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  • jakebbrock52

Learning a Better Way

The human mind is a learning apparatus. In its natural state it is like a blank white canvas, ready to be filled with color or like a computer, just waiting to be programmed. The problem is that once the mind has been imprinted and has learned a certain way of doing and being, it can be very difficult to change it. It then becomes like a stubborn old dog being forced to learn new tricks.

This is descriptive of our most basic human dilemma. When we first enter this world, it is simply not possible for us to choose how we would want our mental computer to be programmed. Rather this programming takes place prior to the age when human cognitive ability to choose typically develops. Thus each one of us had no choice but to submit to having our biological mind apparatus’ initial learning imprint come from a source outside of ourselves. We were raised up in and inundated with an entire system of thought and emotion that was not our own. Or another way to put it: we were overwhelmed with an imposed learning imprint.

This predicament has become so common and extensive that it is now nearly impossible to escape. No matter where you were born in this world, this same basic dynamic was at work, shaping your experience. The exact content of your earliest mental programming might be slightly different than the content received by someone born in a different country and raised in a different culture, but the dynamic is the same worldwide. Every human being on the planet alive in our times receives an imposed mental imprint throughout the years of infancy and childhood. And this imprint then sets the tone for the remainder of one's life experience.

This has also become a widely accepted aspect of modern human life. Well-intentioned parents raise their children with the primary motive of teaching them how to function and make their own way in this world. Since a child is not capable of molding and shaping his or her own mind, he or she must be taught. So parents, school, and society-at-large pick up the slack. Then as part of this conditioning the child also learns not to question this societal ritual, being assured that it is for his or her own good.

Somewhat ironically, it is only when we embark upon the spiritual journey of consciousness expansion that we begin to discern a conflict. Why is this? Because with awareness comes the ability to observe our own mental functions. And when this ability comes to us, we invariably begin to question all the aspects of our mental workings that we never chose—that is to say, all the aspects that were imposed upon us in our younger years. Moreover, with awareness comes the ability to better discern the nature and quality of those imposed mental programs, which usually brings us to the conclusion that what we learned in our infancy and childhood was not as beneficial and harmless as we once thought. True, it may have helped us to make a way in this world and carve some kind of a niche for ourselves, but in many other ways it has actually worked against us.

Opening ourselves up to the realm of spiritual truth impacts us in many profound ways, one of which is the reexamining and subsequent rearranging of our value system. It renders us as more inwardly attuned. And out of this new attunement comes the desire for making our inner world more friendly and accessible—not so foreign and abusive. This is how we come to realize that our imposed mental imprint has been working against us. We see that the thoughts and emotions at work in us do not tend toward peace and serenity. Rather they are often troubled and disturbing. They are fearful, anxious, and resentful. “Where did all this negative mental activity come from?” we ask ourselves. We cannot recall having chosen it, for to have done so would have been madness. Obviously, it is a learned behavioral pattern. But we did not ask to learn it; we did not desire to learn it. Rather we learned it at the hand of others—our parents, schoolteachers, society-at-large, etc. Now we must set about the task of purging our mind of this imposed imprint and learning a better way.

So it is that at some point the spiritual journey leads us to this imperative pertaining to our mental state. We come face to face with this hurdle in our path—a hurdle that cannot be sidestepped. This may come as a surprise to us. Why? Because most people who embark on the spiritual journey do not fully understand what it involves. If you were to tell them that eventually they would need to go in and consciously renounce and reprogram their entire mental apparatus they probably would not believe you. “What does spirituality have to do with my mind?” they might ask. But the truth is that our mental state is an integral aspect of our spiritual condition. And a troubled disturbed mind can make spiritual progress impossible.

The good news is that this relearning and reprogramming of our minds is not as daunting of a task as it often initially appears to be. We can do it. We have the God-given authority to do it through the working of our spiritual consciousness. True, it may take some effort. But if we go about it in the right way we are sure to make steady, relatively quick progress.

