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Here is the definition for "mend":

1) to make (something broken, worn, torn, or otherwise damaged) whole, sound, or usable by repairing: to mend old clothes; to mend a broken toy.

2) to remove or correct defects or errors in.

3) to set right; make better; improve: to mend matters.

4) to progress toward recovery, as a sick person.

The term "mendful" came to me after realizing how much of my life has revolved around healing all of my darkness... making it my duty of sorts... as much as humanly possible. It's been happening for about ten years or so... in my early thirties, when I was teaching grade 2 kids... coming home after work, meditating with cannabis, being shown exactly where I was faltering... excruciating, to say the least.

Prior to that, I was mostly numbing myself with various palliatives, healing cathartically with films and music, taking lots of pills by doctors who didn't know any better (or me, for that matter)... but bit by bit, my reality was becoming more and more spiritual... and healing was commensurate with this change in perception.

I'd say I practice more "mendfulness" than I do "mindfulness"... that it's wiser to heed the former before you bother with the latter. The reason being is simply because I'm convinced that every negative thought that passes through your consciousness is there for a very good reason... it points towards a healing of sorts. A negative thought simply arises from darkness within us, it is an effect from the cause of how you have been conditioned, whether in this life or past ones, and it inevitably leads to negative behaviour... and if we accept this in our lives, it continues as such until it is healed. It never really shocks us, in the end, we accept it until we know better... and whether we see it as our negative karma makes no difference. This is called repetition in psychoanalysis... it turns into something like neuroticism.

One of the goals of a system like Buddhism is eradicating ALL poisons from the mind. In IFS, this may include making an inventory of all of the parts of your mind and repurposing them towards an agenda of a higher self. This took me about two years or so to go through, essentially on a daily basis, with many processes having to be repeated many times in the name of full integration and learning... hence, healing. This is the effort of "growing" ego strength, or, of self-actualization. It implies becoming very, very familiar with who you are, which encompasses both your darkness and your light.

The imperative to "know thyself" holds more ground nowadays than ever before, it would seem, especially since we are progressively living in a profoundly sick society (Jiddu Krishnamurti).

These negative thoughts come to be shown as our conditioning, as when we repress our shadow... and it shows up as intrusive thoughts. As the saying goes, What you resist persists. Well, the same goes for our thoughts, and a reconciling of sorts is always in order. In our culture, and most of spirituality, we tend to band-aid this process, to bask in spiritual bypassing, and in a practice like mindfulness, we simply watch the thoughts go by as clouds. This is the ideal, it seems... we get entangled by these and eventually pop out (or are unconsciously popped out) of the dreams we enter.

The approach of mendfulness is such that mindfulness could conceivably proceed with less and less of a hitch, so that one day, as you sit and meditate, there wouldn't be anything negative (or painful) to pass through your consciousness. This would indicate purity, and that's indeed a fruit of alchemy, or healing. Think of it as enjoying the garden you view as beholding only good fruit and flower, rather than a lawn full of weeds and twisted vegetables making up your reality. Your true, inner nature, that powerful light of everlasting goodness, could now flourish more permanently only after you've healed your past, your darkness... whereby you are no longer triggered, and hence... fully equanimous.

And that's a sweet place to be in: out of suffering, out of judgment of right and wrong, out of thoughts that cause separation... and hence, duality. This would be peace... a state of being with which it's best to enter a worldly space of darkness... that is, with peace in your being rather than an "intention of peace", where unhealed darkness could still arise spontaneously, take over and, god forbid, even sell itself as peace.

While at the park today, I was telling Samantha how pain is simply the pressure of change moving through the soul... this is why the alchemists of old compared it to the transmutation of substances. The allusion is not altogether figurative, for the pain points to its literalness. And incidentally, if one abides by a kind of doctrine of signatures, promoted by a giant of alchemy like Jacob Boehme, wherein nature teaches us at every turn with its messages and signals, symbols and hints, it then has much to teach us regarding mending. With open eyes extended to nature, we could find everything we need to mend ourselves to fullness.

To move from one state to another requires lots of pressure... and courage. Adopting courage for processing pain is always a wise investment in the art of mending, especially since a phenomena like elemental fire is needed to convert something seemingly intransigent into water (eg. tears of grief). On courage, C.S. Eliot wrote that "Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality." Mending, to say the least, is not an easy task, but with the mettle developed to move through it... anything is possible.

There indeed is a transmutation of sorts occurring when we heal, we certainly are not the same coming out of a ceremony or healing as we were going into it, and that is the genius of alchemy. We are stronger and more confident, and more whole than before. For Samantha and I, we've come to the conclusion that mending is a lot like alchemy, or white magic... namely, we intend positive energy to come and change an individual. It may even occur without having called it in, and yet, we've ineluctably changed the situation for the better. If that positive energy were directed towards a nebulous future full of material abundance (which seems to be the only thing worth striving for, these days), then, it would be considered white magic as we know it today. Healing always requires grace for it to occur, even on the physical level. We may sketch and mark the process out... and yet, we never really know how it occurs. At its deepest levels, we know it to inevitably enter the realm of the miraculous.

Reading these definitions today on mending, I'm reminded of the dozen or so soul retrievals I've had. Prior to my first one, I was gripped by manic depression and its inherent vicissitudes. But following a few healings, or mendings of my soul, the polarities started to even out to the point where my centre is now my norm (it also hasn't been a coincidence that I was born a Gemini for this kind of work). But for this mending to happen, much integration has had to occur, and more and more of it on a spiritual level.

The system we live in may assume that it's doing some good to you in this sense by slapping you over the head with something that alters your brain chemistry, but this is never sustainable, it will eventually create a deficit or toll of sorts on you, because no mending will have taken place. Spiritually speaking, there is always a higher understanding to pain and its consequent mending, whereas in our mainstream allopathic culture, it is often grasped randomly in a vacuum... where the whys don't matter (just how to snuff it out, at all costs). In other words, it's always wise to know why and how you broke your bones in order to heal and move along your adventure to deeper levels of wholeness... and onto the next lesson.

Interestingly, I've discovered that many spiritual teachers and healers pay lip service to this process, and may even wish to lead others into it in the name of a business opportunity... and yet, caveat emptor: the activity of alchemy must be present within us for quite some time before we can master the process and guide others into it. In other words, you cannot lead someone out of something unless you've first come out of it... because otherwise, that essentially would be the blind leading the blind (which have their place in the world, mind you, but that's besides the point). It'd be like buying a craft from someone untrained in that craft.

And when the blind lead the blind... well, we have play-acting... since they have to sell that they know what they're doing even though they do not on an experiential level (it often is just mental, as if their lives are out of a textbook... like mine once was to some degree... so I can empathize). But what an opportunity for the blind to heal and transmute the wound of naiveté into discernment for the blind... being led off the cliff...

When we mend our hearts and souls, our minds and bodies through processing the past in whatever shape it shows up in, this offers us wisdom and knowledge, deep and well-earned insight that is always at our side when guiding others... with no space for panic. It is indeed a delicate process, to say the least, but that essentially is what enlightenment is... it's a very painful process (to quote Adyashanti) moderated by sheer awareness ... by lots and lots of grace for your darkness... irrespective of how painful the process may be.

But lo... the area where the rupture occurred, the brokenness... it is now more powerful and pronounced, almost more emboldened, than it was before... and the gifts we may acquire along the way... how strange, then, is it, to be living a game of receiving hell in order to turn it into heaven... in this "conveyor belt" world?

"The greatest samurai is the one who conquers himself." Japanese proverb.

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