Having stepped a few feet inside the realm of forgiveness, I find myself now confronted with my next challenge: My residual conditioned behavior.
Our conditioned behavior or behavior patterns are like the two-by-four beams we build our “constructed self” out of.
The ridgepole is our vasanas or core issues. From them our patterns hang.
And we live in this comfortable house, in familiar surroundings, seldom venturing out.
I anticipate that many of my patterns will now start to come up because I’ve forgiven some of the “villains” in my biased story of life. The lower the water in the river, the more visible the rocks.
Even though I’ve forgiven a few important people, I noticed one conditioned pattern today: I still walk down the street and avert my gaze (conditioned behavior).
I have a whole story about why I do that – I’m a writer, busy, need privacy, awareness path, and so on. But it cuts me off from society. I feel isolated and rather dead inside.
So it isn’t serving me but I keep walking around in the circle, in the rut of the familiar. Except today I did notice it.
As an experiment, I resolved to smile at everyone I met as a way of countering my pattern.
It was hard. I swam against the current. I think I ran the experiment for around ten minutes and then utterly forgot about it until hours later, such was my resistance. Disaster on my first attempt to address my conditioning. Nevertheless I made the attempt. I’ll do better next time.
Resistance aside, I still do have boundaries. I still prefer the quiet life and lots and lots of time alone. Again, as Kathleen would point out, it seems to be a question, not so much of this or that, but of balance.
I find myself always attracted to “balance.” (Libra.) I have a longing for the balanced life, the centered life, the still and quiet life.
And this desire is not conditioned. How do I know that?
Because there’s no element of fear, stress, or emergency associated with it as there usually is with conditioned behavior.
The loving feeling I feel when I’m balanced is relaxing, not stressing or organizing as conditioned behavior is.
When I settle into the loving feeling, I as a constructed self progressively disappear, whereas when I respond from my conditioning I come more and more into focus as a carefully-constructed performance.
(To be concluded tomorrow.)