Do You Have Conditioned Responses?


We know that the experiences of our life are what makes up our tale. These experiences are the meat to the bones of our story. What we know, as Shaman, is that the perspective of our story is fueled by our reaction to the experiences of our life and the value and impact we allow them to have in our story. These experiences can also have a profound impact on our emotional reaction as well. We learn throughout our life, from childhood on, that a stimulus can trigger how we will react. There is no judgment here, no right or wrong. These reactions have been either modeled to us or we have embraced them often because they have worked for us. Sometimes, when the strong feeling of the experience passes, we may express surprise in the way we reacted. But, if that situation were to repeat itself, there is a very good chance our reaction would be the same. Taking the time to look more closely at the experiences that make up the fabric of our life’s story allows us to also look at our reaction, our response. And if we wish to, we can then begin to work on how we choose to respond in the future.

What many of us fail to understand about how we process life events is that there is a conscious thought that occurs between the stimulus of the experience and our response. It may be quite fleeting, yet it is there. So here is what that thought is often made of. It is made of an experience you have had in the past. It is part of human nature to find patterns and similarities in our life experience. So, when something happens to you, there is this quick thought of “when has this happened before?”, or “what does this look like?” If you once were bit by a dog, for example, a dog barking at you could trigger complete panic as your thoughts go to that situation. If you suffered a terrible illness that put you in the hospital, you may become highly anxious whenever you or someone you love is struggling to get well. It makes sense, doesn’t it? But here is the thing. You are in control. You can control the intensity of your reaction. You can control the conditioning of your response. You need to learn to identify the fleeting thought that triggers your reaction. Once you have done so, you can then monitor your thoughts and learn to replace it with a more positive and less negatively energetic one.

This can be challenging work to do. It is about perspective. It is about taking a moment and understanding yourself and why you react the way you do. It is about reframing a situation that is similar, but not exactly like what you may have experienced in the past and looking at it through a lens of NOW not then. When you can do this you will find that you no longer react unconsciously to situations. This awareness is a process. But when you take the time to work it, it no longer works you. You are able to confront unpleasant and triggering situations by staying in the present. When you do this, it affords you the opportunity to step into your power, to not let all the past events of your life dictate how you act and respond today. And, as a bonus, the more you practice this, the stronger you get in your skills of shifting perspective and seeing things as they are not how they were. This then can change reactions that may not be healthy or in your best interest to healthy ones and reactions that serve your highest good.