Seed, Stalk, Flower
The seeds you nurture will grow. Which do you choose?
One of the oldest meditations is on seed, stalk and flower.
The seed we are talking about is basically karma. Where your attention goes, what your mind is on about, what your aspiration is will determine what kind of flower (karma) you have.
The root-nature of your consciousness in this lifetime, is your early childhood conditioning. The seeds that go into early childhood conditioning are aimed principally at non-transcendent goals.
We aim at getting an education and learning how to live in society. These are not bad seeds by any means, but they are not transcendent seeds.
By the time you’re 20, your life is obsessed with transient, impermanent and unsustainable goals, which will all vanish when you die.
Transcendent seeds (such as Buddha-nature) are with you forever because the transcendent seeds do not depend on what happens in this lifetime.
To phrase it another way, “the seed of this moment’s consciousness is Buddha-realization, regardless of the activity I am doing”.
You should spend time pondering this difference between the seeds.
Meditation: Seeing the Seeds of Karma
Meditation really is focused on you taking charge of the seeds rather than relying on the winds of karma to blow you around blindly.
In terms of karma, if your mind is occupied with transient objects, you’re going to get transient realization. If your mind is occupied with transcendent objects, you’re going to get transcendent realization. This is the nature of karma.
In this sense, karma means activity. Whatever seed you sow will sprout into a flower from that seed.
If you plant a tarragon seed you’re not going to get a parsley flower, you’re going to get a tarragon flower. This becomes very important when we wonder why our consciousness goes into negative states.
Why Negative States
Our consciousness goes into negative states for one of two reasons. First, we don’t interrupt or question the unwholesome seed and then we argue about the flower that has resulted. That’s one possibility.
Secondly, the seed we put in is happening from habitual patterns. In other words, we get triggered into a particular conditioned seed-type of consciousness based on what happens to us in the day-to-day world.
For instance, if you are walking down the street and somebody cuts in front of you on a bicycle and almost knocks you over – what’s the likely seed here? If your response is anger, then the seed of anger has been planted previously.
Become the Master of your Fate
And, there’s a third reason anger may arise. You did not take an active role in the moment to not end up in that angry state. In other words, you let events overpower your consciousness. You chose to go with a seed that had previously been planted.
The purpose of meditation is then twofold. One purpose is to show you what seeds are actually operative. This is not terribly encouraging in the beginning. However, as we see the seeds of our past conditioning more clearly we start to see the second purpose of meditation.
This second purpose is to show you how to get in charge of those seeds. With meditation you learn to be the master of your fate rather than being blown around by the winds of karma. This is a very important, liberating difference.