Mental Housecleaning


Our Mental Household

As people begin exploring the nature of their consciousness, they often confuse themselves unnecessarily. Being accustomed to thinking in terms of objects and things, they encounter difficulty in fitting together all the invisible and somewhat abstract “pieces” of consciousness.

They would like a picture or map which would clearly show the relationship of values, ideals, self-image, the Higher Self, the subconscious, the unconscious, thoughts, emotions, and habits. Not having such a map, they struggle to make sense of these many elements as best they can.

This confusion can be reduced somewhat by thinking of consciousness as a mental household, a rather large home with many rooms. The inhabitants of this home are our self-image, values, sense of purpose, and talents; it is the sanctuary of the light of the Higher Self on earth.

There is a living room where our conscious thoughts and feelings are expressed, but also many other rooms – a study where we reflect, plan, and formulate our goals; a nursery where we tend our newly-born thought children; a dining room where we take nourishment; and bedrooms where our subconscious and unconscious memories “sleep.”

Ideally, this mental household is tastefully decorated with lovely patterns of beauty and joy, and kept in good repair. It is meant to be a stronghold for our heavenly treasures of talent, quality, and inspiration; a haven in the midst of the pressures and stress of daily living.

And yet, it is not always easy to keep this mental household in perfect condition. It is not a museum, after all; it is an active center of life.

We occasionally track in mud or pile up too much junk in the closet. Old furniture wears out. The contents of the basement become a fire hazard. Appliances break down and must be replaced. From time to time, the whole place needs a fresh coat of paint.

In other words, we get careless in how we treat our mental household.

The mud we track in might be elements of crudity and materialism. The junk in the closet could be useless feelings of anger or rage that we feel we need in order to be a “whole person.” The old furniture would be worn-out habit patterns which served us well many years ago, but no longer. The contents of the basement would be repressed thoughts and emotions in the subconscious. The broken appliances might be skills and talents we have failed to keep up-to-date. The need for a fresh coat of paint would represent a general condition of immaturity.

If we are aware of the problem of carelessness and make a regular effort to keep our mental household in good repair, our household in consciousness will serve us well.

But if we let conditions slide, we may put our mental household in jeopardy. A closet filled with immature attitudes can seriously befoul the atmosphere of the whole household and distort our self-expression. A materialistic or selfish lifestyle can impair our ability to honor the spiritual destiny of the Higher Self.

One of the great uses of the techniques of Active Meditation is to help us become more familiar with the mental household in which we live, and to make those renovations which will permanently improve the structure and quality of our consciousness. In this way, we establish effective control over our behavior, character, and reactiveness, thereby setting the stage for a more enriched self-expression.

Mental Housecleaning

The process of keeping our mental household in good repair is called, appropriately, “mental housecleaning.” It involves recognizing the areas of weakness, imperfection, and deficiency in our character, feelings, and habits, and using the power of the Higher Self to cleanse and update them – replacing them with something new and better, when this is appropriate.

Underlying the idea of mental housecleaning is the fundamental premise that this is our household, and we have a responsibility to act as an intelligent steward or caretaker of it.

If we ignore the inevitable problems which arise, we are not taking proper care of our house.

If we try to absolve ourselves by insisting that the problems which arise are all the fault of someone else, or society, then we are missing a very important point.

This is our household. We have it the whole of our life.

We cannot move out of it or trade it in for a new one. Nor can we reasonably expect anyone else to come in and do our work of renovation for us. It is our responsibility, our personal domain.

So we ought to take good care of it.

The conditions of our mental household directly affect the quality of our life.

If we harbor hostility and rage toward others, we will have to live in the squalor of our anger and resentment. Our acquaintances will begin to find it less than pleasant to “visit” our mental household, and we will slowly become a friendless person.

If we fill our house with competitiveness and greed, we will have to dwell in the atmosphere of jealousy, suspiciousness, and fear these conditions create.

If we are arrogant and rude in dealing with others, we will find that our mental household is under constant attack from without, as people try to tear us down in reprisal for the way we treat them.

In such circumstances, it is not rational to expect anyone else to protect us from these psychological assaults; our only protection is to adopt a more wholesome way of living.

By contrast, if we act with integrity in all that we do, even when it is convenient to act otherwise, we will find that our mental household is well lit by the presence of high ideals.

