Transforming the Mind: De-Programming Mental Conditioning

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There are times in our day-to-day life when we experience ourselves acting or thinking in ways we wish could be different. Sometimes, it can seem like our thoughts are running on auto-pilot, and whoever is doing the driving is not the most qualified person for the job. These thoughts then lead to actions which we regret later. The reason for this is that we often have un-conscious mental and emotional programs running our lives. Maybe these programs are fine for going about our daily interactions with the world, but what happens when they are no longer helping us to live our lives to the fullest?

The First Step: Uncovering That Which is Hidden

Since they are subconscious, these programs do a good job of staying hidden. Consciousness is not something which can be seen or touched, so it can be difficult to pinpoint disharmonious patterns within it. What are the signs that a subconscious mental program is affecting us? Fortunately, these programs leave traces that they are indeed there. These traces come in the form of negative thoughts, or that nagging little voice in the head. Knowing this, we can follow the breadcrumbs of thought to the root of what is running them.

Thoughts can be likened to bubbles in a lake. We can observe the bubbles on the surface, but where they come from is deep down at the bottom. Likewise, thoughts appear at the surface of our mind, but where they come from is deep down, in the realm of emotions. Thoughts are the surface signs of emotions.

We can begin by examining the inner voice we hear in our head, as well as the outer voice coming out of our mouths, and just observe them.

It can quickly be seen that thoughts occur all on their own, spontaneously, like a radio station continually broadcasting into space. If we tune into the mental stream, they become the central focal point; however, try shifting the dial of focus to the space in which these thoughts are occurring. As you do this, you will discover that the thoughts become blended into the background of awareness.

Now, from this space outside of thought, try observing the content of the mind, just don’t get pulled into it. What do you hear? What is the common theme around which the mental chatter is arranged? Is the voice angry? afraid? guilty? Take this chance to be radically honest with yourself – this is not a time to be squeamish!

Step Two: Removing Identification With the Mind

Understand that these thoughts are not even yours, so you do not need to identify with them. Just like a radio tower, the mind is continually broadcasting thoughts. It is what the mind does, continuously and automatically.

To prove that the mind is not even yours, try this: tell the mind to stop thinking and see what happens. The mind will probably just go right on thinking, against your will. If the mind was really yours, you could tell it what to do and it would listen, right? On the contrary, the mind is an impersonal aspect of our human nature.

Bringing humility into our understanding of this is very helpful. It can be very frustrating when one first comes to meditation and realizes how strong the monkey-mind chatter is, but remember: there is nothing wrong with it. It is only doing what it knows how to do. Just because you have negative thoughts does not make you a bad person. You are not your thoughts! This is part of the collective (un)consciousness of humankind. Everyone else has these same kinds of thoughts too; they truly are impersonal.

Step Three: Surrendering the Temporary Emotional ‘Payoff’

Dis-identifying with the mind makes it easier to go further inward to the source of thinking itself: emotions. Subconscious programs are fueled by our emotions, so addressing them from the emotional level is the key to canceling them.

The reason that these dysfunctional programs are running in our consciousness, despite our desire to be free of them, is because they offer us a hidden payoff. They create the illusion that we are getting something beneficial from them, a ‘juice’ if you will. This may not be apparent at first, as one might think, “How is there a payoff from being angry?”

The ‘juicy payoff’ is the emotional reaction; the feeling that moves through us. There is a part of us that finds a temporary pleasure, or satisfaction, in the feeling of anger, guilt, pride, etc. The part of us which feeds off of this juice is commonly called the ego.

The ego easily becomes addicted to the emotional payoff of negative emotions, and in turn feeds off of the juice. Since the juice is only a temporary satisfaction, the ego must seek more of it, thus perpetuating an endless feedback loop. With each infusion of ‘juice’ into the loop, the addiction becomes stronger and thus harder to break free of.

