Our lives and our personality is defined by our state of being. And in many ways our state of being is determined by our conditioned emotional response to environmental triggers. Certain environmental circumstances trigger specific thoughts and conditioned emotional responses which lead in turn to specific behavioral patterns and actions.
An environmental trigger could be anything from waking up in the morning which is triggered by your alarm clock, all the way to your conditioned emotional response to a certain person in your life.
These triggers are important because of the thoughts and emotions which we have trained ourselves to respond to them with. However, environmental triggers are not important in and of themselves, and by themselves they have no inherent meaning. Our reactions to these triggers are nothing more than programs which we have practiced so many times to the point where we have memorized them and they have become subconscious, thus automatic.
Many of us do not even realize what our triggers are let alone the behaviors, thoughts, and conditioned emotional responses they activate. This is detrimental because if our environment determines our thoughts and emotions it means that we are not in control of our lives, and it also indicates that we are not the conscious creators of our lives.
That is why one of our most important tasks in personal growth and reinventing ourselves is to deactivate our triggers by consciously changing our conditioned emotional responses wherever they are inappropriate or self-defeating, over time. For as we do this systematically we become exponentially more conscious in our lives, and more powerful.
The most direct method for accomplishing this is of course, meditation.
Meditation: Conditioning Ourselves to Feel Good
When we meditate we are practicing shutting off our minds by gathering our attentionand developing attention over time. But that is not all that we are doing. Attention is energy, and by increasing our levels of attention we are also increasing our energy levels by channeling higher energy through our bodies. Thus we are literally practicingfeeling good.
And by feeling good, and eventually feeling love, gratitude, inspiration, bliss, and so on, and by holding those feelings in our bodies for long periods of time during meditation, we are literally programming ourselves, our minds and bodies, both chemically and perceptually, to maintain those positive states of beings perpetually until they become our new habitual state of being.
This is important because our state of being literally determines our reality. It determines our actions, our decisions, our perspective of our environment, our personal growth, our intelligence, our health, and the specific vibration of our state of being determines the reality which we vibrationally attract.
Moreover studies have shown that individuals who meditate are able to return faster to a state of inner peace and compassion – feeling good – than those who do not meditate. For it takes individuals who do not meditate much longer to return to these states, if they are able to at all.
A study out of UCLA headed by Eileen Luders discovered that mediators actually have more developed brains specifically in the areas related to attention and emotional regulation, among other qualities. (Source: Psychology Today)
“We know that people who consistently meditate have a singular ability to cultivate positive emotions, retain emotional stability, and [to] engage in mindful behavior…”
She explains further:
“These [more developed areas] might be the neuronal underpinnings that give meditators’ the outstanding ability to regulate their emotions, and allow for well-adjusted responses to whatever life throws their way.” (Psychology Today)
By consistently meditating we are programming our bodies and minds literally to feel differently, and feel better which in turn creates better thoughts and a better environment and so on. And as recent research suggests, we are developing the aspect of our brains which are responsible for such tasks meaning the more we meditate, the better we become at consciously regulating our emotions.
By meditating we are already training ourselves to be able to deactivate all of those environmental trigger which usually stimulate unconscious negative habits relating to thoughts, feelings, and actions. This is just another reason why meditation is essential for personal transformation and growth.
For now just imagine yourself sitting down to meditate in the morning and then achieving a state of inner peace and bliss. At first when you achieve this state it will be fragile and somewhat easily disturbed. Happiness may last for the whole time you are getting ready in the morning until one of your children leaves a toy on the floor and you step on it and every ounce of bliss disappears instantaneously to be replaced with frustration and wrath, and you end up storming into the kitchen looking for confrontation.
That is day one.
Frustration and wrath at this event is the memorized behavior based off of that specific environmental trigger. We all have unique buttons which are pushed by specific environmental triggers to produce a finely tuned conditioned emotional responses and behaviors which are usually subconscious.
