a quiet mind
Why is a quiet mind essential to health?
Reaction of the mind to the emotional field stagnates the embryological organizing forces that not only create our life, but continue to maintain it long after birth. Embryology is mostly associated with in utero gestation -the original organization of life- yet in life we continue to have cell birth, death and organization that is guided by these same influences: we never stop being born. The forces that allow us to exist as individual entities in this vast universe come with powerful consequences.
With the creation of our individual consciousness we enter into the field of emotion. The presence of emotion is inherent to individual consciousness, the movement that organizes life is tied to emotional states. Emotions are neither bad or good, they just simply are. It is how we react and engage these emotions that has the greatest impact on our health. When we react to these emotional and mental states with craving and aversion, we change the organization and flow of our life force. The mind is the greatest consumer of energy in the body, taking up 1/5 of the energy we produce. Our vital energy is essential, delicate and finite, we must understand the necessity of its preservation.
These powerful forces that are responsible for positive movement and organization of life can become derailed in an instant moving life in the opposite direction, away from organization towards disorganization. There are always two sides to the coin, we can’t possess the positive aspects without accepting the risk and liability of their powerful actions becoming unbalanced and working against us. In every moment we make choices that decide the course these currents will take. The balance is extremely delicate.
In the formation of the identity of the individual we become exposed to consequence of this structure. The positive aspects of our creation of the body-mind/ego is counter weighted by our exposure to habitual negative emotional reaction: passion, fear, anger, anxiety, sadness and worry. These emotions are tied to our identity, physiology and the organization of our life. Light and shadow are not separate they are only different aspects of the same, you can not have one without the other. This is the profound and ironic truth of life. Emotions are the natural outcome of our individual consciousness. This "I" becomes a precious thing and full of attachments, which opens the door to anger, fear, anxiety, passion, worry and ultimately loss. We must accept emotions presence. The mechanisms that grants us an individual physical and psychological structure, comes with attachment to our creation of self and make us vulnerable to a life of tension and fear.
The aspects of development presented here as the 5-phases of Chinese Medicine: potential (water), growth (wood), expression (fire), decay (metal) and integration (earth) are essential forces or qualities to the building, organization and maintenance of life. These vibrational forces establish boundaries, direct organ physiology, and sculpt our anatomy.
Potential (water) has to move out into the unknown. The single cell divides into the unknown infinity. This movement into the unknown is fear.
Growth (wood) requires strength to meet obstacles. At the first cell division at the last moment there is a push and a snap to separate one into two, this is the strength of anger pushing life to greater organization.
Expression/passion (fire), the highest manifestation of life, is the loss of control. In expression we cannot guarantee connection and understanding, we must surrender. This loss of control is anxiety.
Decay (metal) is essential for life. Without the death of millions of cells we would be born with blobs as hands and have no fingers. Without death there cannot be life. This loss is sadness.
Integration (earth) provided the processing necessary to hold all things together. Holding together the whole is worry.
From this we must see that fear, anger, anxiety, sadness and worry are life, they are inescapable and essential to us, we use them as tools, yet all to easily they fall out of balance and become extremely dangerous. Emotions are boundaries that delineate “me” and “I” from the wholeness of universe. One of the most difficult things to accept is that our positive response to life derives a cost as well, passion and excitement can be easily become excessive, which result in consumption and diminishment. Follow any emotion, “positive” or “negative”, to its root and you see it is always in defense or enhancement to the protection and propagation of the image of “I”, “me” and “mine”.
Our “separation” from the rest of the universe is one only of perspective, a perspective delusion and illusion, the tension of this ignorance is expressed in the wailing of emotion. Tension is to be expected because this separation is an illusionary state and vast of amounts of energy are required to maintain our individuality, both physically and mentally. Emotions are not inherently bad, they just are. They are the context that allows for “I” and “me” to exist.
It is when we allow the mind to blindly react in repression, inflation, definition, clinging, suppression or denial of the feeling or sensation of an emotion is where the trouble begins. These powerful forces easily overwhelm us and their benefit is quickly transformed into liability. When we give blind reaction and engage these powerful emotions we derail the embryological/universal forces that organize and maintain life.
The pathways and energy that organize the body and maintain health are rerouted to the mind to fuel these reactions and physical tension in the body. These habitual reactions, both mental and physical, stagnant energy into ruts of tension and life’s organization becomes disorganized. Now, imagine disorganization of the embryo in utero and the damaging consequences that result in the form of birth defects and, understand that while the consequences are not as immediate and dramatic, disorganization of the life maintaining pathways cause the same result: disorganization, subsequently malfunction, disorder and disease.
