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Lions Roar : November 2014
us and those around us. We carry these energies in our consciousness as fifty-one different mental formations preserved in the form of seeds, or bija in Sanskrit. These seeds of love, happiness, compassion, fear, hatred, anxiety, etc. are in every one of us. Buddhist psychology divides conscious- ness into two parts. One part is mind con- sciousness and the other is store conscious- ness. Mind consciousness, which Western psychology calls “the conscious mind,” is our active awareness. Underlying it is the store consciousness, which contains the seeds of the fifty-one mental formations. The first five are called the universal mental formations, because they are pres- ent in every other mental formation. Contact, the first universal mental for- mation, happens when a sense organ and an object come together. Next the mental formation attention has the function of drawing you to a particu- lar object. When you hear a sound, your attention is drawn to that sound. There is appropriate and inappropriate attention, and with mindfulness, you can choose to focus your attention on something that is wholesome and beneficial. The third universal mental formation, feeling, may be pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. With mindfulness, our unpleasant feelings can be transformed into pleas- PHOTOBYSAllYANScOMBE/STOckSYUNITEd Watering the Seeds of Happiness ant feelings, such as feelings of gratitude. When the feeling is pleasant, you can stop all thinking and just become aware of the feeling. If you can let go of thinking of this or that, you can be very happy just walk- ing barefoot on the beach, feeling the sand between your toes. The fourth universal mental formation is perception. When you see, taste, hear, or feel something, it appears in your mind as a sign that suggests a name. When we see something with petals and a stem, our mind gives it the name “flower.” If we don’t bring our mindfulness to our perception, we might not notice when it is wrong. Then we might mistake a piece SHAMBHALA SUN NoveMBer 2014 49