With this realization, it becomes clear that in order to undo negative programming, we must let go of the temporary payoff gained from negative thoughts and emotions. When this payoff is continually let go of, the unconscious program loses its power and influence. The juice becomes less and less interesting to us.

The next time a negative thought or emotion arises, ask yourself, “What is the juice I’m getting from this?” and “Is it worth the price?” If the juice is found to make you feel anything other than peace and tranquility, it is a sign that it needs to be let go of.

In this light, there is no need to fight or suppress anything, even fear and hatred itself. In fact, we can begin to let these emotions just be as they are and run themselves out. We no longer need to be afraid of emotions because we are no longer controlled by the temporary ‘pleasure’ of them.

With this practice of continually surrendering the juicy payoff of the negative emotions, a peaceful state naturally emerges. Peace is what prevails when all of our negative programs have been let go of. In this sense, it can be seen that Peace is actually a choice. When we choose Peace instead of the juice of the ego, our emotional dependence on negativity diminishes. When done continually, this Peace stabilizes and becomes our natural state, undisturbed by the passing temptations of negativity.

About the Author

Ryan Brown is a meditation teacher, energetic healer and writer. He has studied shamanic traditions of the Amazonian Basin and strives to integrate the ancient wisdom teachings of both the East and West in a way that is applicable to modern living. You can learn more about his pursuits at www.wayruna.org

Waking Times 

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The Beginning Is Near

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By Zen Gardner

Reprinted with permission from Zen Gardner

We have free will, a majestic gift of choice coupled with conscious awareness at a level that seems to be unique to creation. All of creation has its own vibrational attributes, but humanity has been gifted in a very special way. Whether we utilize this gift consciously or not appears to be the dilemma we’re faced with.

Yet we seek an escape from this life, a place of refuge. Ironic. Or is it a sense of knowing that something more real and wonderful exists?

There’s much talk about portals, energy vortices, jump locations and wormholes. Where we’re trying to go to is a fundamental issue. The point is, how and where do we find a place of transition to other circumstances? Is it activism? Is it our personal way of perceiving reality?

Or both?

Do we already have access to this other reality? Has escape always been the default position in this accosted world resulting in religion and sequestered lives driven by survival and an engineered sense of scarcity? Is this what has happened to the stand and fight mentality?

Does Humanity Get What It “Deserves”?

This is a huge question. Not just the karma issue, but the even deeper innate mechanics of the Universe. If Universe is perfect in every way, everything we’re experiencing is “justified”. Has humanity allowed itself, yes allowed itself, to be so degraded that its very decrepit condition invites and encourages predators?

To continue the analogy, are the parasites and viruses “going for the whole enchalada”?

Pretty serious stuff to consider, especially in the light of society being a reflection or reinforcement of anything imposed upon it. The question remains; does a dying body politic invite the very influences it eschews?

The Universe is Reflective

What we impose comes back. What we are willing to receive is another factor. But just imagine we’re abutted with a huge energetic field, ready to do our bidding. An extremely empowering notion. No matter what is living in this force field is considered fair game for such a Universal force. As an independent resource we should revel in such an idea.

Most profoundly, this “field” reflects our intentions and desires.

Now picture a human race that is enthralled with its own survival, under similarly subjected conditions. But they’re under attack. Where will they place themselves in the scheme of things? Will they realize their condition, or relinquish their autonomy for something that seems to save them?

Taking It Lying Down Is a Choice

A dead or dying organism invites parasites of all kinds. This is the current state of our world. As perverted, drugged down and immune deficient humanity glides into their brave new world of somatazation, we see the growth of the totalitarian police state.

We’re inviting it. By our acquiesced degradation.

A dead animal, or human, decays at an accelerating pace. Parasitic organisms move swiftly to devour and do away with the dead corpse. It’s natural. So the degradation of ethical and spiritual aspects of human culture. As we lay down, we accept the seemingly inevitable. A terrible vortex to find our collective selves, but we are there apparently, circling the drain.

