We are reality producing machines, creating our present experience based on old programming. As children our subconscious minds are wide open, and like sponges we absorb everything we witness, hear and experience. Like a computer, we are downloaded with an operating system based on the information that came in long before we even knew how to write our own names. We don’t even begin to develop a filter for all that we observe until around the age of 7.
Now take the raw data that came at us throughout our lifetime, and add to that the interpretations we made, often erroneous, about what really happened. And like an old record stuck in a groove, we keep replaying a song over and over again, bringing into our current reality recycled experiences of our past. The players may change, but the story line is the same. Everyone else in our life simply becomes a foil for us and all that we have yet to learn. This continues until we finally have our fill of that old story and decide to break out of the pattern of thinking that recreates it over and over again.
Then there’s the unconscious programming that has been passed down through the lineage, from one generation to the next. I remember when my grandmother died her sister, whom I barely knew and had only met maybe a couple of times, came to her funeral. That evening as I walked around the corner into the dining room, I stopped short and took a double-take as I was sure it was my grandmother sitting there at the table. Her sister was holding her head in the same tilted way my grandmother did when she was listening intently to someone, and her gestures and mannerisms were almost identical. What’s more, I realized I engage in the same ones. Somehow, these mannerisms had been passed down through the family tree without any conscious intention. This often makes me wonder, if simple hand gestures and facial expressions could be mimicked and learned so easily and subtly, what other familial beliefs, thought patterns and behaviors have been inherited? And could this be why some habits are so deeply ingrained they seem nearly impossible to break?
Not to mention the karma that is passed down from previous lifetimes. They say matter cannot be created or destroyed, so every cell that is in you and me now has always been in existence. So now we are dealing with cellular memory that is so deeply ingrained, its in our DNA. I have witnessed more than one past-life regression where someone with a current condition in this lifetime was able to trace it back to an experience from a previous life while in hypnosis.
And it is from old programming, deeply ingrained in an operating system that is beyond our conscious awareness, that our interpretation of current events is made. Knee-jerk reactions happen quickly, often leaving us feeling embarrassed for having lost control in such a manner, guilty because it happened yet again, or angry because we can’t seem to control it and therefore it becomes easier to blame the other person…and the cycle continues.
But our feelings stem from our thoughts, not the other way around, and our thoughts are generated from a belief system that is so deeply ingrained we buy into it as if it is absolute truth. Those beliefs are a product of everything we’ve ever been taught, told, experienced or witnessed.
The way our of this reactive, disempowering loop is to become aware of our assumptions. Even with the awareness I have gained of how the subconscious mind works and influences everything about our perception, I still find myself, when I’m not careful, engaging in an old storyline. I know I have done this when I feel myself contracting, shutting down, and judging myself or another as right or wrong, good or bad. Judgment is a sure sign that we are stuck in a story line.
The mind, like a computer, is programmed to look for patterns that are familiar, and it is so good at doing this we see things even when they are not there. Even when only pieces of the puzzle are present, we will often fill in the rest with our imagination in order to complete the pattern. So it is helpful for us to check in with ourselves often and ask, “is it true?”, and begin to challenge our assumptions.
When a pattern repeats itself often enough that we are finally able to see it, there’s a gift in that. Because only then can we decide if we are truly finished with that reactive loop.
Think about a habit pattern in your life of which you are ready to be free. If you can trace the feeling back to the sponsoring thought behind it (and this part can be tricky because it requires you to be uncompromisingly honest with yourself), then you can acknowledge that thought and bring it forth into your conscious awareness. Now that you are willing and able to look at it, consider for a moment what the underlying belief is that generates that thought. If this is a belief that does not serve you, that is ultimately harming you and wreaking havoc in an area of your life, are you willing to replace it with a new belief? One that serves you better?
There’s an opportunity here to pull the plug on those outdated, erroneous beliefs. But whenever you let go of something in your life you are creating a space, and if you aren’t deliberate about what you fill that space with, you will likely fall back into the old pattern. Replace the old belief with a healthier, more empowered one. Stop feeding energy to those thoughts that don’t serve you, and start feeding the ones that do.
One of my favorite quotes is:
Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
Use this awareness to consciously create your life. Start by knowing what you want, then focus your thoughts and energy on that. Pay attention to where you are going, not where you have been. See what you want, and feel it as if it is already happening. Keep moving in that general direction with all of your thoughts, decisions and actions. You will be amazed at what starts to show up.
Feeling stuck? Consider this: What are you more afraid of? The belief that you don’t create your reality, or the belief that you do?