"The latter part of a wise man's life," said Jonathan Swift, "is taken up in curing the follies, prejudices, and false opinions he had contracted in the former."
The awareness to see one's own follies, prejudices, and false opinions is in fact essential to overcome one's psychocultural programming.
But before we discuss awareness, we should look at how we went about assimilating programs that didn't benefit our evolution.
Apart from what we have been told about the nature of reality, we also actively programmed ourselves on what things meant.
Unfortunately, most of our programming was done when we were children. At that time, we did not have sufficient knowledge or experience to sift through the absurd to uncover the profound.
While many of the belief-systems we adopted as children were designed to help us survive, they may have had a deleterious effect on us as adults. Since these programs for the most part arise from the unconscious, we may often find ourselves responding childishly to challenging events rather than summoning our adult power to move through the problem.
As a child, for example, I adopted the belief that if something did not work out for me, my best option was to move on to something else.
This program created failure and frustration in my adulthood.
As an adult, I noticed that this program to negate effort made my life very difficult.
But by practicing sufficient awareness to notice the pattern and choosing to learn to persist in every endeavor, I noticed a critical shift in my life experience.
What I noticed was that when I applied my new decision to persist when things were not going my way that even seemingly impossible things would turn in my favor.
A program, then, is a repeated pattern arising from a previous decision. It is usually one made as far back as childhood. It is an early and immature decision that creates disharmony and dysfunction in one's present life.
Cultivating awareness breaks the cycle of living out decisions made in childhood.
Awareness is noticing a recurring life situation that disturbs happiness and success. It is inquiring into the original decision that set the life-denying pattern into motion. Once a person sees the program that has been silently and almost invisibly running their life, they can redecide how to live their life and organize their experiences in a more meaningful way.
Saleem Rana got his masters in psychotherapy from California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, Ca., 15 years ago and now resides in Denver, Colorado. His articles on the internet have inspired over ten thousand people from around the world. Discover how to create a remarkable life
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