I was listening to The Power of Sacred Business, Lead from the Heart Series by Shereen Sun this morning. LMFT and founder of DharmaBridge, Kelly Blaser, was the guest. She talked about growing your sacred business and most interestingly to me, about cultural conditioning. Under the larger umbrella of cultural conditioning exists the conditioned mind. Our conditioned minds live inside a conversation about ourselves. I understood this to be how we perceive the messages society throws at us and how we interpret and apply those messages to ourselves. We’re in this space of “conditioned mind” a lot of the time – Kelly explained that we’re hypnotized by it; however, it’s just a conversation in our minds – We’re hallucinated into thinking it’s the truth, and we behave based upon that collective hallucination. Kelly further explained that in our society, there is a conditioning that’s agreed upon. For example, we happen to agree that we are more worthy if we have more degrees…More education and credentials equal more worthiness, which is actually just a construct. This is an example of a culturally agreed upon conditioned belief. Holy cow, I’ve totally bought into this agreement! Furthermore, I believe that I have this overachiever construct due to my own issues related to adoption, which manifests as perfectionism. I thought about how much time and energy I spend on negative self-talk, trying to achieve more, and avoid the pain that comes with others disliking me. Kelly believes that there is a way to flip this or reframe this conditioned mindset. We have an opportunity to liberate ourselves from anything that goes against our conditioning. The moment you begin to walk through the discomfort, e.g., anxiety, being liked, conflict, self-hatred, etc., you’re in the process of burning away your conditioned patterns. I hate discomfort. I want things to be easy, for pete’s sake. Well, if you can burn away your conditioned patterns, then you begin to return yourself to the truth of who you are, which is infinite possibility. Okay, so it’s a process, maybe a long, uncomfortable process with a lot of heat. Moving through the discomfort helps you find liberation. It’s in the walking…If you can experience the heat of the discomfort and think of it as a kharmic seed that’s being burned away, and if it didn’t burn away it would just take root and create the same conditions you’ve been accustomed to, then you can eventually experience liberation.
I like that Kelly said there is nothing wrong with discomfort. Pay attention to how it feels. The more you can unhook from what you think the discomfort means and actually be with the discomfort, realizing that it’s fine, it’s not a problem, the more you begin to burn away separate self patterns, or the parts of the conditioned mind that perhaps weren’t benefitting you. Drop what was, and step into what’s new.
All of this made a lot of sense to me, as I’ve been in a lot of discomfort lately, and it has been pretty awful. The piece above came out of this discomfort. It was intuitive (as most of my sketches are at this point), and I wasn’t quite sure what would emerge. Soul art, soul practice. At first, I wasn’t happy with how it turned out, but I thought that was perhaps a metaphor for how I felt about myself at the moment. Today, as I finished the piece, I felt a little better about just sitting with the discomfort I feel until it doesn’t feel uncomfortable anymore. I added pink into the background. Pink is a color I associate with warmth, cheer, peace and cotton candy – the good feelies. Maybe that’s my intuition telling me, I’m walking through the heat and doing my best to patiently transform my conditioned mind. I think it’s gonna be awhile. If you’re feeling discomfort today, you’re definitely not alone. It’s a soul journey, and I’m happy to share it with you.