Changing conditioned beliefs
The disciple asked: “Master since you said that you will not change my beliefs, how those will change in me?”
The master couldn’t help but laugh and then said: “ Is that “me” something fixed in time? Remember when you were a kid? Sure you do. However, is there anything there which has remained unchanged in you? ”
The master waited for the response of his disciple.
“Well,” said the disciple: “My name is the same. Everything else has changed including my beliefs and life outlook.”
The master said: “What you just said required awareness. Most believe that there is an unchanging “I” or “me.” Their memories make up their lives which are in the past and never “now.” Yes, your name is the same and that is why, when you become a new person centered in your heart rather than the mind; you will have a new spiritual name which you will use instead.”
Then the master continued: “ Look, there wasn’t a time when you were the same. Change is unavoidable but when your life is anchored in the mind, only the past matters and that creates illusions of a future, but in truth; in that future you will not be.”
The disciple looked at his master with a lost gaze and said: “You mean that Life itself will change my beliefs?”
The master said: “ The most important practice for you is to observe your mind, your thoughts and everything that comes out of that. Be quiet for a moment and do as told.” After sometime in silence, the master interrupted and said: “What did you observe?”
The disciple was hesitant to answer but after getting some courage said: “ It is insane, but I observed that my thoughts merely appear in my mind. I did not willingly fabricated them.” The master said: “That is a fantastic observation. That for sure will change some of your beliefs. Now, let me add this: Can you think without language? Don’t answer me yet. Try it.”
After a few minutes, the disciple said: “ Master, I am afraid I cannot. I need some sort of language in my head to relate things and come up with something, it is like an internal voice without sound.” The master then said: “Now you have discovered the influence of language in your mind. Most see the world only as their language allows them, that is conditioning. For instance, there are languages without the use of gender for nouns, while other languages give a gender to every object. That creates the idea that there are feminine things and masculine things. A separatist mind. Now, observe without language in your mind.”
After a few minutes the disciple said: “It is a weird state of attentiveness which I cannot hold for too long.” The master then smiled and replied: “ Some may call that state no-mind. Others, may call that a silent mind, and yet others may call that a peaceful mind. Do not get caught up with labels, for that is mind. Go deeper in that experience.”
Then the master said something apparently unrelated: “Many try to solve problems in the world through that separatist mind. There is always a division:Rich and poor, black and white, national and foreigner, my neighborhood and out of town, etc. The mind only divides, separates. That non-inclusive, egotistical mind cannot see the whole, the common good no matter what system it uses to try to solve problems. Conditioned humans are not aware that the root cause of human suffering is not their economy, political system, or distinct beliefs but their identification with their own unchecked, egotistical ever divisive mind.“
Seeing Spirituality through the conditioning of society
Many individuals when experiencing some sort of suffering in their lives or some form of existential emptiness, will either start their “search” and become “seekers of truth,” or go into self absorption, perhaps experiencing the bottom side of their existence through some form of addiction. It is so much what we can DO out there before we go back to the basics: Who am I? What is the purpose of this? What is the point of living if “I” am going to die? Many others are entertained by “achieving” great things in society while oblivious of existential queries. To each according to their consciousness. All is good and necessary.
Nevertheless, for those who look for “truth” in spiritual or religious experiences, it is important to observe that the ways and conditioning of society does not necessarily translate to spirituality which is defined here as “Living Life in harmony and enjoyment.”
The “achiever” wants to “achieve” enlightenment. A seeker wants to get some “tools” out of some philosophy or religion to “become better.” Another person may want to “help others succeed” so his own existential emptiness is covered. All of those ideas are part of society’s conditioning and the DOING of those without BEING are fragmented.
Spirituality is not learned through a power point presentation. There are no definitions needed nor certifications from “studying” with some enlightened being. All of those “terms and conditions” are part of society’s conditioning as well. No one obtains a different consciousness through “study.” That study is good however, in order to get a job or to learn a trade.
While in society; to cultivate the mind, to memorize and to recite things is encouraged; in spirituality is not.
Please do not think that I am not encouraging someone to take an on-line spiritual class, or to go to some spiritual retreat in a far off place to be in silence. NO! By all means there is benefit, as we need to realize things for ourselves.
