Wed, Apr 18, 2012
BESIDES ITS MEANING in Tibetan, to meditate in Sanskrit means “to cultivate self.” I especially like this definition because of the metaphorical possibilities it offers—for example, gardening or agriculture. When you cultivate the soil, you take the packed-down earth that has been lying fallow for a while and you churn it up with a spade or other implement. You expose “new” dirt and nutrients, making it easier for seeds to germinate and for tender shoots to take root. Cultivation may also require you to remove plants from the previous season, attend to weeds that went unnoticed, and remove any rocks that rose to the surface by natural sifting.
Thus, last season’s plants might represent your past creations derived from the thoughts, actions, and emotions that define the old, familiar you. Weeds could signify long-standing attitudes, beliefs, or perceptions about yourself that are subconsciously undermining your efforts, which you hadn’t noticed because you were too distracted by other things. And the rocks can symbolize your many layers of personal blocks and limitations (which naturally rise to the surface over time and block your growth). All these need tending to so you can make room to plant a new garden in your mind. Otherwise, if you planted a new garden or crop without proper preparation, it would yield little fruit.
My hope is that you will come to understand that it is impossible to create any new future when you are rooted in your past. You have to clear away the old vestiges of the garden (of the mind) before you can cultivate a new self by planting the seeds of new thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that create a new life.
The other key thing is to ensure that this doesn’t happen haphazardly: we’re not talking about plants in the wild, which scatter seeds roughshod over the ground, with some tiny percentage of them eventually coming to fruition. Instead, to cultivate requires making conscious decisions—when to till the soil, when to plant, what to plant, how each of the items planted will work in harmony with the others, how much water and food to mix in, and so forth. Planning and preparation are essential to the success of the endeavor. This requires our daily “mindful attention.”
Similarly, when we talk about someone cultivating an interest in a particular subject, we mean that he has thoughtfully researched that area of interest. Also, a cultivated person is someone who has carefully chosen what to expose herself to and who has amassed a breadth of knowledge and experience. Again, none of this is done on a whim, and little is left to chance.
When you cultivate anything, you are seeking to be in control. And that’s what is required when you change any part of your self. Instead of allowing things to develop “naturally,” you intervene and consciously take steps to reduce the likelihood of failure. The purpose behind all of this effort is to reap a harvest. When you cultivate a new personality in meditation, the abundant yield you seek to create is a new reality.
Creating a new mind is like cultivating a garden. The manifestations you produce from the garden of your mind will be just like crops from the earth’s soil. Tend well.
Joe Dispenza, D.C., the author of Evolve Your Brain, studied biochemistry at Rutgers University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree with an emphasis in neuroscience. One of the scientists, researchers, and teachers featured in the award-winning film What the BLEEP Do We Know!?, Dr. Joe has lectured in more than 24 different countries, on six continents, educating people about the functions of the human brain. He has taught thousands how to reprogram their thinking through scientifically proven neurophysiological principles.