Saturday, October 5, 2013

Who Told You That?

Until we learn to be aware, we see our lives through the filters of "conditioned mind." Conditioned mind is, primarily, our childhood survival system. It is watching you, talking to you, critiquing you, and interpreting life for you. Its full-time job is convincing you that it is you, and it's vey persuasive. You have learned to like what it likes, to want what it wants, and to try to get its approval at any cost. In fact, conditioned mind is reading this over your shoulder. It is letting you know whether or not what you're reading is true, relevant, accurate, intelligent, and well written. Most important of all, it is letting you know how well you are doing at understanding what you're reading. Can you hear it talking to you?

Awareness practice exposes conditioned mind's trickery. When we learn to observe conditioning, we can drop the belief that it is who we are and reclaim the youthful enthusiasm that was ours before we were taught to abandon it.

From the back cover of "Transform Your Life: A Year of Awareness Practice"
Cheri Huber

Many people believe that spiritual practice is mainly about rituals, postures, purifications, worship, and a great many other things that rightly should be shunted to the side. All of these have a place, a purpose, but they are not what should be at the core of your practice.

The core should be that hardest of all tasks — working with your mind. The one and only thing standing between 'you' and who you really are is the mind. The one thing that keeps you from seeing your true self is the mind. That lying, cheating, extortionist who's full-time job is to convince you that it is you will spare no expense to keep you from seeing the truth.

Incorporate whatever you want in your practice if it helps to keep you on the path. But always, always keep in mind that if you aren't working on evicting conditioned mind out of the house and out of the neighborhood, if you aren't making progress on controlling that rampant nonsense that rattles around in your head all day, then you are on a side path and not the main path.

The problem is, the main path can be excruciatingly hard work. No one will say it is easy. The side paths, however, are much easier; just do what you're told, follow the routine, ask someone outside of yourself for help. Admit it, you're just trying to pass the buck, let someone else do the work for you, yet hoping for the rewards yourself. The problem is, the problem isn't outside yourself! The problem is wholly, 100%, inside. As someone wrote once, this path is an inside job.

Are you on the path? Are you following the one that climbs ever higher or have you settled for an easier side path because others maintain it and it isn't as much work?

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