The human mind has delivered great blessings – that same mind, in a different state, turns those blessings into a curse.
The influence of our education, upbringing and temperament – and many other influences of all sorts – condition our minds as to what we think is important and or necessary in our life. Our conditioned thinking is a trap that leads to impossibility thinking.
JACK AND FRAN – A STORY OF A YOUNG COUPLE LED BY THEIR CONDITIONED DESIRES
Jack was a 38-year-old on a stellar career path. Fran; his 34-year-old wife, had a high paying job, with an equally great future.
Together they dreamed of owning a beautiful home, one that would say out loud to the world: “we are successful.”
Jack and Fran had been conditioned to believe appearances do matter.
Their idea of a house included four bedrooms, two bathrooms, home theatre, entertainment areas, undercover pool, etc. – located in one of Perth’s attractive and expensive beachside suburbs.
When choosing a school for their five-year-old son, the same conditioning dictated that he must attend an expensive private school.
Could the family have managed in a smaller house in a less salubrious suburb? Sure, they could have, but their conditioning about the importance of appearances had them by the throat.
Anything less than the upmarket home they desired, would have had them feeling failures, even humiliated.
Jack and Fran set about finding their dream home. They were a little surprised at the price of their dream home when they found it. However, their conditioning regarding how they would look and their sense of entitlement governed their life and ruled their decisions.
Designer clothes, high-end cars, fine-dining and luxury holidays etc had claimed the bulk of their big salaries. Between them, they had only a small amount of savings for a deposit, a meagre three per cent of the required amount.
Their beliefs about the necessity of owning this beautiful home drove them to take foolish measures to obtain it, including using several personal loans and multiple credit cards
Wow! What a recipe for financial disaster.
To compound the financial danger, their mortgage broker, keen to help Jack and Fran buy their home (and earn a fat fee), fudged their mortgage application; understating the couple’s total liabilities and their weekly cost of living expenses and overstating their income and assets.
Wow – again!
THEY COULDN’T SEE THEIR CONDITIONED THINKING FOR THE ‘FOOLS PARADISE’ IT WAS
“There are none so blind as those that will not see.” John Heywood
Jack and Fran were pursuing their dreams and the life they were conditioned to believe that they were entitled.
When, inevitably, they started to struggle to make payments against the mountainous debt they had created, Jack and Fran blamed external factors. Factors such as the cost of housing, interest rates etc. were blamed for the stress they were experiencing.
Neither saw that their conditioned beliefs, about the ‘necessity’ of the lifestyle they had created, were at cause in their problems.
Hampered by a belief that an answer was just around the corner, they delayed taking steps to re-think their lavish lifestyle.
The global financial crisis occurred, and they had another unplanned child. As they had cancelled their hospital benefits scheme membership earlier and with health complications for the baby and mother, their financial situation went from acute to critical.
The day of reckoning came. Debts sunk their fantasy.
They lost their beautiful home, had to move in with Fran’s parents and their son transferred to a Government school.
This was not the end of their story.
Following the loss of their home, her second child’s sickness, Fran became depressed and sought help from a counsellor. The counsellor taught Fran about Possibility and seeing life through fresh eyes.
Soon Fran realised how she and Jack were driven by their conditioning. Fran also began to see how they could create a new life, one based on wisdom and common sense rather than being dictated by that conditioning. Conditioning which included a belief that appearances must dictate choices.
WHAT WE FAIL TO SEE LEADS TO THE PRICE WE PAY
Seeing Possibility enables us to see the upside and the downside of life with equal clarity
Both Jack and Fran had been raised, educated and conditioned in affluent times; the prevailing culture of plenty and easy credit had fostered a sense of entitlement in the innocent and unwary.
Jack and Fran’s various lenders may have also believed that the financial nirvana they too had grown up in; worked and lived in for two decades, would go on forever. Their conditioning too (beliefs, opinions, judgements and knowledge – their worldview) was such that they were living in personal realities, divorced from ‘seeing what is’.
Jack and Fran saw a world of materialistic plenty, and they wanted and demanded that they have ‘desirable things’ now – without saving and waiting till they could afford them.
They could only see the good times rolling on and their conditioned-need-for-immediate-self-gratification, satisfied.
They lacked the perspective from seeing Possibility and the understanding, wisdom and common sense gained from that realm of our mind.
Lost in the conditioned world of materialistic make-believe, Jack and Fran didn’t transcend that imaginary, mass-media-advertising-fuelled-society and see it for what it is – both a blessing for the wise and a curse for the unwary.
If either partner had been able to see from their clarity of mind (Possibility) rather than from their conditioned mind (impossibility), they would have seen that their desire for this particular ‘beautiful home’ and their need for their ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ lifestyle was blocking their wisdom and common sense.
They would have recognised how their conditioning; their respective realms of impossibility thinking, were leading them into a hell of endless struggle to meet their financial obligations.
Jack and Fran’s failure to see themselves and their life from a higher vantage point – from the level of Possibility and the wisdom and common sense we experience there, cost them dearly.
They both paid the price of their unconsciousness — a hefty price.
GETTING A FRESH START
To see our conditioning for the illusion it is – is to get a fresh start
On Fran’s suggestion, Jack started to speak with her counsellor. He too woke up to a new reality – one tempered by a deeper understanding of himself and life in general. He grew in wisdom and started to see both the ‘what if’ and ‘what is’ of life.
He experienced a belated but accelerated maturing in his common sense around what is truly important in our lives and relationships. He gained a fresh perspective on the value of having ‘nice things’ and the cost of presenting a false image to the world.
Jack saw what he and Fran had created, accepted 100-per cent responsibility for his actions, and committed with Fran to repaying what they owed to their creditors.
THIS ARTICLE ISN’T INTENDED TO BE A WHITEWASH OF JACK AND FRAN
A whitewash is our failure to ‘see what is’.
The point here is to explain why we do what we do – for or against our best interests – and the common good.
Until we come to understand where our materialistic thinking emanates from, we can’t address the source of the problem.
Material (‘nice things’) are not the problem – in the main, they’re a blessing.
An insatiable appetite for and misuse by us – you and me – of them is a symptom of our unconsciousness – as it was for Jack and Fran.
Until the moment we come to see that, and as a result of our conditioning, we are influenced by our state of impossibility – (our unrecognised conditioning).
We will stay stuck till then in that reality – for many, a world of unfettered materialism and high levels of debt.
OUR GROUNDHOG DAY EXPERIENCE OF LIFE
History does not repeat itself; it is we who relive history
Those of us who fail to see beyond the illusion in which we live, face a future that will, with minor changes, mirror our past – our groundhog day.
When lost in our conditioning, our past will keep repeating itself, modifying little as we age.
We remain closed to life, accepting the material illusion we’ve constructed, believing it to be the genuine article.
As Richard Lovelace writes in: To Althea, from Prison, “Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage”.
Your prison – my prison – everyone’s prison, is our beliefs, opinions, judgements and knowledge – our conditioned reality.
Warmly … John
P.S. If you think this might be of value to others please forward it on.
P.P.S. If you feel inclined to see beyond the conditioned mind, you might be interested in our upcoming three-day retreat – Seeing beyond the conditioned mind. Click here for more information.