability for mindfulness creates a global climate that conducts growth and inhibits scepticism, doubt or inhibition.

Awareness within Mindfulness

eating with fingersPaying attention to the moment by moment process of eating, we notice the touch of food or drink entering our mouths – its taste, texture, aroma, the sounds of chewing and swallowing, contemplating the body’s eventual reaction to what we have eaten.

When we extend that awareness to everything connected to that food – the meal itself, the emotional connection we have to that particular food, the economic, social and physical aspect of growing and harvesting- we are standing in the realm of awareness.

Awareness can give insight into our future experience by simultaneously creating acceptance, plus the motivation to make changes. Awareness isn’t something we make by meditating. Like mindfulness, it’s already available as part of human inheritance, if we only seek it.

Take five minutes to notice your breathing. Then, let your mind settle on something personal you like; a favourite shirt, a food, whatever. Spend a few minutes noticing the sensations created that arouse you.

Now choose a person that you like, letting your emotions rise and fall. Let their characteristics and qualities come into mind. Keep going until you tire of making the list. Notice how some negative qualities appear. Now pay attention to the types of judgements you have made. Notice, are they harsh or hasty. What does an honest judgement feel like?

cat to tigerEach of us lives in two worlds – the subjective inner world of who we think we are, and the objective outer world, of who others see us as.

As in the story of the Rainmaker, the differences between inner and outer reality can be a source of unbalance.  Everyone experiences periods of unbalance – a personal “drought” of no creativity, no money, vacant friendship, sex or love.

Friends suggest: “What you need is a change…”, meaning a change to the objective reality, ranging from a new hairstyle/colour, different employment, breaking up, or divorce. These seem more “real” than inner change because outward change can be measured, proven, confirmed by others.

But despite our obvious change, and our intelligence, resourcefulness, perseverance, and best conscious efforts, we suffer the drought a little longer. We become overextended on outer change and undernourished on inner change. Now we really suffer outwardly and inwardly, becoming conflicted. Disoriented. Discouraged. Disturbed. Anxious. Angry. Bitter. Negative. Confused. Unconscious. We think we are in a bad luck trap… but the exit door is wide open, if only we look in the right direction.

Like fate, we think of luck as a random aspect of reality outside ourselves, completely beyond our control. But bad luck can be seen as a lack of balance between our inner and outer view of reality. And synchronizing subjective and objective reality is called synchronicity, which can be adjusted by the self.

Synchronicity transcends “magical thinking” or New Age metaphysical philosophies. Breaking bad luck is achieved by redirecting efforts to change. Adopting a different attitude. Redirecting energy and time inwardly, rather than outwardly.

Having embraced the truth in reality, reality embraces and supports us. We may not always get what we want. But we begin to get what we truly need. We are now in the right place at the right time. We have followed the way of the Rainmaker. We are back in the Tao. Nature does the rest. Life flows. And the interminable, unendurable drought, at least for now, is ended


tao-4Legend has it that Carl Jung, proponent of analytical psychology, never tired of telling this story illustrative of synchronicity.

Before the time of Confucius, in a mountain village in China, the residents suffered the most severe drought in memory.  No one was permitted water for bathing or washing. People’s faces showed the strain and dirt, their clothing turned dusty, hands stained and greasy, feet caked with dirt.

Crops died under a cloudless sky. Mice and rats deserted the now empty granary. Dust devils whirled through deserted streets, propelled by despair.

Finally, the village elders decided to send a runner through the mountains to the sea, to fetch a professional rainmaker. The villagers voiced their doubts, but the elders summoned their best athlete and a ration of the remaining food and water was given for the journey. A sentry was posted on the trail to watch for the runner’s return.

Days stretched into weeks, when late one afternoon the sentry shouted the runner was seen. Behind him there jolted a rickety litter carried by four footmen. All the villagers gathered to welcome them, curious to see a real rainmaker.

The people were surprised to see a wizened and frail old man part the curtains of the litter and step weakly to the ground. All was hushed, as the villagers could not believe their eyes, having prejudged the rainmaker must be young, robust and handsome.

Immediately, the old man instructed the elders to prepare their best house for his use. Furthermore, he ordered a cook to deliver meals at dusk and dawn for five days, setting them just inside the door, and commanded the people to muffle their feet with rags, keep their dogs and livestock indoors, and not to disturb him for any reason.

The chastened villagers anxiously gathering to wait a respectful distance from the assigned house. The first two days there was no improvement for rain. As the third day passed sunny and cloudless some people began to speculate on the rainmaker’s abilities, but on the morning of the fourth day, dark clouds appeared on the horizon. Clouds massed directly over the village and on the morning of the fifth day, a steady rain began to fall just as the rainmaker emerged.

The villagers came close and cheered, but were too polite to ask the rainmaker what he had done to cause the rain, until one little girl broke away from the crowd and tugged on his kimono.

“Oh, most gracious rainmaker, what did you do to make this rain?” she asked.

Smiling and bending down to whisper in the girl’s ear, he said, “I am not responsible for making the rain. I come from across the mountains, where all is in order, all is balanced.”

“What you had in your village, I could feel it in myself  was a loss of balance, disharmony. The weather also was unbalanced too much dry, not enough wet.”, he said.

“All I did was take time and effort to harmonize myself, become in perfect balance.”

“When I came into harmony within, all external forces also came into alignment, attuned with the Tao, so now nature will do the rest, and bring you a good balance of wet and dry.”