The trick is going about it the right way. It is not enough to simply become aware of our predicament. We must go further than that and take a more proactive approach. Also it is counterproductive to think that someone or some higher power outside of ourselves can help us out and take care of this for us. No, this is strictly our baby, and the sooner we accept the responsibility for making it right, the sooner we will see results. Once we accept this, we discover that this work of mental reprogramming is not only doable for us; it is also a highly rewarding undertaking. In terms of progress on the spiritual journey there are few other undertakings that can compare to this one’s positive impact and value.

The question then becomes: how do we proceed? Let us say that we have gained the full revelation of the nature of our predicament. We have seen that our ingrained mental imprint is not our own—that it was imposed upon us in our early years. We have become aware of how toxic and detrimental it is for us and how it goes against our new spiritual value system of desiring peace and serenity in our inner world. And we have accepted the fact that no one can help us with this—that we must take the initiative ourselves. Now we are ready.

The first step is obvious, but that does not mean it is easy. In fact, the first step is usually the most difficult one. It involves using our conscious awareness or budding spiritual Presence to go in and delete all those old files. The reason this is not easy is that it requires work, persistence, and to some degree determination. It also tends to take a while, which means we will need to be patient and not get down on ourselves.

Our spiritual Presence is adept at awareness. It watches and listens. But now we need it to take on a new role. We need it to become proactively authoritative. Some of us may not realize that the same Presence within us that watches has the capability of taking on this new role of doing. How does this authoritative action play out? Imagine yourself talking to an unwanted intruder in your home. How would you address them? You would say, “I don’t want you here anymore; you’re not welcome. You need to leave.” And if that does not do it, you then raise your voice a little and demand, “Get out! Leave right now! Be gone!”

Our spiritual Presence has a lot more authority than we tend to think it does, and pretty soon many of the old programs are cleared out through this approach. But that does not mean that we will glide through the entire process without some discouraging moments. This is because what we discover as we go along is that there is an entire strata of hidden unconscious mental programming within us—stuff we never even knew was there. And often this subconscious strata can be even more unpleasant and foreign than that which is known (that is why it is hidden). So just discovering this about our inner world can make us feel pretty bad about ourselves. But once it is exposed, the same authoritative approach will work to eventually clean the slate.

Then at last the glorious day comes when our mind has been cleansed and cleared of all its habitual imposed obstructions. And when this happens to us, we then feel ready and confident to begin adding new content to our mental arena. We become like responsible stewards of a realm that was formerly out of our control. Through our own experience of living many years with an imposed mental imprint and the suffering that this brought into our lives, we have now learned a better way. No longer susceptible to the same dilemma that the childhood years brought, we now become masters of our own mind. We decide what gains entrance and what stays. This is what all the spiritual masters accomplished on their way to becoming masters. They gained total mastery of their own inner world through the exact same process that we have been discussing. This is what Jesus was speaking of when he said to his disciples, “Take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

Everything changes in our lives when we become masters of our own minds. Not only do we find true peace and rest, but even our circumstances tend to improve. Our problems naturally begin to fade away. Why? Because, having learned a better way, we no longer obsess about them or become unduly fearful. Such responses were intrinsically bound up with our imposed imprint. And most of our problems have manifested as an outgrowth of our mental obsession and fear. At least, that is what turned them from minor obstacles into major impediments.

The spiritual journey of consciousness expansion has so many wonderful life-changing benefits. But we must sometimes work for it. Such is life on the earthly plane. But if the great masters could overcome the same obstacles that have crossed our path in this life, then so can we. And if they could learn a better way from their own experience, so can we.

Very few of us had spiritual values when we set out upon this journey. Our imposed imprint made us believe that the really valuable things in life were outward and materialistic. Thus we not only neglected our inner realm; we literally spurned it. But conscious awareness exposed this conflicting predicament and made us realize that there are few things of greater worth in this life than peace of mind. And it is that same awareness or Presence at work in us that delivers us from the bondage of our imposed imprint and teaches us a better way to live.

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