On Stands Now
February 2024

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We live in these bodies looking out through our eyes at the world surrounding us. In that seeing, we assess and assign labels that define what we are looking at as “this” or “that.” The same applies to our hearing and our listening. We decide what is worth listening to and what is not. Again, we are assessing and assigning labels and judgments to what is happening in our lives.

We can’t understand why the guy next to us can’t see, hear, or feel what is being experienced in life the same way we do. The who, what, when. where, why and how of our experiences brings us to our current, individual conditioning. Therefore, we are not affected in the exact same way by the very same experiences. Even though there may be similar feelings, there are differences. This conditioning begins from the very first breath we take to the breath of this very moment and to our last.

We can reflect on the myriad of sensory inputs, moment to moment that form our patterns of like or dislike, happy or sad, good or bad, and safe or not safe. I would go so far as to say conversations between people are made up of the exchange of conditioned patterns we believe to be true from our individual conditioning.

Even within these United States, one can travel from one area of the country to another and encounter very different ways that people live, speak, eat, and apply their life expressions. A visit to New Orleans will render different smells, architecture, food, and living patterns, which includes a different way of being in life. From Texas to New York and Maine to California, there is a difference in how we live, what we value, our goals, and our approach to life.
Our conditioning can change as we move through life and encounter new people and cultures, and begin to expand our minds beyond what we were confined to in our early conditioning.

Racism is an example of conditioning. We are not born racist. Other examples are holy wars, wars over religion—trusting that what we were told by those having influence over us, we viewed as the truth. It’s a wonder that marriages make it through the first few years, as a couple comes to grips with the differences of opinions, goals, and ideals enmeshed in their individual conditioning.

I came from the midwest—Missouri to be precise—and was raised in what was considered the correct political leaning. Some of us may remember that in the 1950s, outward appearances were more important than exposing who or what we truly were. Suffice it to say that we were much like the lemmings, a small animal known for being a “blind follower,” one who would go along without asking questions. Conditioning does that, it impedes our ability to think outside the box of how we are conditioned to explore our own voice and ideals.

In this time on planet Earth, we are being challenged in many ways to make decisions about what is right for ourselves. I have found it to be true that we will find more peace and happiness if we are true to who and what we really are, and to take the time to step out of the box of our conditioning, to make our decisions not from past conditioning, but from what is sincerely our true voice.

May your days be filled with blessings and good will. May your voice speak with the freedom of the unconditioned mind.