While in society we can learn things through others; in spirituality or “the art to live Life in harmony,” we need to walk our journey while being fully conscious of it; that is the way to realize things which will enlighten our own path. Society is about DOING, getting info from “experts” so we don’t make “mistakes.” Spirituality is about BEING. Thus, DOING does not translate into BEING. A peaceful person does not learn to be peaceful through a class or by DOING peaceful actions, but through conscious experience of life, then his peace is whole, real.
However; before running, we need to walk and before walking, we need to crawl and before that, we are entertained in a “golden” cage known as a crib, big or small; still a crib, where we have plenty of time to dream about every achievement there is. Everything and everyone has a particular time. Everyone is at different stages. All is good.
Observe the inclusiveness of differences of everything there is . Here, the “small print” or disclosure: To understand through experience what is consciousness, may have a steep price to pay. As it is said in society: “You get what you pay for.”
Intention before Action
The word “action” isn’t ambiguous for our actions are there to be seen. It has been said: “Hell is full of good meanings, but heaven is full of good works”. The action, the “ good works” is what matters to most.
Nevertheless, there is a difference between the word intention when used in society in general and the one related with spirituality, with Life.
Our society believes that there are “good” actions and “bad” actions. Therefore, our mind is conditioned to obtain a certain defined result; and many times, the means we use do not matter to us. That sort of action is programmed, an individual only needs to comply, without “thinking.” It is mechanical by all means and repetitive and in that repetition, there is no zest for Life.
Helping the little old lady to cross the busy street, is considered a “good action,” but it is mechanical, it is expected so long as we do it out of duty, out of conditioning. Just like Pavlov’s dogs; we salivate at the sound of the bell and not because we smell food or see it, or taste it.
Observe that I am not interested in the “moral” value of that action, although that action may get me brownie points to “go to heaven.” I am interested in having zest for Life. Therefore, we need to take a look at what is behind that action, the intention of it.
Where does my intention come from? Many will say, it is a matter of checking our thoughts. “If I am thinking that the old lady needs help and I help her, then that is a “good intention” transformed into a good action.”
Let me disagree. Thinking is conditioning. Rather than showing who we ARE in a naked way, we are dressing up and using that same gray suit tailored by society to be worn by us, every time. If I am in a real rush to get to work and the old lady wants to cross the street, observe the engine of my “good action.” It is duty, conditioning. A different scenario would be if the intention of “helping” is out of FEELING compassion or out of my feeling that we are all one. No thought involved.
In the hypothetical scenario of God “judging” us if we should go to hell or heaven; the action of helping out of duty gives the same result as out of compassion: To help the lady to cross the street. Could God choose someone to go to heaven based on his rehearsed, mechanical “good actions” or perhaps for what that person truly IS? That is a mechanical person vs. a compassionate person. Food for thought.
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions”, meaning that individuals may want to act in a certain way, nevertheless; nothing happens due to procrastination or some other reason. Observe that this is a different meaning of intention. There are many people who indulge in pretty talk: – Yeah. Let us do that! Let us help “others”! But nothing happens. Look at what that person IS: A blabber, perhaps a social climber but he IS not compassionate.
In Life, what we ARE is the intention, the engine behind our actions. That is not what we have been taught in society.
There is a difference between a saint caressing the hair of a child and someone else DOING the same action. What is the intention behind? What is the feeling in the heart? God will surely look at that, while humans get caught up only in the action.
A wolf dressing as red riding hood through the robes of “good” actions; is always a wolf.
Awareness is thy religion
To be alert, conscious of our own reactions and our environment as Life unfolds, at every moment, is the essence of being awake.
Otherwise, the mind has a continuous voice which we call “I.” That voice labels, judges, compares using the benchmark of its own conditioning. That voice clouds the perception of objectivity. Under that spell, the “same old thing” is the rule. That is safe, it is comfortable but at the same time unbearable, as Life loses its taste. We are eating the same thing over and over again.
When that voice is gone, we are free without “thinking” about it. We are free without running after the ideal. We experience a different reality.
How to “get rid” of that voice? By being aware of it.
Awareness is not some “action” that we do once in a while when we remember to do it; a “practice,” No!
Awareness grows naturally as our consciousness expands, that is when our pettiness shrinks.
Pettiness? Can you elaborate on that?
