All of us are bundles of conditioning, from the moment our body-minds were conceived. Was the household peaceful or were there undercurrents of fear and anger? What kind of music was played around us? Conditioning becomes even stronger after birth. Culture, country, language, elders, siblings, education–it’s an endless list. Most of us were conditioned to believe that we are separate from people, objects, and the world, and that our consciousness is limited to our body. This conditioning is repeated again and again and again. Soon the voice inside of us substantiates what we were told by grandparents, parents, teachers. So why, after decades, are we surprised that unlearning–in most cases–occurs gradually? Our bodies are so very slow to reflect change.
Patience and courage are required in this unlearning process. Long after my direct experience made clear that I am not my thoughts, that thoughts arise on their own and their content is quite suspect, I still catch myself believing them. The good news is that more often, I notice I’ve jumped on the thought train, and I step off at the next station. But occasionally, I’m halfway to Vancouver before I take note, and both astonished and relieved, step back here, and now. In the long history of this body-mind’s thought patterns, here and now is the safest place to be.
© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit: The Examiner