As we become more aware, we notice how our lives are often ruled by the conditioning we have been subjected to. Childhood and cultural conditioning affect the beliefs we live by, the decisions we make and the paths we follow. As we become aware of this conditioning, we have the chance to re- condition ourselves to live our life in a way we find happier or more in keeping with who we are.
If we surround ourselves with unhappy people, we learn how to be unhappy. If we surround ourselves with successful people, we learn success. As we learn to surround ourselves with the people, circumstances and conditions that can make for a life that we want, we tend to move into that sort of life.
Repetition is a powerful form of conditioning. The simple process that follows can be adapted to be used in many different situations:
• Decide what quality you want to be a part of your life. For example, if you are finding life noisy and overwhelming, you can start with the idea of peace. Or if you have been feeling unhappy, work with joy. If you have been skimming the surface of life, you may want to condition yourself to a deeper appreciation. Use any feeling you like: joy, compassion, devotion, kindness.
• Find a way to steep yourself in that quality at least once a day. If you long for peace in your life, find a quiet corner where you can feel peaceful for a few minutes each day. If you are cultivating joy, devote yourself to an activity that you find joyful, such as a walk in the park or meditation. Make that time special. Make it quality time. That way you have a strong mental impression of that feeling that you can carry through the day.
• Several times during the day, recall with pleasure that you gave yourself that time. This is an important step. By calling up that memory you imprint it strongly in your mind.
• Several times during each day, recall the feeling that you evoked during that special time. If it was joy, allow yourself to feel that joy again for a few minutes. If it was calm, make a bit of space to feel that calm again for a brief time, even if you are involved in another activity or project. This takes only a moment but the visceral connection to that activity or quality evoked during that activity conditions not just your mental activity and stream, but it affects your emotional energy and it affects you at a cellular level. Your cells remember how joy feels – or calm, or compassion, or peace.
As we deliberately condition our lives this way, life tends to follow along. Pessimistic old friends might not be drawn to our more cheerful state. Our very life energy radiates the quality we cultivated. So even if one day is hectic, our overall sense of peace will still underlie that activity, or if one day is difficult, that deep sense of joy we've been cultivating will sustain us.
Content © Janet Dane unless otherwise stated.