If we act with consistency and self-discipline at work, we will discover new talents and skills growing in the “sunroom” of our mental household.

If we approach life with a basic willingness to grow, we will constantly be finding new rooms in our mental household we did not even know existed – rooms filled with treasure and promise.

Fortunately, very few people have allowed their mental household to become so overrun with laziness, crudity, rage, or selfishness that it is no longer fit to live in.

But almost everyone does have a number of problem areas in need of major repair and cleaning, many of which keep reappearing, year after year, always bringing with them fresh issues of frustration and disappointment. To the degree that such chronic disaster areas exist in our mental household, they block our better efforts to integrate the Higher Self and the personality.

It is therefore important for any serious student of Active Meditation to learn the basic principles of mental housecleaning.

And take broom and dustpan in hand.

INSPECTING THE PREMISES

The first step in effective mental housecleaning is to inspect the premises of our mental household and find out what is there – what is useful and healthy, what is old and worn out, and what is soiled and needs cleaning.

It does little good to dust off the basically healthy attributes of our character while ignoring the portable disasters which really need our attention, and then believe that we have been hard at work on mental housecleaning. Self-deception is still self-deception, no matter how noble the intent.

It is not always easy to remain objective while inspecting our own mental household, however, for the very simple reason that we are both the examiner and the examined. Nevertheless, a strong intention to be an ethical person who acts in intelligent ways will protect us from much of the temptation to cover up immaturity and difficulty.

The manner in which we pursue our inspection of the premises will also have a great deal to do with the objectivity and usefulness of our findings.

If we distort this examination into a witch hunt, in which we are looking for reasons to dislike ourself, we will do more harm than good.

Likewise, if we approach it apologetically, always finding some excuse for our behavior, we will not make very much progress.

The recommended way to proceed is to try to determine the source of our thoughts, habits, feelings, and memories, why we established these patterns in the first place, and whether or not they serve a useful purpose at present.

Understanding the source of any given pattern of behavior or attitude will help us to see whether or not it is actually a pattern of our own creation, or something which crept in the back door when we were busy elsewhere, or something which was tracked in by visitors and left behind.

By understanding why we accepted or created a pattern of behavior in the first place, we will be better able to judge if this kind of behavior is still serving its intended purpose.

We will also come to appreciate that many attitudes, habits, and thoughts which once were quite useful to us have lost their importance over the years, and need to be revised or eliminated.

There are seven major sources of the contents of our mental household. The first three are all of our own making. They are:

#1. Our childhood experiences

At birth, our mental household is virtually a “blank slate,” empty of any significant personality patterns, attitudes, or habits.

Almost immediately, however, we begin to construct the foundation of our character, modeling ourself on the examples of our parents, siblings, and anyone else who is close to us during our early childhood. What we experience as a child, and how we respond to it, therefore, becomes one of the main sources of the contents of our personal household as an adult.

In order to put our childhood experiences in a proper perspective, however, it is important to remember that childhood is a time of immaturity and naïveté.

As a child, we were prone to misunderstand the full implications of what we were told or what was happening to us.

As a child, we did not have the intelligence, competence, or independence to choose our responses to life with wisdom or self- discipline.

Consequently, habits, attitudes, beliefs, convictions, and feelings which have been left intact since childhood may no longer be appropriate.

As an adult, we need maturity, self-reliance, and a sense of responsibility in order to fully meet the opportunities and challenges which come to us. If we are still clinging to childish preferences, immature reactions, and infantile grudges, we are not satisfactorily honoring the adult within us. We are playing the games of children.

While most adults have revised a substantial portion of their childhood programming, there is frequently an amazing amount of childish nonsense which the average person has not touched.

It can be found in the tendency to fantasize, to make and break commitments lightly, to be excessively oriented toward seeking pleasure, to want to avoid work, and to be easily distracted from purpose and goals.

As we uncover these residual influences of our childhood experiences, it is important to update them and replace them with more mature patterns of behavior. One never becomes an adult by clinging to the child within him.

#2. Our adult experiences

The second major source of the contents for our mental household is, of course, our adult experiences. Every adult has tasted a wide range of experience, some pleasant, some unpleasant; some helpful, some frightening; some educational, some frivolous. Many of these experiences have had a powerful impact on our attitudes, habits, beliefs, convictions, and behavior.

