Like Pavlov’s dog, we are all conditioned. All the way through human history, our likelihood of survival has been higher when we are included in the family or immediate community. We will do pretty much anything to not get kicked out. What does childhood conditioning look like in adult life?
As a child you knew to be quiet when you got “the look”. As an adult in a meeting with a stern boss, you sink back into your chair, don’t contribute your ideas, then get mad at yourself for not speaking up.
Being ridiculed as a child for crying or being “too sensitive”, you went numb to avoid being shamed and manipulated. As an adult, you are absorbed in thoughts and have trouble with actually feeling. You zone out a lot. You are dissatisfied with the shallowness of your relationships and have trouble opening up with people. Looking back, you feel grief over missed opportunities for connection.
You had an unpredictable childhood and you lived for those sweet times when your family had fun together. For months you came home from school to parents who were engaged and stable then one day it shifted again. You became an expert at reading people. You find yourself with social anxiety, unable to relax your vigilance enough to enjoy being around people. Experiences turn into beliefs. I can’t count on people. I am on my own.
Conditioning is in our animal body, our primitive brain and nervous system, and it operates below the level of ordinary awareness. Enter mindfulness inquiry. Open the door and see what really makes you tick.
We form beliefs based on our experiences. A child who is seen, known and loved believes they are lovable. This is positive conditioning based on their own true experience that important people in their life know them, love them, and include them. When children grow up without a secure attachment and with neglect and abuse, we believe it is happening because there is something inherently wrong with us. This colors our experience throughout our life until we see through it and stop shaming ourselves.
What keeps you mired in the sticky mess of experience and beliefs?
In our July and August Sunday classes, we’re going to work with thoughts that cause a reaction – our gut tightens or our mind compulsively goes into catastrophic thinking. This is where the juice is. We’ll use the Reverse Inquiry to reveal what is unconsciously holding us back and the Kiloby Inquiry tools to free ourselves.
I have waived the fees during the pandemic so you can join us free. Details and sign up here: https://lynnfraserstillpoint.com/workshops/freeing-ourselves/