Initially, most egocentric, karmically conditioned, self-hating humans experience egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate as “just me.” Those attitudes, beliefs, assumptions, behaviors, and the voices yammering away in my head are “just who I am.” Because we’re heavily conditioned to believe we think for ourselves and make our own decisions, it can take a fair amount of time to realize we’re utterly controlled by an ego survival system we’re programmed to assume is free-thinking, autonomously acting “me.”
Those of us who have, blessedly, made our away to awareness practice have had a chance to step back (disidentify) and recognize the brainwashing program we were trained with through at least one lifetime. With more practice we can recognize what is conditioning from socialization by family, education, and culture, and what is likely a karmic orientation playing itself out as an over-arching process.
Herein lies the danger.
In the first situation (“it’s just who I am”), we give all of our attention to egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate because we don’t know anything else is possible. In the second case (I’ve seen the brainwashing system for what it is), we give all our attention to egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate even though we know something else is possible.
Here’s how we can make a different, conscious, choice should we choose to.
We can basically be in one of two states: identified (with egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate), or disidentified (stepped back from ego-identity into awareness.)
If you are:
~~listening to a conversation in your head
~~trying to figure something out
~~attempting to “see where you are”
~~making others wrong
~~trying to get what you want
~~attempting to conceal something
~~wanting it to be different than it is
you are identified with egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate.
If you are:
~~aware and paying attention,
you are likely not identified with egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate.
If you have been practicing long enough to be aware that the focus of attention has gone to any of the processes in the first list, you are ready to drop that and redirect attention to what you choose as your focus in thisherenow. No hesitating, no noodling, no wondering, no second-guessing, no better ideas—just drop it! There is nothing more for you to learn from karmic conditioning.
It can be very helpful to choose ahead of time what you want to redirect the focus of attention to when you disidentify. In the absence of a focus, habit will sweep us back into having attention on egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate. So here’s a suggestion: Make it something larger than “you.” Let your focus be on something ego-identity will have a hard time hijacking. Unconditional love, peace, compassion, generosity, gratitude—all good choices. And for all the extra time you’ll have when ego-I isn’t dragging you into conversations of self-hating gloom and doom or behaviors of distraction, find something in service to others that lights you up.