You know, in a lot of spiritual teachings, you see the term”ego,” I use the term “false ego”-- this is ultimately talking about is the conditioned mind. The mind is heavily, heavily conditioned with a lot of beliefs and a lot of different perceptions about who we are, about how the world works, about what's possible, what's not possible. Most of the beliefs, most of our conditioning happens before the age of 10 years old and comes from many, many, many different things in our environment. Things we were told, interpretations that we make from certain events, experiences that happen to us, etc. is all part of our conditioning. It’s vast and it's huge. I see it over and over and over and over and over: very few people are aware of how conditioned they are.
The first step to deconditioning yourself, which is to be able to transcend that conditioned mind and see things for how they really are, is to understand that you're IN a conditioned mind and that the way that you're looking at things and the way that you're perceiving things is perhaps NOT actually the way that things are. You know, I, I am constantly, constantly in awe of this in myself and through the years, seeing my own conditioning and how powerful it is, how compelling it is, and how true it feels is part of how difficult it can be do realize that there is conditioning at work.
That's what the mind does. It gets more and more conditioned all the time, every day.
You're not in your conditioned mind in the moment that you sit down with your journal and you're observing the ways that you're conditioned. You're not in your conditioned mind when you're sitting in a conversation with somebody talking about how you're noticing a particular belief operating. The more that you cultivate that awareness, the more that you make a point to step out of that conditioning, you heal.
The conditioned mind is very, very reactive. It's reacting, reacting, reacting all the time. It is operating on a set of beliefs, and most of the time we don't even know what they are and that we’re simply we're reacting to them and overcompensating for them.
A conditioned mind is a hellish existence and depending on the type of conditioning that you have. I was just telling somebody recently that I thank God every day that my conditioned mind was so excruciating, such a hell on earth experience. I mean, my conditioning was, so bad I wanted to blow my brains out most all the time. It was just a constant anxiety and so painful that I had no choice but to start to use my awareness and heal. It was that or death. Over the last, 6 years of cultivating my awareness, I have dissolved a lot of my conditioning, and now it's easier for me to see it when it does come up. I still have these deeply conditioned parts of me but now, I apply awareness and can therefore transcend them much faster, and return to a peaceful state.
A free mind is one that can see the self as it really is. To see the divine that we're connected to. A free mind can see our power, can see our worth, can see our truth, and can see possibilities where we only saw limitations. There’s a lot of pleasure outside of your conditioned mind. There's lots of power outside of your conditioned mind. There's lots of peace available outside of your conditioned mind. None is available inside the conditioned mind. None of that. The conditioned mind is conditioned with fear and the more conditioned to mine is the more it can be conditioned. So this is just a reminder.
Conditioning is like an addition, and if you want to transcend an addiction, you have to begin with having some reverence for the power of it.
And first of all know that yes, you are conditioned, know that it is powerful and it makes everything feel real--and that when things feel real and you're looking through the lens of confirmation bias, this is how we unconsciously confirm over and over and over again that the conditioning is real. It takes some awareness to step out of that and ask: what am I thinking? Tools like Byron Katie's “the work” is not the end all be all, but it's a good solid tool for beginning the deconditioning process. When you ask the question “Is that true?” In the moment that you're asking the question, you're stepping outside of your conditioning and observing whatever the pattern, the belief, or the thought is, and you're asking some questions about it.
The whole act of asking questions about it with the intention to get to the truth is part of how you transcend that conditioning. Yes, it's possible to decondition yourself and you can't do it all at once. It has to happen in little steps and stages, but when you start to set intentions and use your awareness, your guidance system kicks in and takes you where you need to go. When you work in partnership where to cultivate your own awareness and then listen to guidance, you get better.
Before you know it, you find that you have a real shot at living a really peaceful life that is rooted in truth, rooted in knowing who you are, and living in a way that's in alignment with that.
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