In some instances, this impact has been constructive, helping us to grow and stretch our humanity to greater dimensions.

In other cases, however, it has undermined our self-esteem and blunted our enthusiasm for living. We may have even become embittered.

Often, the changes in attitude and behavior which we make in the aftermath of a certain experience make sense only in the narrow context of that one event – not in the context of our whole life. As we become aware of such cases, it is important to restore a proper sense of balance, so that we do not let anyone circumstance or experience cripple the rest of our self-expression – or block out the light of the Higher Self.

#3. Our hopes, speculations, and dreams about ourself and our life

The final major source of our mental household contents is often ignored, even though it is often the major area for creating trouble for ourself. This is the department where we process all of our experiences for better or worse.

Difficulties can occur as we spend time ruminating on what has been, what might have been, and what may yet be.

Sometimes, this review is worthwhile as we contemplate the past and our prospects and define more enlightened ways to act.

Much of the time, however, it is just idle speculation. We worry that events are not unfolding as they should be. We imagine all manner of terrible possibilities to fear. We fantasize ourself in completely illusory circumstances.

Often, this dream world becomes a more powerful influence on our thinking and behavior than the actual experiences of daily life. As a result, we become obsessed with certain pet assumptions and conclusions, or paralyzed by certain private demons.

Obviously, such influences on our attitudes and behavior are not healthy. As we encounter them, we need to dispel them with common sense.

Each of these three categories represents mental furnishings and goods which are our own to keep or discard.

We have “bought them and taken them home,” and so they have become our full responsibility. If in reviewing them we discover they are no longer useful, then it is up to us to replace them with something better. This is the essence of mental housecleaning.

The next two categories are from sources not of our own making. As such, they will have to be handled somewhat differently than those goods and contents which are truly ours.

These two categories are:

#4. The thoughts and feelings of people we have known

No man is an island unto himself. All of us are constantly influenced by the habits, attitudes, prejudices, and beliefs of the people with whom we associate.

Sometimes this influence is direct, as in the case of an employee who adopts the philosophy and work habits of a supervisor he admires – or another employee who rejects the philosophy and work habits of a supervisor he despises.

At other times, this stimulus is more indirect and yet quite pervasive and persistent. For example, the negative, pessimistic attitudes of people we happen to be around a great deal can have a subtle but powerful impact on us. A surprising amount of our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs is shaped by this kind of influence.

The psychic influence of the unspoken thoughts, feelings, and attitudes of others upon us can be as powerful as the physical influence, sometimes even more so. These forces can come from people who are beyond the range of our physical contacts.

The problem with recognizing these external influences is that they appear to be our very own as they emerge in our own feelings, thoughts, and urges.

They cannot be recognized and dealt with, therefore, until we have established a coherent “baseline” which represents our personal attitudes, convictions, beliefs, and habits. Once this baseline is well defined, it becomes possible to monitor the thoughts and feelings which arise in our awareness and spot those which are alien to our normal pattern of behavior.

We can also review the patterns of attitude and belief we have accepted in the past, and recognize which ones have been poisoned by others with unpleasant results.

#5. The influences of mass consciousness

Our psychic susceptibility to the influences of other people also repeats itself on a larger scale, as receptivity to the forces of mass consciousness.

Mass consciousness is the collective power of thought, feeling, opinion, attitude, and habit in the whole of humanity. It tends to play a very large role in conditioning our attitudes and behavior.

This is especially common in anyone who does not have a well-defined sense of individuality, a good self-image, or a mature, thoughtful mind. For example, the person who finds it easiest just “to go with the flow” is like a bobber floating in the sea of mass consciousness.

The difficulty of dealing with the influences of mass consciousness becomes especially acute for anyone who is attempting to pull away from the general trend of opinion and behavior in the masses. There are very powerful tendencies toward laziness, immaturity, and intimidation in mass consciousness, and the one who would tame these influences must expect to have them magnified in retaliation for his audacity.

Once again, therefore, it is most important to know what our baseline of attitude and values is, so that we will not be confused by the impact of mass consciousness on our mental household.

The final two sources of the contents of our mental household are from deeper levels within ourself – levels we are not normally aware of.

They are:

#6. The contents of our unconscious mind

Many people mistakenly assume that the unconscious portions of our being are filled only with repressed memories of unhappy experiences of life – the graveyard of misery and disaster. This is a very unhealthy and incomplete portrayal of the unconscious.

In point of fact, there are many levels and departments in the unconscious mind.

Some of them do contain repressed memories, but the higher levels serve as repositories for our noblest values, qualities, convictions, talents, and urges.

It is in the unconscious mind that the basic patterns of our character can be found, both good and bad. The unconscious is designed to keep automatic functions of the personality, such as fully perfected skills and talents, operating smoothly.

A musician with “natural” talent, for example, draws on many skills stored at unconscious levels. Unfortunately, some of our well-practiced “skills” can be rather immature, such as the tendencies to be disruptive, or rebellious.

For the most part, these patterns and capacities are already present in the unconscious at the time of physical birth. They exist as latent or potential influences which do not become apparent consciously until the personality matures and begins to act and react in life.

To become aware of the content of the unconscious, therefore, we must look for attitudes, habits, and patterns of behavior which are part of the very structure of our mental household.

This is not an easy process, but much can be learned by using the skills of Active Meditation to reflect on the most fundamental core of our character strengths and weaknesses.

#6. The ideals and qualities of the Higher Self

These should be the most prized possessions of our mental house-hold:

  • the power to heal
  • the wisdom to solve problems
  • the compassion to forgive
  • the strength to act with courage
  • the power of inspiration
  • and the benevolence to act with kindness and charity

These qualities represent our ideal way of thinking, feeling, and acting in any circumstance. As such, they should be thought of as fine jewelry and elegant objects of art. Unfortunately, many people do not handle these ideals and qualities with quite this level of respect.

Instead of putting them on display for everyone to see and enjoy, they hide them in a closet and replace them with the paste jewelry of religious righteousness, self-importance, and illusions. In fact, they are often most uncomfortable and edgy in the presence of genuine spiritual ideals, because their ordinary ways of thinking and acting are so gravely out of harmony with them. In some cases, of course, these treasures have not even been discovered.

The purpose of mental housecleaning is to harmonize our household of attitudes, memories, habits, and feelings, so that the ideals and qualities of the Higher Self can be expressed without serious distortion – consciously, subconsciously, and unconsciously.

Our goal is not to make the subconscious blank and start all over again, which would be impossible, even if we wanted to. Our goal is to gently repair the damage that has been done and correct the deficiencies which exist, so that order is restored and the whole of the house is filled with light.

Each of the seven sources of contents in our mental household represents a valuable element of our self-expression. They are meant to serve us well. But we have a responsibility to make a regular habit of inspecting the premises of our awareness for weaknesses and signs of disrepair.

If we do not, we may eventually find that we are carrying with us our own portable disaster. And that would block our efforts to become a better agent of the Higher Self.

TAKING BROOM IN HAND

After identifying areas of deficiency or distortion in our mental household, we need to remove, revise, or rebuild these elements.

Many of us approach this work with easy-to-use, effortless techniques that are the equivalent of opening the front and back doors of our mental household and waiting for the wind to blow them out. The wind is far more likely to blow new dust in than it is to blow old dust out.

Mental housecleaning is an activity which requires skill and dedicated effort.

The first step is deciding to take charge of the contents and the quality of our mental household. Nothing will happen to improve the quality of our life until we initiate action to change it. Cleaning up our problems and repairing whatever damage has been done is definitely our task.

The strength of this decision can be greatly augmented by remembering the basic principle which underlies all successful work of Active Meditation: the greater takes care of the lesser.

There is a part of us which has the maturity and ability to supervise the work of mental housecleaning. Not only that, but we have already defined this “greater” part within us by our work to improve our self- image and define our values and goals.

It is important to clarify the basic issues of self-respect, self-esteem, and what we stand for before we launch into any major effort of mental housecleaning. This clarification helps to establish the baseline for discerning:

  • what is acceptable to us and what is not
  • what needs to be kept
  • what needs to be strengthened
  • what needs to be purified
  • and what needs to be removed altogether.

