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The Art of Unconditioning

The spiritual life is the art of unconditioning. Almost every conflict and discord in human life is rooted in our attachment to our own habitual, conditioned, thought patterns. Beginning at our birth, we are mentally programmed by a faction of unconscious non-thinkers from our families, neighborhoods, schools, religious institutions, media outlets, and government institutions. Most of us rarely take the time in our lives to examine or question how our own thinking and, ultimately, our actions are influenced and directed by that early, flawed, mind-shaping. Instead, we proceed to think the way we have been taught to think, believe what we have been told to believe, and act the way we have been instructed to act. Without ever investigating our conditioning, we expect others to reflect our own ways, then consider them a kind of enemy when they do not.

Contemporary society has produced generations of human beings paralyzed with anxious and depressed thoughts, who act out of anger and fear, and harbor deep feelings of loneliness and alienation from their fellow humans. Many of us feel at some point, there must be something more to life, something greater than the existence we currently experience. Few of us make any kind of effort to look beneath the surface of who we are; why we think as we think, believe what we believe, and act the way we act. We continue to experience life the way we have been conditioned to experience it since our birth. We are essentially living someone else’s life, existing as nothing more than the walking dead.

I suspect more of us would seek out answers to our confused thoughts and behaviors if we had some sort of a guide book or instruction manual to help us along the way. Contemporary religion has largely failed the spiritually hungry, choosing instead to focus on political movements and social ideas that support their own mental conditioning. Therefore, today’s spiritual seeker is forced to look outside religious institutions for any substantial direction in navigating the inner domain.

The answers to all of life’s important questions such as ”Who am I?” ”Is there a God?” ”What is my purpose?” are available to us and can be found by the simple act of unconditioning our mind. To use a parable from the Christian scriptures, Jesus once said to his disciples, ”No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better. (Like 5:36-39) Of course, an even simpler way to say what Jesus said so poetically would be ”Uncondition your mind.” Emptying is the first action one must do before being filled. Deleting your old conditioned mind is the first step in its renewal.

As a student of spiritually for over 50 years, I have learned the importance of the Art of Unconditioning. That is the sole purpose of this blog: to discuss my own experience with mental unconditioning, while also encouraging you to step forward and do the same. It is a journey worth the time and commitment. The discoveries are often unexpected, frequently challenging, but always life-changing. Now, let’s see what we can get into…