In our consciousness there are blocks of pain, anger and frustration called internal formations. They are also called knots because they tie us up and obstruct our freedom. When someone insults us or does something unkind to us, an internal
formation is created in our consciousness. If you don't know how to undo
the internal knot and transform it, the knot will stay there for a long
time. And the next time someone says something or does something to you
of the same nature, that internal formation will grow stronger. As
knots or blocks of pain in us, our internal formations have the power to
push us, to dictate our behaviour.
After a while, it becomes
very difficult for us to transform, to undo the knots, and we cannot
ease the constriction of this crystallized formation. The Sanskrit word
for internal formation is samyojana. It means "to crystallize." Every
one of us has internal formations that we need to take care of. With the
practice of meditation we can undo these knots and experience
transformation and healing.
Not all internal formations are
unpleasant. There are also pleasant internal formations, but they can
still make us suffer. When you taste, hear or see something pleasant,
then that pleasure can become a strong internal knot. When the object of
your pleasure disappears, you miss it and you begin searching for it.
You spend a lot of time and energy trying to experience it again. If you
smoke marijuana or drink alcohol and begin to like it, then it becomes
an internal formation in your body and in your mind. You cannot get it
off your mind. You will always look for more. The strength of the
internal knot is pushing you and controlling you. So internal formations
deprive us of our freedom.
Falling in love is a big internal
formation. Once you are in love, you only think of the other person. You
are not free anymore. You cannot do anything; you cannot study, you
cannot work, you cannot enjoy the sunshine or the beauty of nature
around you. You can only think of the object of your love. That is why
we speak about it as a kind of accident: "falling in love." You fall
down. You are not stable anymore because you have gotten into an
accident. So love can also be an internal knot.
unpleasant, both kinds of knots take away our liberty. That is why we
should guard our body and our mind very carefully, to prevent these
knots from taking root in us. Drugs, alcohol and tobacco can create
internal formations in our body. And anger, craving, jealousy, despair
can create internal formations in our mind.
~Thich Nhat Hanh