Having a firm core of self-respect and self-esteem also helps to:

  • provide us with access to an inner reservoir of inner strengths
  • support our major purposes
  • stabilize our focus on our values and work of transformation
  • prevent us from being distracted from our efforts to clean house.

Far too often, people who embark on the work of mental housecleaning lose sight of what they really want to accomplish. Some become trapped in defensiveness. Others simply become tangled up in avoiding what is undesirable and worrying about their imperfection. No real transformation occurs.

With this preparation we are then ready to take our broom in hand and begin the actual work of cleaning house.

As we may have to cope with different categories of personal problems, so also, we may need to work with different skills of meditation.

Difficulties generated out of our mistakes to judgment, choice, and action must be treated differently than unwanted conditions caused by others. Likewise, problems that arise from the deeper levels of the unconscious, such as old, repressed fear of anger, will also need to be managed differently.

Of course, some problems will naturally be combinations of multiple sources; there is always a certain amount of overlap.

Our own conscious attitudes of fear, for example, will tend to be fed and exaggerated by the currents of fear in mass consciousness as well as repressed elements of fear in our unconscious. To completely heal this kind of problem, we would have to deal with it at all three levels.

The Wise And Benevolent Parent

To correct problems of our own making, the best meditative skill to use is role playing. We imagine ourself to be a wise, benevolent parent who is seeking to help improve a child’s behavior and attitudes.

The role of the wise, benevolent parent, of course, represents the force of “the greater” within us, and it is in harmony with our Higher Self. It serves as an ambassador-in-residence of the Higher Self within our personality.

The child is a symbol for the character flaw or deficiency we are seeking to correct. In playing this role in our mind, we begin by gently explaining to the child that its behavior is no longer appropriate, although it may well have been in the past. We ask it to cooperate with the new directions we are establishing, and explain briefly how much more productive and helpful the new line of behavior will be.

As we do this, we project certain key thoughts into the attitudes of the child, drawing the child to us and completely enveloping it in our arms, as though we were healing it, which we are.

We focus the power and authority of the Higher Self lovingly upon the ability of the child to respond to our new direction and guidance.

Once this stage is completed, we then spend a few minutes mentally rehearsing the ideal new pattern of behavior or attitude. This effort will help to firmly impress the mind of the child as well as our own subconscious.

In working to treat a problem of shyness, for example, we would begin by playing the role of a wise, benevolent parent who already is perfectly at ease in acting with confidence and poise. These are the qualities of consciousness which neutralize shyness.

Thus, we begin the healing of shyness by recognizing that there is a part of us which already knows how to express these qualities.

Having identified with the confidence, courage, and dignity within us, we then begin instructing the timid child within us about its need to become more confident and poised as well.

All of this is transpiring as a mental dialogue in a light meditative state.

We briefly demonstrate to the child the opportunities it has missed because it was too shy, and then explain how much better life will be as it is lived with confidence and dignity. This part of the process need not be drawn out excessively – a couple of minutes will do.

Then, continuing to play the role of the wise, benevolent parent, we draw the child to us, embracing it with the healing power of our love and concern, and project to it a number of reassuring, cleansing thoughts.

One might be that the child’s fear of embarrassment is greatly exaggerated and that many skills and talents exist that are well worth expressing. Self-confidence is justified.

Another projected thought might be that the companionship of others is a great treasure to be enjoyed, and the child should relax and be comfortable in dealing with others.

The power of these thoughts, and others like them, should be radiated toward the child until we sense some acceptance of the suggestions.

The new patterns of confidence and poise should then be reinforced by mentally rehearsing the ideal way of acting in the key events of the next few days.

Playing the role of the parent counseling a child is effective in mental housecleaning because it emphasizes the compassion and intelligence that is needed for this work. It is important to work with an ideal image of a benevolent parent even when our personal encounters with parents have been negative. The transformation of the distortions in us caused by intimidation, criticism, and neglect still requires the kindness and understanding of a benevolent authority – namely, an archetypal, compassionate parent.

The subconscious is the arena where most personal mental housecleaning occurs. It is important to recognize that it must not be treated mechanically as we might deal with a uncooperative machine.

The subconscious is a vital part of our humanity. It has values and feelings. It has common sense and knows when it is being misled. It understands hypocrisy and will not cooperate unless instructions are given with sincerity and commitment to change.

