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On Saturday morning, I got the news that Biden has been elected president just as I was slipping into my kayak for a two-day kayaking and camping trip with friends—a trip that would take me out of cell range for most of the weekend.
After hearing the news, I and my adventure-mates floated leisurely along beautiful Ichatucknee Springs—a unique, spring-fed river that eventually dropped us into the Santa Fe River in North Florida. If you haven’t yet experienced it, it deserves a spot on your Florida “must-do” list. The water was clear and cool, the temperature comfortable in the high 70’s, and brief, light rain that drizzled down upon us for a few minutes felt like a refreshing shower from heaven. It was a pretty spectacular day.
That night, we camped on the banks of the Santa Fe, and then Sunday morning had our coffee around a campfire (one of my favorites things to do in life), before slipping back into our kayaks to continue our float downstream on the Santa Fe for another 9 miles, stopping along the way to visit and swim in some of the 15 natural springs we encountered along the way. That along with about half a dozen fun, little rapids kept that trip interesting and engaging on all levels.
At one point as I drifted, allowing the river to nudge me downstream, I noticed that I was breathing easier and feeling more relaxed than I had in a very long time.
Everyone we encountered, including people whizzing by in their motorboats, waved and seemed to be more relaxed. There was simply less of an edge. It felt like there was less friction in the air. I know I wasn’t the only one that noticed this because everybody in my party commented on it.
Yet, as suspected, when I returned to cell range and checked in, the country seemed as divided as ever. And that brings me to the point of this blog.
How is it that half of this country is in mourning and the other half is jubilant, feeling like we just dodged a major bullet?
If we each, individually, don’t take the time to do our own inner work, embarking on a journey of self-discovery to understand who we are and why we think the way we do, we may always be a pawn in somebody else’s game. Because until we know what triggers us and what our blind spots are, how can we be sure we aren’t being played? That some person or idea outside of ourselves isn’t plucking our emotional strings, manipulating us for their own gains?
While Biden may have won this election, what’s clear is the extent to which at least half of this country has been brainwashed.
The question is, which half?
I would venture to say the answer is both.
At a very early age, we came into this worldwide open, pure love, innocence, and connection seeking to experience more of itself. Then, the world outside of us started telling us who we are, what to think, and “how the world works”. For most people, there was no urge for us to explore and discover who we are. We were TOLD.
We were told by our teachers, our government, our religious leaders, our neighbors, our parents, the media…
Not that they were necessarily doing this maliciously. They were just passing along the information that they had been given…the very same conditioning to which they had been exposed.
So now we have a world of humans who have been taught what to think, and not how to think…FOR THEMSELVES.
We all have our blind spots, so it’s easy to assume that it’s the other person who is brainwashed. That it’s the other person who’s wrong. That it’s the other person who doesn’t get it.
But how can we be so sure? How can we be so cocky and arrogant to assume that we aren’t operating within a false narrative or construct of our own?
First, I think what the situation calls for right now is humility—on ALL of our parts. It’s time for us to acknowledge that there are larger forces at play here, and their power is dependent upon getting us to believe in and follow them. (If you haven’t already checked out my podcast, Episode 36 on CULTS: How They Operate, it’s quite enlightening and worth a listen.)
Second, this seems like a good time to talk about the 5 WAYS YOUR MIND IS BEING INFLUENCED every day. Specifically, your subconscious mind.
The subconscious mind is stronger than the conscious mind, and the subconscious mind is the emotional mind. It’s the part of the mind that gets emotionally triggered, and then the conscious mind tries to make sense out of that triggered feeling and comes up with a narrative, a story, a construct to help us do that. The human mind operating the way it does, it almost always comes up with a story that has us being right and the other being wrong.
It’s the subconscious, emotional mind that is driving us. It’s driving our thoughts. It’s driving our emotions. It’s driving our behavior and our habits. It’s even driving our physical health, because every mental impression has a physical expression in the body. Think about that for a moment. Every single thought you have has a physical expression in your body.
This could be muscles tightening, breath restricting, hands clenching, blood pressure raising.
All of this takes place in the body (another way of putting this is that the body IS the subconscious mind), and the conscious mind is trying to make sense of it all. Due to the way our minds have been conditioned, we look for something to blame. That’s the way the human mind has been programmed to operate: “us” versus “them”, “right” versus “wrong”, perpetrator and victim.
We almost always blame the other person.
Unless your self-esteem is really, really low…then you might be more inclined to assume that you are wrong and the other person is right. But if somebody, even if you are somebody with low self-esteem, gives you a compelling enough story and reason to believe that the other person is to blame, that sure is a relief to our fragile human egos.