This discourse may seem to meander, but it has its purpose.

Our Aliveness is the Key

An alive, resilient body is not a target for disease. The dead and dying are. The overall diseased “body politic”  today is  a sitting duck for control and manipulation. Ours is to keep alive and activating.

As synchronicity has it, as I was pondering these thoughts, I walked past a dead animal under a tree by the roadside. It was infested with hungry insects devouring the food. The next day all that was there was the fur. They work fast once the subject has succumbed.

Will humanity succumb? It doesn’t look good from a macro perspective. But I know individually the awakening is creating health and wellness at an enormous rate. Will it be in time?

It’s up to us.

Be alive. Be active.

You are in charge. Use your majesty of free will.

Love, Zen

Previous articles by Zen Gardner:

About the author:

I have questions. Life is wonderful – full of amazing wonders that continue to unfold. My quest for truth has given me new perspectives which lead to well springs of information that continue to inspire awe and wonder at the world we live in. Dare to explore and see what leaves you…. just wondering. Love Zen.

Connect with Zen at zengardner.com

Turning the Tables: Four Steps toward Autonomy

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“The only way to deal with an un-free world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” –Albert Camus

The current unsustainable system has made us overly comfortable and ridiculously complacent in our ways. We have every luxury, and yet, for the most part, we live hurried, hollowed, nine-to-five lives, having given into the hyperreal overindulgence of the consumerist lifestyle. We’re beginning to realize that we’ve grown spiritually stagnant. We’re in an existential rut. We’re stuck –mind, body, and soul. We want more out of life than just materialistic trash, but we’re tied into our consumerist preconditioning. It’s how we were raised, after all. But it’s time we reconditioned the precondition.

Here are four ways to do exactly that, while also turning the tables on the powers-that-be and leveraging some autonomy into our lives.

1.) Don’t be Afraid of Being Uncomfortable

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” –Neale Donald Walsch

Yes, it’s time to get uncomfortable. Suck it up and go be that starving artist you’re afraid to be. Volunteer. Travel the world. You were not born to be a slave to money; that’s just what you were born into. You were born to explore and create like only you can. Quit stalling. Vacillation does not become you. There’s an entire world out there just waiting for you to dive right in. Comfort is only temporary anyway. Don’t allow complacency and contentedness to steal your vitality. Security is more of a hindrance to adventurous hearts anyway. Like Jack Kerouac wrote, “Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing the lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”

So burn your couch. Toss your TV out the window. Defenestrate any and all things preventing you from being the most liberated version of yourself. True autonomy cannot be realized if you are not even aware that you’re unfree. Like Rumi said:

“Don’t listen too often to the comforting part of the self that gives you what you want. Pray instead for a tough instructor. Nothing less than the radical disassembling of what we’ve wanted and gotten, and what we still wish for, allows us to discover the value of true being that lies underneath.”

2.) Develop a Method for Determining Right From Wrong

“Time makes ancient good uncouth.” –James Russell Lowell

Before we ask what’s wrong with the world, let’s ask what’s right with it. This is a tough one. We first need to get a proper perspective. That is, a perspective based in actual reality. And “actual reality” dictates to us what is healthy and what is not. Balance is healthy. Moderation is healthy. Clean air is healthy. Clean water is healthy. If our notion of right and wrong is based upon the dictated reality of healthy (right) & unhealthy (wrong), then our perspective will be valid; but if our notion of right and wrong is based upon human opinion that happens to violate the healthy & unhealthy dictation, then our perspective will be invalid. There’s no wiggle-room here. It really is not a matter of opinion where healthy & unhealthy is concerned. So if we can somehow drag right & wrong out of the realm of human opinion and leverage it within the natural realm of healthy & unhealthy, then we’ll finally be heading in the “right” direction toward a healthy, sustainable world. Like Zeno said, “The goal of life is living in agreement with Nature.”

