As soon as we are born, we begin to learn about our environment via our external stimulus and as we grow, we become conditioned to react to life in ways that we believe on some level keep us safe. We become programmed to believe and invest in certain ideas and perspectives about ourselves and life and we store everything we learn in the subconscious mind which does not assess or qualify the information it receives but simply accepts, integrates and operates from it. We spend much of our time operating from the subconscious and so it pays for us to recognise what programming and conditioning cannot lead us to living well and reprogramme what we need to in order to create and enjoy full and happy lives.
Not all of our conditioning and programming is unhelpful; we learn to take care of ourselves, to dress, to safely cross the road, to prepare and eat meals and so on and yet still, the way we do these things may not be allowing us to engage with life, express and experience our innate joy or connect with the present moment. We change our approach when we become mindful of how and why we live the way we do and bring our conscious awareness to our tasks and actions so that we can do things in ways that allow us to align with who we really are before, beneath and beyond the limited, created self.
Until we become aware of how we live, we often operate from a series of habits that we take part in daily without really being conscious of them or assuming that they are conscious choices without investigating why we take part in them. Because our habits are generally tied up with our routines, responsibilities and commitments, when our inner wisdom alerts us that there is another way to live that would serve us better, we often obstruct it by continuing to do the things as we have been programmed or programmed ourselves to do them.
When we live this way, we miss out on creating a life that is guided by our intuition, inspired by our imagination, engaging our purpose and sees us taking an approach to living that is motivated by our innate desire to live authentically and in alignment with who we really are instead of continue to operate from a set of habits that might not be leading us to expressing our highest good in the world and enjoying life as we are designed to.
When we consider and reflect on what we do, why we do it and the way we behave and act, we might notice that not only are we often overriding our instincts and are perhaps not happy with how we are taking part in life but that we do have a choice in who we are and the way we take action. We find that we can start to pay attention to what we are thinking and feeling during the times we are intuitively guided to move away from our habits and how and why we override our impulses simply because we have become used to familiar behaviour.
When it becomes our way of life to live by habit rather than intuition, not only does it often feel monotonous but we block our creative flow, inspiration, creativity and ability to experience new thinking and feeling. We identify more with the ego than the true self and we forget how to trust that deep down we are able to experience new insight about how best to live. Even those habits that benefit us such as morning meditation or an evening walk might obstruct our intuition to rest instead or spend time with a loved one when we allow the practice of habit to override our internal wisdom and rather than evolve and transform as we are called to, remain identified with or rigid about being faithful to our habits.
When we start to practise tuning into our intuition and following it no matter what habits we have in place, we begin to trust that we know the best way to live in the moment and that our knowledge of how to do so is always evolving and expanding. When we live this way, from faith in ourselves, trust in our inner wisdom, life not only becomes more meaningful but more harmonious and filled with possibility and potential.
A simple way to approach transforming the way we live is to turn our shoulds into coulds so that we no longer act out of a sense of obligation or duty when it comes to our habits and instead allow ourselves to notice how we feel when we calmly consider what we might do in any moment before we start to generate a lot of thinking about it. When we do, we become more flexible, more in flow with the ever changing nature of life and we embrace play, fun and spontaneity. We start to be more open to what might happen in our day and although we still make plans and commitments to ourselves and others, when we feel guided to deviate from our course in order to honour our wisdom and we allow ourselves to, we live more enjoyable, more fulfilling and more effective lives.
The most empowering realisation we can have is that we can change. We are not fixed personalities, just because we have thought and felt and acted in a certain way for a certain amount of time does not mean we need to identify with a certain way of being any longer; we can transform our idea of who we are and how we live. We can let go of our habits. We can trust our intuition to guide us away from what is not working and to live more consciously so that even those habits that serve us can be let go of or changed when we are led to do something else that would be better for us in the moment.
When we stop allowing habit to obstruct intuition, when we allow ourselves to embrace the unknown over the known, we find that the signs we are asking for to guide us are appearing, that the insights and wisdom we seek on living well are ready to make themselves known, that possibilities for a new way are abundant, that the sense of newness we desire in life is endlessly available and that the purpose of our lives is always unfolding. We just have to be willing to give up our habits when we are being led to live in a new way so that we can begin to find out what else might be on offer.
