1. Also called operant conditioning, instrumental conditioning. a process of changing behavior by rewarding or punishing a subject each time an action is performed until the subject associates the action with pleasure or distress.
2. Also called classical conditioning, Pavlovian conditioning, respondent conditioning. a process in which a stimulus that was previously neutral, as the sound of a bell, comes to evoke a particular response, as salivation, by being repeatedly paired with another stimulus that normally evokes the response, as the taste of food.
I’ve mentioned conditioning a lot in my previous posts, therefore I felt it was time to give it its own platform to massage and explore it in and of itself.
What actually is conditioning?
Clearly I’m not referring to the treatment given to ones’ hair.
I’m talking about how throughout different phases of our lives we’ve been moulded into something, we may not have chosen to be.
The “negative” conditioning we consume and take on as our own true nature.
Which takes us away from our natural state of being, love, in our light and yes, in our dark too.
Conditioning as such, is neutral, it’s neither positive or negative, the effect we allow it to have on us, if it takes us off course, away from love, away from our true self, that’s negative conditioning and what I’m referring to when referencing conditioning in previous pieces.
Whether we like to admit it or not, conditioning begins when we are born, with our parents, doctors, nurses, older siblings (if we have any), plus our extended family.
Majority of whom I imagine would already be carrying years of unrecognised conditioning themselves and not necessarily realise they were transferring it on to us either.
Life’s a constant struggle.
I’m not good enough.
When I lose weight, then I’ll love myself.
Money is the root of all evil.
No pain, no gain.
Don’t rock the boat.
Unless of course, they were already aware of their conditioning and have done the work required to release it.
Even then, with parents having realised and released their conditioning, I imagine too, more than likely things are done a certain way, with a particular rhythm to the day.
From the time we wake up to the time we go to sleep, there is a process and perhaps routine to how things are done. How we are to interact with others. Do we use cutlery to eat with and if we do, do we have to hold them a particular way? Playtime. Rest time. Are we left to cry ourselves to sleep? Are we allowed to be openly affectionate with our family, say I love you, hug each other?
Can we choose when we go to bed. Or are we given a particular bedtime we have to adhere to?
If we are left handed can we stay left handed or are we converted to doing things using our right hand only?
Are we allowed to be shy, quiet, calm, dramatic, imaginative, loud, boisterous, feminine, academic, athletic, artsy, active, still and so forth?
Are we made to conform or are we allowed to be freely ourselves?
The parents who have let go of their conditioning, I would also imagine they would allow their child/children more say in how they do things, however as parents, we are to teach our children, keep them safe, etc. These are also a part of our conditioning. Things done in our best interests, still conditioning.
Again, it’s when it takes us away from our natural state of being that it has ill effect on how we show up in the world.
In childhood, with our schooling, its peers, teachers and educators, government bodies, funding, rules and regulations, extracurricular activities etc., can we also be true to ourselves or do we find ourselves bending who we be, allowing ourselves to be conditioned to fit in? Manipulated? Distorted? To be excepted into the group? To have friends? To perform well? To get ahead?
Of course we do.
Everyone wants to be liked.
Everyone wants to fit in.
Everyone wants to do well.
Well a child certainly does.
As do most adults.
Conditioning is most likely subtle to begin with or unrecognisable to the young mind and is prevalent in all aspects of our everyday existence. Conditioning can be an unconscious act as well. We might recognise a flutter or discomfort in our bodies at such a young age, as feeling different to the norm, however not be equipped to recognise it as the conditioning it is. Therefore, unknowingly take the conditioning on as our own.
Before we know it, all this conditioning. It’s who we be, do and have.
From the foods we eat, the clothes we buy, our entertainment, friends, recreational activities, relationships, careers, health, world views, etc., etc. How many are of our own free choosing?
Once conditioning begins, it doesn’t stop until we recognise it for what it is.
You have to dig deep, wade through the sludge to recognise what belongs to you and what belongs to others.
Then you have choice.
You can keep what you like, especially if it allows you to connect with your natural state, love and ditch the rest. The negative, harmful and controlling muck.
In letting it go, you must let it go completely, with full detachment.
No anger, fear or control.
A complete surrender of it.
Now you are free.
You are who you choose to be.
Are you aware of the conditioning in your life?
Are you willing to let go of any conditioning that doesn’t serve you?
Do you have any other thoughts around conditioning?