But you see, our conditioned emotional responses are not the only option for responding to environmental circumstances. Just because we have memorized them does not by any means justify them as the most appropriate, let alone the most beneficial. If we are at the whim of our environment, as all of us are in some way or another, then we are setting ourselves up for a lifetime of frustration, stress, and unconscious behavior.
Deactivating Environmental Triggers
“The Shaman [conscious human being] disassembles his hot buttons instead of trying to make the world stop pushing them.” – Dr. Alberto Villoldo
Changing our conditioned mental and emotional responses to environmental triggers is not about suppressing our emotional and mental reactions. I have said before and I will say it again, suppression has no place in the life of a growing individual.
Changing our conditioned emotional responses to environmental triggers is aboutdeactivating the environmental triggers by mastering our thoughts and emotions to the degree where we are conscious enough to be able to assume whatever feeling we desire in each moment.
As we practice meditation, or as we simply practice feeling more positive emotions, over time the state of being we have been deliberately assuming becomes deeper and is less effected by our surroundings because we are more in control of our emotions. And we all have the ability to get to a point where we are so in control that it simply doesn’t make sense to feel badly because it is infinitely more pleasurable to maintain bliss rather than be dragged into a less satisfying emotional state of being.
Therefore your buttons will still be pushed throughout the day by specific environmental triggers, but because you are feeling differently and better, you will be affected less and less and you will be able to return more and more quickly to your original state until eventually you won’t leave it at all.
So going back to the example I used before, say we meditate first thing in the morning consistently for 1 year, and by doing so we achieve fantastic states of being and levels of bliss and peace. By achieving such deep and all-encompassing higher emotional states (level of consciousness), next time you do happen to step on that stray toy there may be a flash of anger or frustration, but it is only a flash.
It may flash through your body, but then immediately afterwards you are able to return promptly to exactly how you were feeling before that environmental trigger triggered your old conditioned emotional response. And over time your mind and your body learns that new state as your new conditioned emotional response to that environmental trigger, and all environmental triggers.
Eventually a time will come when you have practiced that new state of being so diligently that you have memorized the feeling of bliss (or whatever feeling you have chosen to consciously assume) and thus it is no longer a conscious affairs. You will no longer need to pay any attention to consciously feeling bliss, you simply are bliss. Bliss has now become your memorized and habitual state of being.
Establishing New Conditioned Emotional Responses
Just because you habitually feel and think a certain way does not make it who you are. Who we really are is formless, pure awareness that is beyond the limitations of both space and time. It is absolutely fascinating to me to ponder the purpose then of the nature and function of our subconscious minds and our bodies ability to memorize and unconsciously produce and maintain specific emotions and states of being.
For one I believe that it is so that our curious and creative conscious minds are free from all the limitations that would be imposed on us if we did have to deal with all the intricacies of maintaining life such as remembering to breathe and to beat our hearts, and re-learning how to drive a car every time we sat behind the steering wheel instead of it being a completely automatic and almost largely subconscious affair.
Ideally children of the world would be born in a natural environment where they would learn literally from birth how to connect with the universe, channel love and feel the love that the natural world is expressing towards us unconditionally in every moment. Moreover, we would learn to live in a state of universal balance and harmony.
It would also be ideal if all children were raised by enlightened and spiritually aware parents who themselves lived with pure love and openness, genuineness, passion, and inspiration. Then those would be the emotional and behavioral habits we would have memorized by the time we reached adolescence and our lives would be governed by these beautiful conditioned emotional responses and thus they would unfold perfectly.
Therefore the system is not flawed and our subconscious (mind and habits) are not our enemy. The system is perfect, but the systems which generations of humans have created and memorized is imperfect. For many of us our subconscious minds are the record of all that imperfection and we replay it subconsciously in our daily lives. So what we need to do is consciously relearn new emotions and states of being.
Change is not easy, but with persistence it is guaranteed. If you persist in meditation and persist in training yourself to literally feel better and sustain higher emotional states, then eventually your subconscious will take over and it will maintain these beautiful and uplifting states of consciousness for you.
From this perspective I could not think of a more perfect and unlimited system. Our subconscious minds and our bodies are not the enemy, we just have to learn how to use them properly.