I am glad that I’ve been keeping up with Sharon Salzberg’s 28-day meditation challenge. I couldn’t have asked for a better meditation teacher. She has the finest details of the practice, which most people wouldn’t even be able to put their fingers on, available to us. Today’s was amazing – she wanted us to pinpoint that moment when our minds wander off from being mindful of our breath. She instructed us to notice how we talk to ourselves when our minds wander off. Who would think to do that on their own? I’ve gotten much better at treating myself kindly, as I have been working consciously towards that throughout my entire adult life. A couple of decades to erase the all out war on my being that my parents (subconsciously) waged against me when I was a completely defenseless infant. How critical it is to work at identifying those subconscious thoughts that hijack our ability to live life to the fullest. To catch them and bring them into the daylight of our conscious mind is to gain the POWER to help ourselves climb out of whatever rut we’re trapped in and get one step closer to understanding our true selves.
There must be layers of consciousness, from the fully conscious all the way through the borderline between the conscious and subconscious, and finally the fully subconscious – just like there are layers of skin. In today’s Meditation challenge, Sharon directs us to that subconscious layer that borders the first fully conscious layer so that we can bring it into full view. We have so many thoughts that we’re not aware of that drive our moods. What incredible power to catch one of these thoughts – like catching an elusive butterfly. How delightful. Now that we’ve caught the butterfly, we can see it’s intricate beauty as the sun shines right through it’s wings and identify it for what it really is. Or this thought may not be a beautiful butterfly – it could also be thought of as a splinter that’s been stuck under the most superficial layers of our skin. What a relief to pull that thing out, even if it’s a bit painful. In extracting that splinter, we might even bleed a little, but the magic of our bodies is that they heal – and so can our hearts and minds.