Our concern for salvation. Our desire for heaven. Our merchant mentality looking for personal profit in everything we do, whether worldly or spiritual, etc.
Our fear to face the unexpected is pettiness. Our hidden desire to be the “center of the universe” is utmost pettiness.
Many have their own life stories full of beliefs, interpretations about how life is “treating them.” Their sentimentality brings the “victim” syndrome which eventually, shows up as violence.
Everyone has their share of ups and downs in Life. We cannot compare which one is “greater,” for our capacity to adapt, enjoy and cope are different. Nevertheless, Life has lessons which are tailor made for every single one of us. Nothing is left to chance.
A lesson learned means the opportunity to increase our awareness.
How? Lessons in Life are meant to bring every resource we have gathered through experience. We just need the “right combination,” to use “the right set of tools.” That is known as maturity, which dilutes our pettiness.
There are many grown ups without maturity, for this doesn’t come with age necessarily but rather through assimilation of experiences.
We could experience many things in Life but unless there is assimilation of those experiences through impartial observation of them, those experiences become trauma, pettiness; which will not allow us to expand our consciousness.
It is particularly at this time, when we may need to become aware of our violent nature which may not be expressed physically against another, but nonetheless could be expressed through our own opinions, beliefs and idiosyncrasies.
Being aware of our violence is the practical way to allow love to flourish. Otherwise, love is relegated to be another pretty word used to sell more widgets, and to hide our fear to face our inner reality.
Our mental conditioning is our own demise
Within the words “reason and logic” our society has built its own way of looking and understanding the world. We say “the world around us” but it is truly within us.
The following has been taught and accepted by the great majority:
“There is good and bad. The “good” needs to prevail over the “bad.” We should strive to become good and eliminate evil completely.”
Most “normal” people will agree with that. After all, it is “logical,” “reasonable;” in a world where good and evil exists, one side has to fight the other and “win.” A logical, but violent deduction from a conditioned mind.
99% of movies, are made to fit that paradigm. We are fed with that idea day and night.
Traditional medicine, observes that paradigm as well. “The body fights against pathogens which are the cause of diseases.” That is the belief. Since pathogens are spread out like soldiers, traditional medicine will send a drug (an internal atomic bomb) to destroy “everything,” the pathogens and the defense mechanisms of the body included. Never mind any side effects and complications.
A person may have deep emotional issues or he may be negligent by eating traditional “fast food” on a regular basis; but we only see bacteria as the logical cause of the disease and we need to fight and “win.”
There are many more examples where the mindset of “us” against “them,” prevails.
Do we see the consequences of that limited view of Life? We have been conditioned to fight as a way of living.
Is a “reasonable” explanation enough to gain our belief? The worship of that little word “reason” is truly limiting our understanding of Life. I am not speaking about society with its “reasons.” I am speaking about Life.
Life is birth and death. Life is ups and downs. Life is our ability to enjoy and to mourn. Life is that empty sensation yearning to be filled with some meaning while still alive. We fill that with beliefs trying to convince ourselves that we are on the “right” track.
In the following ending paragraphs, lies my legacy to the “spiritually minded” future generations:
Life cannot be understood by the mind.
Good and bad are not separated.
A theist and an atheist are walking the same path.
Politics is violence.
What we were taught to believe and take as facts, are not the “truth” we thought they were. Go beyond beliefs. Find out for yourself.
Waking up from the dreamy world hasn’t been easy, but when it is our time; there is nothing we can do about it … but open our eyes.
Will resume writing on January 9, 2020.
Best wishes for the new year! 🙂
Question: Do I follow my fleeting huge attraction or my comfortable, unfulfilled but good life?
The question is here:
(Bottom of the “about” tab)
Thank you for your question.
It appears that you have an Indian background, where typically marriages are arranged and there is a negative stigma with being divorced. Here goes the small print before we start: Ahnanda does not give advice. Ahnanda only shares.
Clarity is brought through inner honesty. The mind does not know about inner honesty. The mind knows about compliance, convenience, tradition, among other things. Inner honesty is felt. We could choose to hear that and go for it (that is the hard part, to learn to listen without interference of the mind) and accepting all consequences. That will bring us a type of experience.