It is therefore imperative to work with the subconscious in the context of striving to nurture the ideals of the Higher Self, not just put a stop to conflict or avoid further difficulty.

Dramatics, such as kicking, screaming, or condemning, are not only unnecessary but very definitely harmful. Nothing is gained by being defensive or antagonistic.

It is also useful to perform our mental housecleaning in a detached state. This will minimize the tendency to be pulled back into the negative feelings associated with the very problems we are attempting to heal.

Playing the role of a wise and compassionate parent helping a confused and distressed child is an excellent way to maintain the necessary detachment. Moreover, this allows us to work easily in more than one dimension of consciousness at the same time, that is, being in touch with the authority of the Higher Self even while correcting the problems of the personality.

Throughout this process, we should remain alert to clues and signals which may lead us to a more complete understanding of our issues.

In working with our inner shy child, for example, we might get a brief intuitive glimpse of ourself as a very young child, being told by a parent or teacher that we were worthless and stupid. Such a flash of memory might well indicate one of the real causes of our shyness is this childhood event. Old, repressed insults and threats such as these will have to be dealt with as well.

We will want to feel free to explore and investigate these possible roots of our problems. However, a warning needs to be given for those who already are obsessed with exploring the dark side of our life experiences. The common fascination with the morbid aspects of our life can become a fatal distraction to the real work of healing our problems.

It is possible to become lost in probing for new insights about our woes without ever getting around to doing anything to correct them and heal them. This is self-deception, not self-discovery!

The bulk of the time we spend in the work of mental housecleaning should be devoted to healing and enriching our mental household, not discovering, recording, and assigning blame for the damage.

At all times, the communication between parent and child should be kept as simple as possible. Ideally, it should be the force of our convictions, attitudes, and intentions that we communicate, more than words and images.

It is not enough just to go through the motions of forgiving the child for indiscretions of anger or selfishness. We must endeavor to touch the spiritual ideal and archetypal force of goodwill which powers all forgiveness, and express it.

It is not enough just to instruct the child not to misbehave again in the future. We must also tap the authority of the Higher Self and our spiritual purposes and impress upon the child, kindly but firmly, the need to cooperate and be obedient.

The secret lies in the step of drawing the problems and deficiencies of the child into the loving aura of the parent, where they are purged and repaired.

Cultivating a positive, healing state of consciousness into which we draw our problems is both the heart of this technique of role playing as well as the reason why it is so suited to a meditative state.

Just “understanding” our problems is not enough. However, if we absorb our problems into the wisdom and love of our Higher Self, the difficulties and distortions will be dissolved.

The darkness within us will be extinguished.

The wholeness of our household will be restored.

The Force of Conviction

We will need different methods to correct the problems we have picked up through informal contact with others, group minds, and from mass consciousness.

The best meditative skill to use would be seed thoughts.

It is important that we understand our focus and purpose in this healing is to concentrate on freeing ourselves from beliefs, thoughts, and intentions that are causing us problems. We are responsible for our own mental household.

Our problem is not that others are guilty of polluting our thoughts and attitudes.

Our problem is that we have been polluted.

Being defensive about the problem will therefore do us no good; in fact, it will probably aggravate the situation. We are not looking for an excuse to avoid responsibility for fixing our problems by blaming others. Nor are we on a crusade to reform our friends, enemies, or mass consciousness.

Our most effective approach is, therefore, to strengthen our own expression of good, rather than fighting the negativity of others.

Having discovered the pollution of our attitudes or moods by someone else or mass consciousness, we can use meditative techniques to repair the damage.

We can accomplish this by strengthening our alignment with archetypal forces and our spiritual ideals. Using meditation to connect to these archetypes, we then need to focus their power into the thoughts, feelings, and moods of our subconscious.

The best way to achieve this repair is through the use of seed thoughts.

Each seed thought will need to be held for several minutes so it saturates our consciousness. The seed thoughts, of course, should reflect the primary thrust of the archetypal forces and spiritual ideals we have contacted. The specific seed thoughts should be selected for their usefulness for acting in the face of opposition, intimidation, or whatever the problem is.

