Inviting Mindfulness to the House of Consciousness

see thru hseThink of our conscious mind as occupying a house. The ground floor living room is where we live consciously day to day, entertaining ourselves and friends. We like to be there.

Think of the basement as our ‘stored consciousness’…  a repository where we keep many unused things, including troublesome emotions from the past.

Troublesome emotions are stored dormant feelings, like seeds waiting for the right conditions to sprout. If we entertain these emotional seeds without conscious thinking, as if we should feed and water them, they do sprout, growing up through the basement ceiling. They show up in the living room as plants of anger, fear and resentments.

Untouched by our inventory, seeds of these old hurts gradually morph into snarled mutant seeds not resembling the originals. If we neglect to examine our inventory of seeds they further accumulate crystallized lumps of suffering. This is how stored consciousness affects our view of today and others in our living room.

The living room contains our ‘mind consciousness’. The living room is where we conduct our daily activities and enjoyments. The living room contains our conscious perception of what is going on around us, and how we interact with it. The living room contains today… what is here and now. Being present, aware in the moment is mindfulness.

Much goes on with everyone in the living room. Someone says or does something that touches a seed of fear, anger or jealousy in the stored consciousness in the basement. That touched seed awakens anew.

Mutant carrotSprouted, if we neglect or deny the basement sprouts, they grow into the living room,  showing up as revolting mutant plants not resembling the original.

If we allow them to spread, they infect us, spreading to the guests we have touched.

Now, everyone is suffering.

If we are mindful of this sprouted seed of negative energy from the stored consciousness (basement resentments) we can invite the energy of mindfulness to the living room, overcoming the invasive growth from the basement.

Applied mindfulness helps inventory which seed in the basement is causing the trouble, to dispose of it. Mindfulness allows us to refuse to feed or water the seeds we have failed to  examine. Mindfulness clears the living room of negativity and resentment, enabling enjoyment of life and happiness.

What’s in your “basement”?


Managing Strong Emotions

flooded riverManaging our stream of strong emotions is like having charge of maintaining and channeling a powerful river.

If we fail to look after the river by clearing away debris and removing obstacles to the natural flow of water, then over time there will be log jams, overflow of the riverbanks, and uncontrollable flooding that destroys or hurts the surrounding environment.

Like the river, if we fail to manage our daily flow of emotions, if we allow them to accumulate by repressing or denying their troubling nature, if we distract ourselves from painful emotions with television, video games, drugs or alcohol, then eventually the buildup threatens to overflow our boundaries or banks.

Like the neglected river, our emotions then overflow, breaking the banks and  log jams we have allowed to accumulate through neglect or denial, causing suffering to others, and compounding our own frustration, fear and anger. Like being the diligent custodian of a river, Meditation has proven to help manage the flow of our emotions and it does this in a two-stage aspect.

We have learned that meditation involves primarily pausing the mindlessness of our distracting lifestyle for a period. Because this aspect is what most people have difficulty achieving, yoga and mediation teachers have strived for ways to impart a method to their students to achieve this. Controlled breathing is often cited as a prelude to this state of mindfulness, so I offer my own samples to method on this Link.

The second aspect of mediation involves looking deeply while in the state of mindfulness. This state brings with it enough energy to discover the true nature and origin of the thoughts, emotions and feelings that we experience during mindlessness. By discovering the truth, we are able to direct those troubling thoughts and feelings toward  love, compassion and understanding of ourselves and others.

The trouble with emotions and feelings is, some of them are so powerful we think we can’t survive them, so we deny (or repress) them until they explode, causing hurt and suffering to ourselves and others.

Simplified, emotions come, stay for a while, and then leave. Prolonging the “stay” interval through resentments and obsessing, or through distraction or denial, causes a logjam of needless suffering that will eventually overflow unmanageably, but if we practice looking deeply while mindful, we can uproot the sources of painful emotions.

If we know how to breathe our way to mindfulness for periods of 20 minutes or so, then the chaos will roll away, leaving us with awareness that we can survive the storm.

If we practice emotional maintenance, we can experience surviving strong emotions and we can rest assured that the next time they come, we can survive them again.