Instead of accepting emotions presence we wrestle with with our thoughts, we define, rationalize and build these simple impermanent feelings/sensations into massive intellectual permanent structures of tension and reaction that we then have to carry around with us. We have mistaken “I” and “me” as permanent, so we give all our power to these emotional states. In this we give away the power of our life force to our thoughts and mental reactions, robbing our tender physiology of these subtle forces that maintain their function and health. This simple crossroad is essential to understand on the path to health.
We do not live in a vacuum, we live in contact with the world through our six sense doors (vision, taste, smell, sound, touch, and thought.) As events occurs, the deeper aspects of our mind -beneath the conscious mind- recognizes through these points of contact that something has happened; a smell is smelled, a thought has arisen, an image seen, etc. With lighting speed we give a biased evaluation based on our memories of the past. We instantly force the moment into the category of good or bad and blindly engage in craving for wanted things and aversion for unwanted things. From the evaluation sensations of the associated response arising in the body, pleasant or unpleasant. The final step is our blind reaction to these temporary impermanent sensations, is reacting within our context/habit pattern of life; anger, anxiety, worry, sadness or fear. Emotional reaction is the mechanism of defense of “I” and “me”, the ego structure. From here we are caught in endless pattern of sensation and reaction and life becomes a habit of tension that defines a life of misery.
The roots of these emotional patterns lay in the depth of the mind. They are like volcanos, sleeping impurities of tension in the depth of mind, they store all the defilements of the past and with slight provocation they release and the mind is overwhelmed. When we experience an emotion, say anger, the mind remembers all the anger of the past and brings it into the current moment and fuels a chain reaction, to the point we are no longer sure what triggered the initial response. We are lost. This is where we become hostage to a learned conditioned mental pattern, our emotional reaction to not getting our way. With the powerful fuel of emotion our mind loses its balance completely.
This all happens in an instant and our conscious mind is completely unaware of this chain of events. There is a constant unending storm occurring at the depth of our mind, just beneath the surface layer of our conscious mind. We live a life of blind reaction and tension, completely unaware that we are ultimately master of these storms.
Some feelings will be attached to things/events in our life that do need action/attention, but it is essential to know the difference between taking action versus blind reaction. Take care of what needs our attention in life do not deny our obstacles, but do not blow them out of proportions letting it spiral out of control in a storm of reaction and mental fire.
We must feel our emotions when they arise. In the relative world of “I” and “Me” if someone we love passes, sadness is a natural response and allows us to connect to the love we have for this person. By no mean is this essay saying that we shouldn’t feel these powerful forces, but that vast majority of the time we do not feel our emotions, but instead we intellectualize our emotions, allowing our mind to hijack and stagnate these powerful force. We all too oftensay “ I am so emotional” but in reality what we are calling emotion is actually the thinking about emotions vs. actually feeling the physical manifestation of these powerful forces. To really experience the reality of an emotion is simply to feel it at the physical level without engaging in contemplation, intellectualization, imagination or fantasy, to feel, to actually feel what is. To sit with these sensations is extremely difficult and easily over powers the balance of the mind. We must also be aware of sensations when we feel the bliss of pleasure, passion and joy. In this awareness we must maintain balance though acceptance of theimpermanence and un-sustainability of this state . It is all too easy to mistake pleasure for happiness.
If we do not want to become slaves to our emotions we must sit with them in objective observation, a quiet mind, to allow them their full expression so they may pass away like the river that is flowing by.
The key to understand is that life force and emotions are tied, they are one. If we engage in mental reaction to our emotions we reroute this life giving force and deny our body its regulation and nourishment, which is why an unbalanced mind is the birth place of disease. The mind consumes 20 percent of the energy our body produces. The more agitated and attached it becomes the more energy it consumes. If we do not engage in combat with what is and accept it for what it is, which is impermanent sensations, then this force is left unrestricted and there is not a sliver of tension in the body and this universal force will automatically organize, regulate, and nourish life. This is a vibrational force that is responsible for all life, we must simply quiet our mind and get out of the way. The breath is the gift that comes with the burden of our consciousness. Through breath, meditation, we can still the mind, releasing vast amounts of energy to nourish the body and let the spirit soar.
There is a health that runs deeper than our persona. What would anger, fear, worry, anxiety, and sorrow be without “I” and “me”?
This is not high philosophy, this is something we all experience. If you are agitated how do you feel physically? The mind and body are one, if there is tension in the mind there is tension in the body and vise versa. Tension blocks and re-routes the flow of life. This disorganization is what we have labeled disease and pathology.
Do not suppress, do not inflate, just observe.