Meditation as a space for healing
The Conscious Mind and embedding of reaction / action – social learning.
The conscious mind is the brains cognitive centre. It is where we process information and where we spend the majority of our time. It is our place of day to day work, play and relax. The design of the brain is to learn and imprint important life lessons which we need for survival. Survival is about making sense of the world around us and learning what behaviors keep us safe. We learn or are taught to listen or look for certain events that represent danger to us physically, emotionally or mentally. Alternatively we are taught that certain events that bring us success, happiness or plentifulness. So we learn to escape, avoid or mitigate events that impact on us negatively or to seek events that impact on us positively. In a nutshell, yes / no, good / bad, enjoyable / harmful.
Our brain communicates these events and the outcomes of these events via pathways and chemical reactions which flow through the mind and the body. The pathways with repeated behaviour become freeways / motorways of the brain, where we learn once the event happens, that this is the path or the appropriate reaction to take to elicit the correct. that is, learnt response. The event becomes a trigger. Once the trigger occurs, either something we see, hear or feel then the brain immediately without conscious thought begins our response. We start to have automatic responses to certain triggers or responses.
The learning of the triggers is by experience or experimentation, observation (both active and passive taught) and active teaching. Unfortunately for us, these triggers are not time bound, so they remain relevant to us in the present, regardless of their relevance or acceptance in the current or in the future. Time does exist in the conscious mind, but it is not contextual to the learning of yes / no, right / wrong, good/ bad.
Therefore we have a tendency to hold on to our early learning and keep this as our constant framework for behaviour, evaluation and decision making, throughout out life, regardless of how much our life changes. In our current environment of ever changing and fast moving situations, if we hold on to our original learning about yes / no, with blind acceptance, that this is a fundamental truth of the world and my response to the world, therefore my place in the world, we remain fixed.
While there is comfort in staying fixed and rooted to your foundation understanding of the world, there is equal value and perhaps more value in being able to move your thinking into the present context of your life and how you want to live and experience this life
For most of us, once the trigger and the response is ingrained in the conscious mind we do not question the origins or validity of that response until we are forced to evaluate the event, our response and why we are triggered that way.
The reason we are forced to re-evaluate is many, but usually:
- we realize that our response is not working, often with the help of receiving the wrong outcome to our auto response. The response is damaging us, rather than protecting us. ( repeated or strong negative feedback.)
- we suffer as a result of our behaviour. (we hurt someone of something we love)
- we are taught a new way to think, consider advertising, especially political or social messages.
- we are unable to undertake the triggered response. ( your loss of speech.)
The realization that our old behavior or thought patterns is damaging is, that is, us recognizing the impact of the behaviour and taking responsibility for the creation of the event, sits uncomfortably with most of us. Even in the most drastic of circumstances, we must be willing to accept that perhaps our behaviour or former behaviour was a not serving us well in the current circumstances of our life.
This is the opportunity that meditation offers us. It offers the opportunity to take us into a space, within the subconscious where we do not have the judgements of the subconscious mind. They do not reside in the subconscious, only the conscious mind. In the subconscious mind there is no judgement, where we do not judge and are not judged. Here we are safe to begin the process of evaluating our we are assessing our lifes, our life events and our thoughts and behaviours that we have been taught and that we live by. Are they relevant to the person we wish to be.
Please note: Professional Coaching and Counseling is a most important aspect to help us assess our behaviour and to make the changes. I am not advocating meditation above or beyond either of these aspects. It depends completely on your own circumstances and the current state of your wellbeing. In some circumstances you will need additional assistance to create the right environment within the functioning of the brain and within your own willingness to go down the path of reviewing your fundamental truths.
The Lotus flower is a powerful image in Buddhism and Hinduism as a symbol of transformation. Rising from the mud, traveling through the murky water to reach the sun. Once it has reached the sun, the flower blooms, resting on the water and bathing in the beauty of the suns rays.