We could choose to ignore that inner feeling and go for the “Do what I am supposed to do” and also, accept the consequences. Which path is “better” ? None. It just depends who you ARE. Be honest with that.
That is the “clarity” that you were looking for.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you speak with your husband and let him know frankly, about the huge attraction that you feel for someone else? AND wouldn’t it be fantastic if your husband let you go with your attraction and allow you to come back to him if you wish since you have with him a “good life” already? Would that make you happy? Satisfied?
Many times, marriage turns into a license to possess another, but if we decided to play that game, we may need to play it until we call it quits. Don’t you think? You don’t mention if you have children. I am assuming you don’t.
Are you willing to give everything up for that attraction, not knowing how long it will last? Are you willing to stay stuck in a relationship without feeling fulfilled but comfortable? Rest assured that at least 90% of people have to answer that question at one point of their married lives.
What do you use as compass for your own Life? What do you believe is your purpose?
That is the important question, for that will bring you direction, clarity. Feel it.
In a previous article I shared what my friend Mathias mentioned about attraction:
” Attraction brings a collision. It is like a magnet. When that magnet attracts another object, a collision is unavoidable. Attraction has the ability to make someone lose their own essence. A “Life walker” does not reject attraction. He simply observes it in himself, smiles at the scene and continues on, not forgetting his life purpose. When a “Life walker” forgets his purpose for a few days, then that attraction will distract his mind, then his thoughts and his feelings will deepen that attraction.”
You have not mentioned if the other person feels the same for you. If you don’t know, then your mind is fantasizing. If you know he does, then are you willing to take the chance? It may work or it may not. You may be more miserable and your mind will make sure to complain about that later and blame your situation to someone else. But perhaps, you will be satisfied to follow that huge attraction. However, rest assured that something else will not go as you expect it. Guaranteed.
What do you want out of Life?
Children? Sexual fulfillment? Romantic love? Let that be your compass. Once you know, allow for Life to show you the path and be willing to accept it for that is what your heart desires: That experience.
Observe that you did not go with what you felt when you decided to get married. It may be that you accepted a tradition or your family pushed you into it; however; learn about the consequences of going with something which we do not feel 100% sure, although our conditioned mind may tell us that it is “best for us.”
Finally, know that there is a difference between feeling from the gut and the heart vs. an emotional outbreak like an attraction. In the world of duality you cannot have it all. That is the dream that many have bought into.
Don’t follow your dreams. That is conditioned utopia. Follow your compass, your purpose. Not what the mind tells you, but what you feel from the heart without distortion from emotions or mind games.
All the best.
Many people are looking for some type of help to carry on with their lives.
The paradox being that even though we are supposedly more connected with more people, loneliness is felt with even greater intensity than before.
Most are looking for a sense of fulfillment, something where they could experience some type of value, the feeling of a worthwhile Life.
Why is it that even those who apparently HAVE everything, tend to destroy themselves?
It is not what you HAVE or what you DO, but what you ARE. BEING is important.
Where is the practical help?
Listen up. Forget your mind. Don’t think. Can you do that?
No? If we could control “our” thoughts at will, we could stop them, but we cannot.
Then, OBSERVE them. Make a space between them and you. Learn from that OBSERVATION. Those thoughts are not you, those thoughts appear in your mind’s display and all we DO is posses them. We believe those to be ours. “My thought.”
Many times those thoughts carry our hidden emotions, repressions and rejections that we have learned to manifest in Life, it is through the awareness of those, how we could heal these patterns.
Emotions are not logical. They are not reasonable. Do not expect that a logical therapy will heal them or release them.
Expect the unexpected. Observe the voice of your mind.
That is practical spirituality.
Forget about any religious philosophy. Forget about all the beliefs. Clear your mind from all the package of conditioning. Truly, those are worthless in Life.
It doest’matter how holy we believe those are. It doesn’t matter how respectable, true or valuable they appear to be.
Do yourself a favor and empty your mind from those.
There are no magic pills. No expensive treatments.
Learning about yourself is the hardest thing, the most useful, the most valuable.
It is what will bring fulfillment, when we empty our bag of conditioning.
If someone invents a vacuum cleaner to clean the mind, to make it pristine; that would be a worthwhile invention.
In the meantime, use your own broom and dustpan. That is practical spirituality.