Please know that none of us go through life without mind patterns. Their job is to create for us our winning formula; it is the substance of the ego and we all have an ego identity, and a healthy ego will help you navigate this world. It is the distorted, outward referred, ego that creates, what one twenty-year-old woman refers to as, our synthetic reality.
We are nothing without our image, the fabrics of ourselves we choose to weave in and dispose of with one swift sweep of our hands. We paint, tuck, mold, cry, and kill until we become the effigy of a persona we wish for others to see. There is a sculpting that occurs in the rendering of this representation of ourselves, the person we are, or should I say, the person we wish to become. The hologram of our souls has been intricately lit to trick the eyes of others peering in but the trick is sometimes on us. Our perception of ourselves can oftentimes begin to hide the very nature of our being. We burry deep our sickness, the darkened part of our souls, and bring forth the qualities we know others will accept, or at least we try. Yet others project the sickest parts of themselves, hoping that they can find others to relate to. Thus our original perception begins create a doppelganger of our initial self, a projection of the person we wish for people to perceive. With changes to our hair, face, and body we can inhabit a sort of synthetic reality. A reality that we feel safe within, a reality that we believe no one can infiltrate. Our fortitude becomes our haven, as we dwell in a space within our own solitude, a space that no one has occupied before or after us. But what if this could change? What if the “other” was able to force their way into our synthetic reality? Would the world perceive them as the person we used to be? Would they accept them as the person who originally conceptualized this image? Could they get away with it? Would we let them?
—Khalehla Calderone Rixon, Writer, Producer, West Hollywood, Ca.
Outward referred is the state we are in when we look at others for approval or affirmation of who we are. It’s like a child saying am I doing this right? Then if we get that approval from our partner, our boss, a friend or significant other we continue that as a way of ‘being’. However, if that way of being is inauthentic for us, as it often times is, it leaves us feeling a lack of ease, a discomfort that we must suppress in order to be accepted by those we feel we need.
Here are three important questions to ask when you feel discomfort rising from within:
1. Who am I being right now?
2. Where in my body is my discomfort?
3. Am I running a mind pattern?
4. Does this mind pattern serve me?
To be clear there may be times that you put on a game face to complete an obligation. Perhaps the company Christmas party, you don’t feel great, but you can smile and be friendly for an hour or two. A family reunion, you still don’t like aunt Sally, but you can say hello and move on. In these cases it’s easier to smile and get along. However, that same mind pattern in a different situation can get you in trouble.
Which brings us to our above question #2. Your body will tell you when you should make a different decision than” just, be this way to get along.” anytime you feel a strong emotion find it in your body and listen to what it is saying, do not…I repeat do not ever talk over your body’s messages. More on that later.
Let’s explore how these mind patterns might be created and why they seem to serve our needs through the following examples.
The Need To Perform
Bobby came from parents who either used him for their entertainment (“Look what Bobby can do!”) or ignored him completely. Unless he was doing something that pleased or impressed his parents, Bobby felt alone and disconnected. He bought into, “They like or approve of me when I [fill in the blank] . . . play baseball, tell jokes, get straight A’s, sing and dance.” Bobby buys into this way of being as “who he is.” He sells himself out of all of his other attributes as a young man and lives his life from the space of believing that in order to survive and look good, he needs to be athletic, get straight A’s, tell jokes, or please others. He is living his life from the image that he believes others have of him and, as a result, experiences great anxiety about being found out to be a fraud. “What if others see that I’m not funny or can’t get good grades?” he stresses. “What if I’m unable to get into college on a baseball scholarship?” Bobby is living an outwardly referred life. He seeks and needs others’ approval and attention to feel validated. Bobby bought into, “I’m only visible (and I only exist) when they approve of what I am doing.” He sold out his unique ability to determine and express his personal passion in the world. Said another way, he exchanged self-love and authentic expression for others’ validation, losing his internal connection to his authentic self.
Mary was a tomboy and always wanted to be close to her dad. Her mom spent most of her time in the house, depressed and seemingly powerless, but her dad and brothers were full of life. Mary would work in the yard with her dad, play ball with her brothers, and work hard at school because “Dad liked a hard worker.” Mary quickly learned that hard work and keeping up with the boys is important to feel alive and be accepted. Dad also had all of the power in the household. He made the money and provided for everyone, so Mary bought into “Making money, like Dad, gives you power and control”. Now, as an adult, Mary kicks butt in the corporate world every day, working as hard as any man. She can buy the best clothes, the fastest sports car and is a stunningly beautiful woman, yet there is a palpable disconnect for Mary. She feels empty and sad when she is alone. Unfortunately, her need to compete and win makes it difficult for her to maintain a loving relationships. She feels lost without her material and emotional power-suit so she never lets down her guard or softens to those around her. Mary bought into “I must work hard to be powerful and feel alive.” Mary sold out her feminine qualities of softness, tenderness, and authentic connection. She made business and success her God and authority.
The Control Freak
John’s dad was just mean. Nothing was ever good enough for him, and he’d often return home at night in a drunken rage. No one was safe. At times, John’s father would beat his mother or his siblings. Most times, he’d beat John or simply lock him in the dark basement. Throughout his young life, John lived in fear. Then one day when he was fifteen, he stood up to his drunken father and won. He learned very young that love is not safe and that only power over others keeps you safe. John grew up to be a therapist but could never have a successful relationship. He’d have to have the power position in any relationship and sooner or later his partner would collapse in depression or walk away in despair. John bought into “I am only safe when I’m in control of my environment.” He sold out his ability to trust in love and the goodness of life. John made his need to control and have power over others his God.