So, in order to empower ourselves with self-knowledge, let’s look at the five ways that the human subconscious mind is conditioned (according to Charles Tebbets):
Given enough repetition, the subconscious mind eventually considers what it is hearing to be true. This could work for you, with positive affirmations and by choosing intentionally to what you expose your mind; and this could work against you if you are not aware of the repetitive messages being fed to you by political leaders, media outlets, religious leaders, and others with their own agendas in mind.
2. Identification with a group (or parent)
We all want to belong. So when we find a group that has an appealing or similar viewpoint, it is easy to take it on fully as if it is our own. This phenomenon is known as “Groupthink”, and it’s what some refer to as the mob mentality—when individuals stop thinking as individuals and start thinking as one cohesive group.
Again, as with everything else in life, this group identification doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. It could be a good thing, helping you move further into a lifestyle or mindset that you wish to adopt IF you ensure first that the values of the group truly align with your own personal values.
OR, this could be a negative thing, if it causes you to jettison your values, and your ability to think for yourself, in favor of acceptance in and belonging to the group.
3. Ideas presented by authority figures (and from peer groups)
We have been groomed from an early age to listen to the adults around us. Again, our teachers, religious leaders, government, politicians, parents, neighbors…
The problem is, some of us never stopped following, and so it’s easy for someone with real OR PERCEIVED authority to get us to behave and think in a specific way. Until we stop and question authority, cultivating a healthy skepticism, we may never truly be capable of thinking for ourselves.
4. Intense emotion
The subconscious mind is stronger than the conscious mind. It is also our emotional mind. So when we are experiencing intense emotion, the subconscious mind is wide open, taking in any messages that are being fed to it while it’s in that heightened emotional state. This is important to know. When emotion is flowing, the subconscious mind is wide open.
If somebody can get you to feel sad, angry, or fearful, they can probably then get you to think and behave in a certain way. In other words, if they can hook you emotionally, they can probably get you to do just about anything.
It’s wise to understand this about your own mind, so that you can be the “guard at your own gate”, using your healthy skepticism and your own independent mind to question the assumptions and beliefs being fed to you by others.
Think about the winning formula of this scenario:
A.) You have a person in authority, either real (he/she holds a high position—religious leader, political leader, etc.) or perceived (he or she appear to be successful at something and so, therefore, must know something we don’t;
B.) Combined with a group of likeminded “followers” (again, religious or political groups, especially those with that same person of authority;
C.) They use intense emotion to make you afraid, angry, suspicious, and closed to another leader, group or faction;
D.) These leaders and groups stir up an emotional frenzy, using repetition as they share their messages over and over and over again until there is no longer any doubt in your mind.
And you may have just been hooked.
Hypnosis is what happens when the conscious mind—the critical, analytic, thinking mind is bypassed, granting access to the subconscious mind. This is done through a variety of, including those mentioned above, but also by creating enough confusion, exhaustion, and overwhelm that the conscious mind simply gives up, allowing the subconscious to be wide open and accessible.
There is a whole lot more I could say about all of this, but this is enough to illustrate the point that we are complex beings, and our minds are even more complex than many realize. It’s wise to know your own mind, how it operates, how it is influenced, so you can be empowered with this knowledge.
So in the end, how do you know what’s driving you? How do you check in with yourself to find out if you’re reacting, thinking, and choosing from a triggered place? How do you know when you are “being a pawn” and playing out somebody else’s agenda, and when you are coming from a place of conscious consideration and intention?
If we peel away the layers of all of the conditioning and programming to which we been exposed, what we are left with is the same authentic truth we came into this world as. That we are love, that we are one—with each other and with nature, and that we are all connected. What we do to others we do to ourselves. We really are all in this together.
So when everything is convoluted and messy, when there’s conflict and strife all around, when the information is confusing and overwhelming, I like to check in with myself and ask myself these questions:
What would Love do? Is this coming from love?
Is this creating where connection and unity? Or is this fostering more isolation and separation?
Does this put me in a position of dominating someone or something? Other people? Nature? Or does this put me in synchronistic harmony with those things?
Are the words coming out of my mouth, the thoughts I’m thinking, and the feeling in my body in alignment with love, connection, empathy, and the understanding that we are all in this together. That we are, actually, one?
As with anything else in life, it’s a choice.
I don’t know about you, but I am choosing unity over division, love over hate, synchronicity with the environment rather than dominance over it, and faith in my fellow humans.