At least 95% of the time and even up to 99% of it, we are operating from the subconscious mind, from programming which seeks to affirm its truth by leading us to make choices, take action and create behaviour that verifies it. Because we are not conscious of this most of the time, we rarely know when we are reverting to the subconscious until after we have repeated thinking and feeling and action that support and are created by our conditioned beliefs about life. When these beliefs are unhelpful, when our programming limits us or prevents us from engaging fully with life and operating from our wellbeing, we can notice this without creating suffering and choose new beliefs and behaviour and leave behind past programming for good. We do this by reprogramming the subconscious. We consciously choose to change our belief systems, invest in and energise new emotional responses to life, set new behaviours and commit to doing this work daily.
To take this understanding from intellectual concept into practice, we have to make the time to investigate and experiment with new ideas about what is possible for us and engage those that resonate when we feel triggered into acting from unhelpful familiar belief states. Every time we become conscious of the urge to revert to limiting subconscious beliefs and behaviours, we have to drop out of the ego and its reasoning and into a deeper truth that allows us to operate from a more Universal understanding of life. If we do not do this in time and invest in thinking that is not aligned with our truth and repeat behaviour that does not honour it, we can choose in the moment to again reject the ego’s call for justification, judgement and suffering of any kind and reflect on our choices in order to learn from them and choose differently in future.
We can only do this by practising. By choosing not to react to the trigger of past emotions so that we can create new ones. Habitual behaviour and reactions are formed by repetition and to create a new response to life, to make it habit to operate from a new awareness that allows us to be guided by intuition and insight and create and engage in new behaviours, we have to invest in new thinking and choose this even when familiar emotional reactions surface and we feel triggered into acting in past and familiar ways.
Becoming conscious of the thoughts we invest in, the feelings we create and energise and the behaviour they motivate allows us to decide on choosing a new approach to how we deal with thoughts that do not inspire healthy behaviour and if we do get caught up in familiar and unhelpful modes of being, to choose not to continue with them. When thoughts flow through our minds, we get to choose if we consider, believe in and follow them. Reminding ourselves of what we want for our lives – an experience that is harmonious and healthy rather than learned and limited – and making it our default to stop ourselves from engaging in unhelpful familiar behaviour every time it’s about to get started or as soon as we see it has, does lead to results if we do it enough times.
In terms of the way we create our experience of life, the way we create our reality, we find that we see in life what we expect to because we mould our interpretation to fit our beliefs. When we change our beliefs, we change the world around us because we experience new ideas about who we are and what power and potential we hold. If we feel called to, we can allow our wisdom to guide us in uncovering why we think the way we do, reflecting on the teaching and modelling that led us to hold certain ideas about life. But this is not necessary for us all. We might simply identify the areas in which we see we are operating from unhelpful programming and work to reprogramme our belief systems there without deep diving into our pasts.
Reprogramming takes the course of repetition until the new programme becomes our default mode of operation but the method will look different for us all at different times. What is important is the desire, willingness and commitment to change. Reprogramming takes will and intention as well as conscious awareness of how the ego reacts to our new ideas and beliefs and behaviours. If we have been practicing a mode of being for a very long time, it is confronting for the limited self when we begin to make changes and this can trigger insecurity and self doubt if we buy into thoughts about how uncomfortable and uneasy we are about changing and read these as evidence or suggestion that we shouldn’t try or cannot continue.
The act of reprogramming is predicated on the understanding that we have the ability to choose which thoughts we pay attention to and invest in, to allow new thoughts to flow through our minds, to change who we are and how we show up in the world and to open up to a new experience of self and reality. If we don’t believe it is possible for us to change, we won’t because we believe that we can’t. If we realise that personality is not fixed but fluid and that the created self is based upon concepts and ideas we have invested in, we see that we can change who we are by changing our minds about what we believe about life and if we practice living in alignment with the knowledge we uncover about our true selves, we begin to naturally become more of who we really are and override any programming that would lead us to continue living as who we are not.
Read part two.