Whose Thinking, Speech & Actions?
How many times are we surprised & wonder: 'How could I possibly think that?'; 'What got into me to say that?'; or 'I cannot believe I just did that!' Do we ever notice that our life seems to have a certain momentum - that it sort of rolls along all on its own, on autopilot? And that regardless of how we may try, we can't seem to gain any degree of control over it? Yet, paradoxically, don't most of us assume that we have far greater control over the external world than over our inner world? Otherwise, wouldn't we be foolish to focus almost all of our efforts on controlling external circumstances, while basically ignoring our inner life?
Undeniably, our conditioning, which includes both genetic & environmental factors, does profoundly influence almost every aspect of our life: from our thoughts, speech & behavior, to our self-concept and worldview. We can't (so far) do much about our our own genetics, while the environment (the culmination of everything that's happened in the world up to this moment in time), is realistically, only minimally influenced by a single individual's input.
So how is it possible not to be affected by conditioning? The more we intentionally practice observing, accepting, not acting out, and thus releasing the three components of conditioning (greed, aversion & delusion), the less we are affected by, & suffer the effects of conditioning. This logic is fairly easy to comprehend, yet surprisingly challenging to perfect, because of cognitive fusion - our addictive attachment to all aspects of greed, aversion & delusion ie conditioning.
“If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace. And if you let go completely, you will have complete peace.” Ajahn Chah
What exactly are we letting go of? Our total identification with greed, aversion & delusion ie conditioning. We are able to function at different degrees of consciousness: from reptile-like mindless conditioned reactivity, all the way to saint-like complete freedom from conditioning ie full authenticity. Only we can intentionally cultivate our own evolution of consciousness towards complete authenticity.
The world's wisdom traditions (in contrast to materialist perspectives) have understood for well over three thousand years that human beings are far, far more than a complex set of reaction patterns, rigidly predetermined by conditioning.
Rest in peace Leonard - your beautiful, sincere music remains