The Interactive Impulse
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 full capacity, at which point any attempt to add new content to that vessel will fail unless some of the previous substance is emptied out. This same law often comes into play within the human psyche, as we explore new depths of consciousness.
When practicing mindfulness, it does not take long for us to begin to observe and delineate the various qualities and characteristics that consistently color our thinking and emoting. For example, we might acknowledge a certain train of thought as dominantly anxious or troubled. Or we might take note of a certain emotion’s strength and vehemence. Eventually, after observing such qualities about our thoughts and emotions we may wish we could do something to change or even 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, our tendency will probably be to target a particular thought or emotion, judge it as undesirable, and proceed to try to change or delete it. But after a while we may begin to feel overwhelmed with this singular approach. For, the more attuned we become through mindfulness, the more we realize that most, if not all, of our conditioned thoughts and emotions are undesirable.
To further compound this dilemma it dawns on us at some point that the good thoughts and emotions we would wish to have are somehow 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. Thus the good we would prefer moving in is blocked. This can be a discouraging realization, but there is good news. The emptying of our psyche’s vessel can be achieved by an act of our own interactive consciousness, while the good content we would like to see replace our conditioned mindset floods in automatically, without any effort on our part. In other words, when it seems as though our good is being withheld from us, it is not because of some whim or caprice on behalf of the universal life force. Rather it is because we have not emptied out the toxic content of our conditioned mind. All we have to do is to empty ourselves out. The filling takes place according to universal law. Let us then examine this amazing dynamic a little more closely.
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. Furthermore, this is not a case of an occasional isolated conditioned thought or emotion. Rather our conditioning has effectually commandeered our entire mental apparatus. This means that our conditioned mind has somewhere along the way also taken over our identity.
Therefore instead of our thoughts and emotions being representative of our true self they belong to an identity that was imposed upon us in our childhood. Who or what is this identity? It is a cloned version of the collective human entity, with all of its common fears, beliefs, and reality views. How is it transmitted? Through the vehicle of 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. And as most historians would agree, we are living in a time when the cultural conditioning that has shaped us is stronger than ever before. How can we be sure of this? Because during no other time period has there been a common reality view upheld by all world citizens, such as there is in our day.
In truth, 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. But the onslaught of cultural conditioning renders our individual views as hopelessly neglected and undeveloped. Thus 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 perception, 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. But through infantile conditioning this uniqueness is squelched. The practice of mindfulness, on the other hand, 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. In this way 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 in our psyche that it takes a strong display of authority to root it out and unseat it. In other words, 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, because before we can do anything we must shine the light of awareness in on our habitual inner workings and expose them. We must make the unconscious conscious. But then to be set free we must go one step further and actually 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 after one’s name, or even years of experience in a certain field of expertise. True spiritual authority comes only 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. But even when this is the case, we can be assured that we are on the right track. The important work of recognizing that our conditioned self is not who we really are has already been done, and getting it to leave is only a matter of time and persistence.
Meanwhile, once we have gained the necessary authority we will find that we are literally able to move mountains with our interactive impulse. We can then practice pouring out our conditioned self with all its residual aspects on a daily basis, which will, in turn, bring us peace of mind like nothing else we have ever done. We will be able to actually 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.
And there’s more. 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 draining out of us on a consistent basis. 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 literally 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. For, their gas, or 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. And 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 self.
The universal life force, upon finding our psyche’s vessel emptied out and its holes shored up, moves in to fill us anew. This it does without any prompting on our part. We need not pray or 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.