By Jakeb Brock
One of the most basic laws of physics involves the physical reality that a vessel can only hold a certain amount of content (whether solid, liquid, gas or energy) before it fills to capacity. Once at capacity, any attempt to add new content will fail unless some of the previous substance is emptied out. This same law comes into play as we explore new depths
When practicing mindfulness, it does not take long for us to observe the various characteristics that consistently color our thinking and emoting. We might acknowledge a certain train of thought as dominantly anxious or troubled. Eventually, after observing such qualities about our thoughts and emotions, we may wish we could do something to change or eradicate them. This desire to interact with our perceived inner workings constitutes a second phase to the practice of mindfulness. First comes observation; then comes the interactive impulse.
There are different stages or levels of interaction. At first, we tend to target a particular thought or emotion, judge it as undesirable, and then try to change or delete it. After a while, we may begin to feel overwhelmed with this singular approach. The more attuned we become, the more we realize that most of our conditioned thoughts and emotions are undesirable.
To further compound this dilemma, we realize that the good thoughts and emotions that we wish to have are being kept at arm’s length by the physical law of capacity replacement. We come to understand that our inner world is like a vessel—one that when filled to the brim with troublesome conditioned thoughts and emotions has no capacity to take in any new content. This can be a discouraging realization, but there’s good news. The emptying of our psyche’s vessel can be achieved by an act of our own interactive consciousness. When it seems as though our good is being withheld from us, it’s not because of some whim on behalf of the universal life force. Rather, it is because we have not emptied out the toxic content of our conditioned minds. All we have to do is to empty ourselves out. The filling takes place according to universal law.
The practice of mindfulness often reveals this disconcerting reality: our thoughts and emotions are not really our own. This is because we are all products of our infantile conditioning. This is not a case of an occasional isolated conditioned thought or emotion. Our conditioning has effectually commandeered our entire mental apparatus and has taken over our identity somewhere along the way.
Instead of our thoughts and emotions being representative of our true self, they belong to an identity that was imposed upon us in childhood—a cloned version of the collective human entity with all of its common fears, beliefs and reality views transmitted via human culture. That is why it is often referred to as “cultural conditioning.” Logically then, the stronger and more confident the collective entity is in its cultural indoctrination, the more overpowering our infantile conditioning will be. We are living in a time when our cultural conditioning is stronger than ever before.
There is no such thing as one correct reality view. There is your individual view; there is my individual view, and there are seven billion other reality views; all of which are valid and correct. The onslaught of cultural conditioning renders our individual views as hopelessly neglected and undeveloped. We yield to the collective mindset and consider it to be the only valid reality view.
Our true reality view has its origins in our individual perceptions, and this function of a human being is impossible to clone. Every individual in our world, if allowed to perceive things freely, would have a totally unique reality view. Through infantile conditioning, this uniqueness is squelched. The practice of mindfulness acts like the antidote to conditioning. It allows us to first observe the conditioned state of our inner world. Then it empowers us to interact with our mental apparatus and successfully reprogram it. The interactive impulse inherent in the practice of mindfulness sets us free as individuals to be fully ourselves.
The one catch to all this is that our conditioning tends to be so deeply ingrained that it takes a strong display of authority to root it out and unseat it. It does not leave easily but must be commanded to do so by a strong interactive impulse. Observation is a necessary first step in this equation. Before we can do anything, we must shine the light of awareness on our habitual inner workings and expose them. We must make the unconscious conscious. To be set free, we must go one step further and act out the role of authoritarian.
Spiritual authority is different than the kind of authority we see commonly accepted in the world. It has nothing whatsoever to do with worldly accreditations—nothing to do with diplomas, letters following one’s name, or years of experience in a certain field. True spiritual authority comes through enlightened consciousness expansion and development. Once our consciousness has been thusly imbued, we will be able to detect a new authority inherent in all our dealings, especially those of an inward nature.
Without true authority behind it, our interactive impulse may meet with resistance. Our conditioned mindset will be reluctant to give way and vacate. Even when this is the case, we can be assured that we are on the right track. The important work—recognizing that our conditioned self is not who we really are—has been done and leaving our conditioning behind is only a matter of time and persistence.
Once we have gained the necessary authority, we will find that we can move mountains with our interactive impulse. We can then practice pouring out our conditioned self with all of its residual aspects daily. We will be able to experience our psyche’s vessel being emptied out and subsequently filled with the elixir of goodness and new life—the substance of the benign universal life force that pulsates through our world.
This same wonderful practice will bring us yet another benefit. It will plug up all the places in our psyche where vital life energies have been consistently draining out of us. This draining is the result of our conditioning’s fearful, anxious and bitter composition. These negatively charged psychic energies have had free rein within us and have inundated our psyche’s membrane with holes. They act like an acid-based compound that burns through whatever substance they come into contact with. That is why so many people suffer from chronic illnesses, listlessness and fatigue. They simply have no gas in their tanks. Their gas (vital life energy) has been steadily draining away for years.
But our authoritative interactive impulse immediately plugs up the acid holes in our psyche, thereby putting an end to the drain. The more we practice emptying our vessel of our former conditioning and letting the universe fill it with new life, the more neutralized and sweet our thoughts and emotions become. Our inner world is then both shored up and renewed so that we are free to be our unique individual selves.
The universal life force moves in to fill us anew without any prompting on our part. We need not pray, plead or even ask. It happens automatically based on the created laws of physics. Our part is only to follow the interactive impulse inherent in the second phase of our practice of mindfulness, to confront our conditioned mindset and put it to flight.