We come into this world pure. Complete. (Well, except for the epigenetic scarring of ancestral trauma. But that’s for another time.)
Over the years, we acquire the imprints of our conditioning, internalizing the external expectations imposed on us.
Ways we need to be, to act, to respond. How we should look, what we should wear, what we should say, or not say.
You should say this. You should do that. You should get a real job. You should get married. Have kids. You should tell your kids to do these things. You should call this person. You should be more like him; less like her. This is the list of acceptable careers/schools/opinions/behaviors.
It’s said that 90% of our experience is driven by our subconscious, and that until the age of 7 our brains are in a hypnagogic state, accepting these mental imprints without any resistance.
These imprints become embedded in our subconscious.
The Sanskrit word samskara refers to our habits. The word literally means grooves. The neural pathways of our subconscious are grooved.
This is why habits are so formidable and so hard to break.
We often don’t realize how we have internalized the expectations and conditioning.
Trying to find a new path can be like trying to drive on a narrow dirt road that has deeply embedded tire tracks. No matter how hard you try to keep the car out of the tracks, that car keeps gravitating back to them. the road isn’t wide enough for much variance and as you get close to the tracks they pull you back in.
Some people live their whole life trying to meet these expectations of their conditioning, never realizing that there were other options. Or they get pulled into the old patterns so many times that they believe the tracks in the road are the only path, that it’s futile to try to change.
Underneath all of those sanskaras is you. The you who existed before the grooves. Whole and compete.
Somewhere along the way I realized that the most important learning we can do as adults is unlearning the conditioning of our childhood.
The path is not a doing path. It’s an undoing.
The process of becoming is really about unbecoming.
The word personality comes from the word persona, the Latin word for masks.
As we strip away the layers of masks we wear, we come closer to the truth of who we are.
This is the process of returning home to yourself.