There comes a point at which the universe dictates to us the nature of right & wrong, good & evil, or as I prefer to call it: healthy & unhealthy. It speaks a language older than words. It’s in the body, resonating within an ancient muscle memory. You have to be still to hear it. You have to be silent to realize how loud it really is. It can be as simple as the body telling us when we’ve consumed too little water, or as complex as the cosmos pinpointing for us what is the healthy way for human beings to live in an interconnected world. In many ways we can tap into the natural order of things through common sense alone, like the feeling we get in our gut when faced with a decision between truth and deception (red pill/blue pill), or how we instinctively know that rape and pedophilia is wrong.

Wendell Berry said it best:

“We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it.” 

3.) Question Authority

“When just laws are used to uphold unjust behavior, our obligation to uphold the laws is diminished.” –Clive Hamilton

We are, as Guy Debord wrote, “a society of the spectacle.” But what do we do when we finally come to realize that we are the spectacle, or worse, that we are the butt-end of a terrible joke? What are we to do when we are, as T.S. Eliot wrote, “Distracted from distraction by distraction”?

The answer is not only to question authority, but to have fun doing it. Take insurgent pictures. Write rebel poems. Speak unspoken truths to power. Scare people out of their complacency. Shake things up. Become the change you wish to see in the world. You’ll thank yourself for it later.

At the end of the day, it is our responsibility as members of a would-be proactive citizenry to rise above the distractions –be they political, corporate, or plutocratic- and question authority, despite the smoke and mirrors, all while admitting that we could be wrong. After all, transparency goes both ways. Like Derrick Jensen wrote:

“We are the governors as well as the governed. This means that all of us who care about life need to force accountability onto those who do not.”

This is how we turn the tables on oppressive power: We realize that the oppressors are damaged human beings with an unhealthy view of the world. We realize that we have the power to liberate them from their own damaged souls. Through non-violence and love we can give them the opportunity to become fully human. By giving them this opportunity we flip the tables on power. By revealing to them a healthier way and acting as an example for a healthier way, their power is reduced to what it really is: a sickness. They are no longer allowed to be overpowering oppressors. We have revealed to them their cowardice. We have freed ourselves from their tyranny. Our liberty is our love. We welcome them with open arms, so that they can be healed and learn again what it means to love. We are social creatures, first and foremost. By liberating others we liberate ourselves, and only then is true autonomy possible.

4.) Embrace Change

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives… It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” –Charles Darwin

We have a tendency to put the cart before the horse when it comes to change. It is easier for us to change our own behavior than it is to change the world, and yet we tend to focus too much upon changing the world. If we instead focused more upon changing our behavior, we would find that a natural side-effect of doing so is that we change the world. The world is going to change with or without you anyway. You might as well be a part of that change by being proactive about what it means to change in a healthy way. Like James P. Carse wrote:

“This ceaseless change does not mean discontinuity as a person; rather change is itself the very basis of our continuity as a person. It is because I cannot see what you see that I can see at all.”

But cultural change is not a black and white issue. It’s not like we completely abandon the old way of doing things, full stop, and then immediately adopt the new way. Not at all, change is gradual. History has always proceeded dialectically. Cultural change will be a mixing of the old (x) with the new (y) to create the hybrid (xy) culture. And it will probably get worse before it gets better. There will be some growing pains, especially since it will require a lot of us embracing step #1 of this article, which is all the more reason why we should adopt a health-based way of distinguishing right from wrong (#2). The powers-that-be will fight tooth-and-nail to keep the current unsustainable system churning, because it has made them rich, fat, and (pseudo)-happy, after all. But that’s all the more reason to question them to the nth degree (#3). In the end, nothing remains the same. True autonomy comes from embracing the slings and arrows of vicissitude and adapting to the ever-changing aspects of time, space, and the self.

