From the moment we are born the process of conditioning begins. As we get older and gather our experiences, so we become more and more conditioned. It happens to all of us and happens unconsciously and for much of the time we even welcome it. We like to be on familiar ground because I suppose we feel more in control of our lives, than when we are on unfamiliar ground. I know I do. The ironic thing is this, yes we feel on familiar ground, yes we feel more in control, but actually when our conditioning takes over we actually are far from in control because the conditioning is.
We all know the story of the man who drove to work unconsciously westernbranchchiropractor and suddenly found himself in his parking space at work not remembering how he got there. Well he was able to do that because he was so conditioned that his unconscious mind took him to work while he thought about and worried about the world economic situation and how to pay his mortgage.
It sounds quite clever and magical, but actually for much of the time conditioning is TOXIC. It is toxic because for much of the time we react totally in relation to how we have been conditioned rather than appropriately for the situation.
Thinking in a conditioned way is a real problem because in a conditioned state we aren’t actually consciously thinking, we are reacting according to our conditioning. Chances are that the reaction will not be appropriate for the situation. It may have been appropriate once, but unless we test it we don’t know if it is appropriate this time. Trusting our conditioning is a mistake, because it is never conscious thinking and can’t be trusted.
Conditioning means we don’t have to think, we simply follow the conditioned thought, feeling or behavior, don’t think twice about it and just follow it. If we don’t actually think then we aren’t actually conscious and if we aren’t actually conscious how can we consciously decide whether or not what we are doing or thinking is right or not? The thinking process simply passes over us and although we don’t know it, we are not in control; our conditioning controls us and the situation.
This is not where you want to be, especially if you suffer from depression or any sort of anxiety/stress related problem. You want more control over yourself, not less, yet here you are a thousand times a day allowing your conditioned mind to rule what and how you think, behave and feel. The sad thing is half the time you aren’t even conscious enough to even realize it.
Depression and anxiety/stress are difficult enough to handle in their own right, let alone also having to deal with conditioning.
You can find out if your life is or is not dictated by years of conditioning. Try asking yourself the following questions to get an idea.
Q: In stressful or depressing situations do you usually react in the same way you have a hundred times before?
Q: Or do you consciously think about whether or not that particular response is appropriate in the new situation?
Q: Does it mean that because a certain reaction was right once, that it is automatically appropriate in every similar situation?
Q: Or are all situations unique requiring of us to rethink every time a fresh?
Q: On a scale of 1-10 where would you come in terms of living your life through a conditioned window?
Q: How much time do you spend questioning your own reactions to see whether they are the right reactions or not?
Write your answers down and take a good conscious look. If you have been living your life through a conditioned window it’s never too late to change. Conditioning will have been very instrumental in the on going development of your depression or anxiety, but it doesn’t have to stay that way once you realize the damaging nature of conditioning.
Let’s take for example a conditioned thought: “I feel depressed again, it’s hopeless”. Maybe you had that same thought a hundred times after becoming depressed. It is so second nature to you, so much what you expect that you just accept, yes I am depressed again and yes it’s hopeless. Every time you go there, you reinforce the same thoughts, not because you have consciously thought about it, but because your conditioned mind clicked into place and the message arrived in your head without any encouragement from you. Your non conscious but conditioned mind just stepped in and went straight to that conditioned place.
Conditioning is easier than consciously thinking, but whereas a conscious mind will question a thought, a conditioned mind will not. The conditioned mind believes that when you are depressed it will be hopeless because your conditioning says so. If on the other hand you become consciously aware and realize that much of your thinking and reactions are the result of your conditioning and that you want and need to change you can.