“We seldom realize, for example that our most private thoughts and emotions are not actually our own. For we think in terms of languages and images which we did not invent, but which were given to us by our society.”
― Alan Wilson Watts
How do we break away from societal conditioning or at least realize which ideas are our own and which are just rote learned responses? Meditation helps for sure but also self-examination. If I feel myself having a fast reaction to something whether it be someone asking for money in the street, someone expressing themselves loudly or in ways that I was raised to believe were pushy and rude I have started to watch my reaction (I used to try fighting my reactions, talk about a sucker’s game… better to bring them out and let them dissipate in the open air), let myself feel what I feel and then look at it and test it for integrity. Does this truly express my values or is it the part of me that is the conditioned robot? It helps to remember that the idea is not to not be the robot but to be truly expressive of the self at all times.
On a different subject, today just as an experiment, on my Facebook status I asked people, “What is the most beautiful thing you see right now?” and received so many fantastic responses. Shared joy is increased! I loved the idea that just for one moment, no matter what was happening in their days and lives that whoever read it would look around them for beauty. For me at the moment, it was my son having a bit of a temper tantrum over delayed plans. I have been enjoying watching him individuate more and more (tho there are parts of it that drive me a bit nuts as well) . Easily tho the responses to my question made my day. I may be getting the hang of this social media thing and how it can be used to share meaning after all.
What is the most beautiful thing you have seen today?
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Wondering If My Dreams Have Wings by G A Rosenberg