Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
By June Blunk
Each day, many of us unintentionally place limitations on ourselves by way of our conditioned mind. What we perceive as a purely natural reaction may actually be creating limitations for us and take away our inherent ability to empower ourselves.
What is driving your life?
We are all on a journey of self-empowerment from day one. But, the question is, are you consciously seeking self-empowerment or working from a conditioned mind?
In other words, is awareness driving you forward or are you in “La, La Land” just going about business as usual? Do you understand what is driving your feelings, thoughts, choices and actions? If you do not know the answer to this question, then your conditioned mind is driving you—you are unaware of your innate abilities to empower yourself in your daily life.
A conditioned mind defined.
A conditioned mind is a very powerful force—infinitely influential, especially if you are unaware of yourself; unaware of the reasons for your feelings, thoughts, choices and actions. Above all, when our conditioned mind leads the way, we miss out on what the world has to offer in a mighty big way. Frequently, we react automatically to our surroundings (people, places and things) instead of being in the present moment. That is to say, our past is actually determining our immediate reactions and overreactions to events, situations, circumstances and encounters. Instead of weighing in on what is actually happening right here and now, our conditioned mind reacts as usual based on our past experiences. This is somewhat reminiscent of Pavlov’s dogs and ringing bells. Our conditioned mind at times is no different than the minds of Pavlov’s salivating dogs.
Take a moment to analyze the statements (reactions and thought processes) listed below to find out if you can personally relate and recognize your own conditioned mind in action:
• When I react negatively, it just happens
• It is like a trigger and off I go
• I am not sure why I react the way I do
• It is a reoccurring pattern that repeats itself whenever I get in situations similar to this one
• I can’t help myself; it is just how I am (Warning sign of an extremely conditioned mind, keep reading for your own sake and for those that you love.)
Don’t be alarmed if you can relate, and regularly experience these reactions and thoughts; these are part of our human experience. As you know, we often learn some very important survival techniques through conditioning. For instance, most likely at a young age, you learned through experience that if you touch a hot stove, you will get burned. A valuable learning experience occurred and our conditioned mind keeps us from getting burned a second time.
At the other end of the spectrum, if at some point in time, you fall in love with someone and eventually get burned by this person, you may sabotage future relationships and shy away from love. You are afraid of history repeating itself, and do not want to get burned again.
Both of these situations are about avoiding getting burned again, but the latter is not a protective conditioned-mind-set; it is destructive and harmful to both our future and current state-of-affairs. We are acting out of fear and avoiding love. Conditioning that is destructive and harmful should be acknowledged and redirected to gain an empowered perspective.
Additional, unproductive reasons for embracing a conditioned mind include:
1) A tendency to feel comfortable when we know what is coming. The familiar makes us feel secure even when it is unpleasant and undesirable: “Hey, this has happened before. I know exactly what to do. I don’t have to think about it for even a moment.”
Regrettably, we will stay in bad situations and relationships because of our conditioning. We will tolerate bad “stuff” (relationships, jobs, poor health, etc.) because we have done it before and, after all, we are still walking and talking—we survived. This is not a beneficial way to go through life—tolerating what is harmful when, in actuality, you can empower yourself and move forward with a different action plan and/or a solution.
2) Justifying our past feelings, at times the bad feelings more than the good ones: “Ahhh, that makes me so mad. I hate when that happens and it keeps happening!” Unfortunately, continually feeling bad about anything will do us little good. We have a warped idea that repeatedly reinforcing our negative feelings and thoughts will somehow make things better. This is far from true. In reality, an aware and empowered perspective—learning to shift our negativity—will help us change directions and enable us to feel good about our life instead.
Our mind is conditioned on many levels and we have created an entire set of false values based on our conditioned mind. I interjected the word false because these self-created values are not objective and truthful. We merely reinforce their existence because, at some point in time, something happened that made us feel this particular way—nothing else frequently is a factor.
What is the point of continually feeling bad, angry, guilty, sad or like a victim when certain situations or circumstances arise? Could it be beneficial in any way whatsoever? NO, obviously it cannot.
The solution: Your conditioned self-sabotage needs to be recognized.
You need to become a pattern breaker—a bad-habit annihilator. Vigilance is required, yes, but you will become aware of your self-sabotage and your life will improve beyond measure. This is guaranteed! Unconditioned minds lead happy, joyful, peaceful lives. Think about how your life would improve if you felt good most of the time: if you were able to be in the moment, to see solutions instead of roadblocks, opportunities instead of fear. Commit right now to applying the following statements to your daily life:
• When I react, I will step back and re-assess the situation—make sure I am not reliving the past. (Most likely, you will be and this will happen frequently in the beginning.)
• When negativity surfaces in my mind I will detach, take a few deep breaths and reevaluate. I will take as many deep breaths as necessary until I regain my composure.
• I will recognize when I act-out in a defensive posture and observe it as part of my conditioned mind that needs to be redirected to a more constructive, empowered posture. I will allow myself to understand that my defensive nature is my own creation and it does not need to exist anymore, no matter how many reasons I think of to hang on to it!
• I will start each day with the intent of being present by letting go of the past, and consciously be motivated by love, instead of unconsciously motivated by fear. I will pat myself on the back when I see my life moving in the direction that I am seeking and feel really good—really, really good!
• When my intentions go out the window (which they will) I will get my footing, immediately forgive myself and start all over again. I will start over again as many times as needed throughout the day and forgive myself—each and every time!
A mind undefined…
The reward: all that is good! When we go beyond the familiar and our justifiable negativity, we step out of our comfort zone and take risks. We overcome our fears and try to achieve what we feared was unattainable. Our self-esteem and self-confidence grows as a result. We come to understand that our influence on our life is tremendous and life is much different than our conditioned mind led us to believe.
We simply choose to feel good because it suits us and reflects our empowered mind-set. Unknowingly, we strive toward something bigger than all of us. We connect with our core—our higher selves. We tap into our birthright, a very powerful resource and self-empowerment is our reality. So, I ask again, what is driving your life? Is awareness driving you or a conditioned mind? Perhaps a bit more awareness is already taking the wheel…
This blog is brought to you by...
- June Blunk
- June is an artist, writer, speaker and advocate for self-empowerment. In 1999, illness overcame her life. During her unwavering search for physical wellness, she stumbled upon the subject of emotional wellness. This discovery led her down a path of self-empowerment for which she will always be grateful. It opened the doorway to her heart. As a result, she has spent a great deal of the past fourteen years focusing on personal growth and self-help. June’s mission is to share what she has learned with other people to support them on their wondrous and sometimes rocky journey. She conducts workshops, writes and paints to share her passion and wisdom with her fellow advocates for self-empowerment.