“If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you.” –Liz Gilbert

About the Author

Gary ‘Z’ McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide awake view of the modern world.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

 

Everything I See is Me

Flickr - Cat's Eye - NASA Goddard Photo and VideoAdam Lanka, Contributor
Waking Times

I AM . . . life.

In life, every single instant and interaction exists for the growth of the self and the universe into the highest harmony of All That Is.  Toaists like to refer to this as the Tai Chi, or the Supreme Ultimate, which can also be described as Unity.  At the center of all existence is the infinite singularity of All That Is Here and Now, the roar of Ohm, the spark of transcendent being-ness that permeates the entire universe.

This is the universal substrate from which you and I and every single being of energy in the universe arises.  An amazing thing about the Supreme Ultimate is that it holds within itself all of the infinite potential and possibilities in the universe, yet it itself is beyond differentiation.  In this way it is referred to as chaotic unity, and is at the center of all being.

What happens next is the story that is told in countless different cultures in countless different ways, yet with one penultimate constant.  Creation, differentiation, the unfolding of the tree of life, the fractioning of the whole into the boundless possibilities of existence in the universe.  In this process arose the myriad forms and states of being that energy manifest in and occupy.

At the center of being lies a paradox, for Unity contains within itself the possibility of its own negation, it’s own opposite.  This is the perspective of separation, the linchpin of theego mind, and is the root of all injustice, negativity, pain, and darkness in the world.  And it is completely necessary.  As infinite beings of consciousness within Unity, the illusion of separateness exists for us to understand the difference between the two.

This is the penultimate question, penned so simply by William Shakespeare in ‘Hamlet.’  To be, or not to be.

These concepts appear to be contradictory, appear to be negate and deny each other, yet they are only different perspectives, different manners in which to view the vastness of the universe.  Duality is not a static state, as our dominant cultural and scientific paradigms would have us believe.  For from this separation arises the constant integration and balance between these two ‘opposing’ perspectives.

We are in the midst of this process, called the moment, which is the endless integration of duality into itself.  We are a part of the endless ebb and flow of energy in the perpetual, dynamic equilibrium of existence.

The mechanism that allows us to navigate and experience the boundless aspects of the universe is called choice, a concept that we are all aware of.  This is the free will that is fundamental to all being, and this is what allows us to experience the universe from different perspectives.  Some may be darker than others, some may be more comfortable, there may even be a particular flavor in infinity that you enjoy more than others.

No matter which way we choose to view the universe, our perspective is valid.  It may, however, not be the most effective or the most harmonious.  It may only encompass a fraction of the infinite being-ness that is present, and that is ok.  In fact, it’s great.  Yet it is still a part of the whole as well, an integral factor of Unity, and an essential part of the journey home into All That Is.

To be infinite is our natural state of being, it is where we come from and where we always are and will be.  We don’t need to do anything to be in this state.  On the contrary, we actually need to un-do, we need to no longer choose to be fractured and separate.  We need let go of our attachments to specific outcomes and moments in space and time.

We allow ourselves to be infinite by not creating any limits upon our being.

In doing so, we return to wholeness.  In All That Is, we are all of the infinite potential and all of the infinite form.  We relax, we let go, and we enjoy the glorious dance of existence through the endless eternities of the now.

Unconditional love, and gratitude.

About the Author

Adam Lanka, originally from North Carolina, is a traveling philosopher, energetic arts healer, and physicist. His passion and interest are in bridging the gaps in the dominant paradigm, uniting science and spirituality into one journey of consciousness, and elevating the vibration of humanity. To learn more about Adam, please visit his personal blog, The Wanderlust. Find him on Facebook at Gateway Explorations.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

Zombies & Vampires. What they mean symbolically.

This is my snowball. Watch to the end of this 20 minute clip and you’ll know what I mean by that. Yes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. But you might make him thirsty. Share with others, maybe they’ll get thirsty too. We are many, they are few. We have been tricked by a few, throw a snowball with me.