As an example, we may have carelessly allowed our attitudes to be influenced by the incessant whining and complaining of someone we work with. Our problem may be more than mere annoyance; we may also have begun to whine and complain ourselves. (The bad habits of others can be infectious.)

It is important to avoid focusing much attention on the actual complaining and sulking – ours or theirs. This would only saturate our consciousness with annoyance and disappointment.

Instead, we should align ourself with the spiritual ideal of contentment and the archetypal force of excellence. We need to fill our awareness completely with these qualities.

We should then rest in the seed thoughts of optimism, confidence in our good intentions and skills, or determination to succeed. These ideals will help us to align with the actual forces which eradicate imperfection, not complaining.

Eventually, there should be no room in our attitudes and behavior for complaining, because we are so completely oriented toward working to make improvements. The force of these convictions, focused in our seed thoughts, will drive away and disperse the power of the thoughts and attitudes which have polluted us.

Penetrating The Unconscious

Persistent problems from the unconscious levels of our mental household require us to penetrate to levels of awareness not generally responsive to conscious command.

The principle that the greater takes care of the lesser still remains effective; we just have to work a little harder to dislodge unconscious patterns. In doing so, we must respect the multidimensional nature of their origin.

The most effective techniques for healing the problems in our unconscious are role playing and seed thoughts.

Role playing is a good starting place, because these unconscious patterns for problems are of our own immaturity. Once we are able to draw the immaturity of the child into the loving aura of the benevolent parent, however, we need to add the seed thoughts.

This will help to flood the attitudes and beliefs of the child with well- directed seed thoughts which reflect the spiritual ideals of the Higher Self and divine archetypes.

If, for example, we have been self-centered and demanding since early childhood, we are probably dealing with a pattern of arrogance rooted in unconscious levels.

We would therefore play the role of the wise, compassionate parent healing a bossy, spoiled child. We would expect to counteract the resistance of the child with a strong but friendly conviction that it is time to grow up and behave appropriately.

This transformation would involve developing inspired humility (respect for our Higher Self), concern for others (respect for their humanity), and cooperation (respect for the requirement to earn the trust of others).

It is in the work of revising and reforming the patterns of the unconscious that the tremendous power of Active Meditation can be most appreciated.

In a very real sense, effective meditation deals simultaneously with transcendent and personal elements of consciousness, while psychotherapy, positive thinking, and hypnosis generally fail to harness the transcendent levels.

A Daily Part Of Life

The starting point of all self-improvement is the realization that the way the world treats us depends largely upon how we treat the world.

This insight implies we cannot treat the world wisely and ethically if our own mental household is in disrepair.

The work of mental housecleaning may not eliminate all conflict and difficulty in our life, but it will free up many of our higher possibilities. Namely, it can assist in releasing the power, courage, intelligence, and goodwill of the Higher Self so that we can act maturely in all we do.

As a result, the life of our Higher Self will have a better residence for use here on earth. Our thought children will be raised in a healthier environment. And our light will shine on earth all the more brilliantly.

The work of mental housecleaning is meant to be a daily part of life. It is an illusion to think we can use these techniques three or four times and then be done with them. Just as a physical home must be dusted and swept on a regular basis, so must our attitudes, habits, and feelings be monitored regularly.

Mental housecleaning should be a daily meditative routine and a lifelong habit. No one can afford to neglect it.

A Technique For Mental Housecleaning

The technique for mental housecleaning can be summarized as follows:

  1. We begin by entering a meditative state and contacting the Higher Self, as described in chapter five.
  2. We identify the type of the problem or deficiency we seek to repair and clearly define in our mind the constructive traits or positive qualities which will heal it.
  3. If it is a problem of our own making, we play the role of the wise, benevolent parent who seeks to help the child grow up and become more mature. We explain the value of the change to the child and then draw the imperfections of the child into our loving aura, projecting the strength of the ideal way of behaving into the attitudes of the child, to heal them.
  4. If it is a problem resulting from pollution by others, group minds, or mass consciousness, we dwell on the appropriate spiritual ideal or divine archetype which will neutralize the difficulty. From this ideal or archetype, we generate a seed thought for how we generally want to think and behave. As we saturate our awareness with the force of this seed thought, it expels the pollution which is troubling us.
  5. These techniques generally need to be repeated many times to achieve full effectiveness.
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