3 Mistakes That Block Consciousness According to Buddhism

· November 20, 2018

The mistakes that block consciousness have to do with that Western tendency to interrupt processes. It instills the idea that we can be in control of everything when we really can’t. All processes exist because they must and they take the time they need. They begin and end when they should.

For Buddhists, this eagerness to intervene and modify reality causes different mistakes that block consciousness. Said mistakes may arise when we deny what happens to us or when we act erratically to solve something that bothers us. Instead of leading us to an exit, this becomes an obstacle.

Consciousness is the ability to see, feel, and understand the present moment. It’s a lucidity that emerges only when we balance our emotions and manage our desires in a smart way. Life isn’t tailor-made and we must learn to flow with it. To achieve this, it’s important to identify the 3 mistakes that block consciousness.

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

-Buddha-

Searching obsessively

The very concept of searching means giving up the idea that something is complete. Searching leads to tension because we have the desire to find something but don’t know where it is. There’s anguish in every search. When searching becomes obsessive, it becomes one of the mistakes that block consciousness.

We refer to a search for truth, an answer, or an experience. On many occasions, we do this because, in our minds, we have the idea that by finding what we’re looking for, something’s going to change drastically. This is never the case. Despite this, though, some people put all their expectations into finding “it”.


The present moment is all we need. This is what Buddhism teaches us. In it, we can find what we deserve and everything we can understand and assimilate. It’s okay not to experience, have, or know something in the present moment because that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Searching obsessively only confuses us more.

Man surrounded by giant keys.

Forcing change: One of the mistakes that block consciousness

Certain changes occur only when the circumstances are right. This is something that happens naturally. It’s something that flows and it’ll only happen when we’re ready for it. Therefore, there’s no point in forcing change.

Buddhists want us to work on being more aware of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors without criticizing ourselves. Starting a war with oneself is one of the mistakes that block consciousness. When we understand who we are, the way we think, and how we feel, all negative aspects start losing their power.

We don’t need to lash out at ourselves to change. If we haven’t modified a personal aspect we consider inconvenient, it’s because we haven’t fully understood it just yet. When we start to understand it, it begins to fade away.

“Nothing is permanent. Everything is subject to change. Being is always becoming.”

-Buddha-

The prison of duty

Duty isn’t something we impose on ourselves. There are many outside “duties” that we, more often than not, adapt automatically. This gives place to cycles where people fail to assimilate these duties but are also unable to give them up. As a consequence, this brings a constant feeling of guilt. It’s like a permanent void that they can’t fill.

If we don’t take on a duty with enthusiasm and full conviction, we only end up hurting ourselves. This keeps us away from our essence.

Some duties only fulfill the role of satisfying others and keep us from facing the fear that disobedience brings. This is a difficult, alienating situation. On one hand, it doesn’t allow us to discover who we really are. On the other hand, it leads to a continuous internal conflict.

Buddhist Monk meditating on the mistakes that block consciousness.

Duty is something that flows naturally, too. We set limits or restrictions because we know that we’re able to obtain a greater good if we give up whatever’s easier. That explains why we take on some duties with conviction and joy and not with oppression or grief.

All of the mistakes that block consciousness are related to the tendency to resist facing reality and trying to force a process. This comes from our ego, that inner drive that induces us to think of ourselves over our reality. Doing this can keep us from seeing and understanding reality, which can eventually lead to suffering.

“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh-