The Power of Silence
I wanted to share the concept of “selective watering” which is a mindfulness idea that I picked up from Thich Naht Hanh.
Selective watering refers to ideas and concepts in the mind.
It’s quite widely accepted that the mind can be split into the conscious, the bits that you are presently aware of, and subconscious, the parts that are beyond your present awareness.
Those two areas split by 8% being conscious and a massive 92% being subconscious.
In Buddhist psychology they talk about the dominant area we focus on (in our conscious mind) as the zone of energy.
The zone of energy grows from a seed in the subconscious to a living thing in the conscious and it’s only because we have watered this seed that it has grown.
There is the potential for us to water any seed and we all have the seeds to hatred, anger and greed along with peace, calm and love, amongst many, many others within our subconscious.
If you’re experiencing emotions and feelings that you don’t want to in your awareness, your zone of energy, then that is because you’ve been watering the seeds of these things in the subconscious for long enough and they have grown into full blown “weeds”.
These seeds might also have a path of least resistance and become so easy for you to access and therefore experience because perhaps the seeds have been watered right from as far back as you can remember and even before that, by family.
There is however something I call the “mother seed”. The mother seed is the seed of mindfulness and you can use the mindfulness seed to regain peace and calm amidst stormy weather within.
This is why mindful consumption is so important. Are you consuming news, TV, radio or books that are watering the things you don’t want in life or are they watering what you do want?
For example if you feel like you have to watch the news to keep up to date with all the negative stories don’t be surprised if you’re full of anxiety, fear and worry.
To water the mother seed of mindfulness and restore peace within I teach five simple options:
1 – Mindful breathing – can be done anywhere, anytime and is as simple as breathing in and saying, “I’m aware of my in breath”, as you feel the air coming in through your nose. Then breathing out and saying, “I’m aware of my out breath”, as you feel the warmer air coming out through your nose.
This simple act is restoring your mind-body connection, that is, bringing your mind back to your body.
You might do this each time your phone rings, you take a mindful breath in and out before answering, for example.
2 – Mindful walking – another easy access concept. Any time you walk you can count your steps and breathe in for three of four and then count three or four on the way out as your exhale.
You could simply say each time you walk up stairs you will do this, or each day on the way to or home from work.
3 – Mindful consumption – drinking a cup of tea or glass of water gives you another opportunity to bring your mind back to your body and practice mindfulness.
With each sip hold the liquid in your mouth for a second, become fully aware of it and follow it down as you swallow.
4 – Meditation – this is the one that people jump straight into but sometimes have a hard time sticking with for the long term.
Seated meditation is great and there are lots of guided meditations you can try. Personally I would be tempted to go for one of the first three options before jumping in here, however.
5 – Day of mindfulness – on a day when it is usually more relaxed and calm (Sunday for example), you can choose to do everything that day with slow, conscious awareness and really integrate mind and body.
This takes the first four options above and combines them with all your daily activities. I have done this a few times and really feel the benefit at the end of the day. I have felt more energy and deeper sleep that night.