The Drama Queen
Ella’s parents were very protective and chronically over reactive. Every time Ella fell down, they would jump to their feet shouting, “Are you all right?” They’d pick her up, hold her, and make a big fuss. Ella learned very quickly that creating drama brings attention. She’s lived her entire life blowing things out of proportion and creating minor injuries in order to get attention from others. Ella bought into “I’m only seen when I fuss or am hurt.” She sold out her ability to manage her own internal world maturely. Ella exchanged her creation of drama for her connection to God.
Karen’s father abandoned her at birth. She loved being raised by her mother until her mother met Jim. Jim loved Playboy magazine and openly went to strip clubs. He would leave his Playboy magazines lying around the house and at a very early age, Karen learned the poses that Jim liked to look at on those pages of Playboy. She would practice them when no one was around and mold her personality to suit the pictures. By the age of twelve, Karen found that Jim was more interested in her than her mother. Karen’s body had changed and thanks to Jim she knew she could get any man’s attention with a pose, a glance, or a sexy outfit. Karen learned that sex is power and can be used to control men. Karen bought into “I’m only seen and in control when I’m sexy.” She sold out her authentic feminine sexuality to control others and lives in daily fear of her beauty fading. Karen has had breast implants and facial reconstruction to abate her fears. She made the aesthetics of her body and her desire for male conquest her God.
Kelly’s mother was absolutely beautiful. Her clothes, hair, and the way she kept the house were all stunning and perfect. “Everything has a place and everything in its place,” is what her mother always said. No matter how hard Kelly tried, she never did things quite to her mother’s standard. She’d help clean after supper but did not fill the dishwasher correctly. She’d do her best to put together outfits, but her mother would always make her change. Her grammar was never correct. She wore too much or too little makeup. Her grades were only worth noticing when they were 100 percent. Kelly bought into “I’m not good enough.”
She sold herself out of her true inner gifts, as her own talents were not good enough for mother and ultimately not even for Kelly. Kelly exchanged God’s unconditional acceptance for her mother’s conditional voice in her head.
Kelly had a brother, Robert, who experienced the same lack of loving support. Robert bought into, “Women are critical and impossible to please.” Robert gave up on the possibility that a woman could be different from his mother, and made his need to defend and distance himself from women his God.
Kelly and Robert had a sister Mona. Mona became hard and bought into, “I’ll never be like Mother.” She sold out of the good qualities of tidiness, fashion, and homemaking. Mona made her need for complete opposition to everything Mother her God.
Interesting, Mona, Kelly, and Bob were all raised in the same environment but with different perceptions and compensations on how to “survive.” Their experience was very real for them, but they each walked away with differing perceptions of reality. They are now adults living compensated patterns of behavior that affect every area of their adult relationships, in order to feel safe in their world and survive their unique experience of mother.
The people that I’ve just described are all high-functioning professionals with an average income of six figures. Each of their families looked (from the outside) like the perfect middle-class family, but still they each retain these old patterns learned in childhood. As painful and scarring as these upbringings were, they did not involve starvation, gang wars, excessive drug use, or sexually abusive parents, as is quite common in many households, communities, and countries worldwide. These individuals are not diagnostically pathological in any way. They are, to the world outside, quite normal highly functioning adults.
For full disclosure, I’d like to share how I came to be on this journey. I have placed my story in the appendix so that it does not interfere with the flow of information. You may want to look at it as a model for yourself to acknowledge your own mind patterns, write them down and bring light to them. If you do this, please do it in a space of compassion and empathy for those parts of you who have worked so hard to create and experience your life.
Each time when we engage our buy-in, personality and adapt our behavior, ideas, or desires to compensate for another’s needs, to please another, or to survive being in their presence, we sell-out a little piece of our truest self. As we do this again and again over time that truest self becomes lost to our awareness but cries internally to be seen.
Our light becomes dimmed as we block the resonance of our unique perfect expression and vibration. Much like a rheostat on a light switch, we dim the universal energy, the Word, that made us. We reduce our capacity to be conscious and connected to each other and to the source of all that is. It affects our lives on all levels: physically, dis-ease begins, mentally, we become fearful, angry, or depressed; and emotionally, we disconnect from reality and withdraw to live into our story.
My compensated self in order to survive the shock of Gordon’s injury and the devastation to our lives immediately brought forward the tough girl who met the defensive doctor, suffering through a divorce. Together we created unnecessary drama and the truth of the matter is that the one at risk was really Gordon. For me the basis of this risky behavior was a need to be right and a need to control what was happening in a space where I had no control. We allow our mind patterns to rule the day in our hearts and minds. I did not wake up in the morning and say gee I’d like to argue with Gordon’s neurosurgeon today, and I doubt that Gordon’s neurosurgeon woke up stating; “Can’t wait to take on that lady chiropractor”. But as soon as we experience an event that acts as a trigger for our survival patterns all logic is out the window and we become deeply committed to the pattern at hand. Even though they are not congruent with who we are and what we want to be, we again and again unconsciously give them power to rule the moment.
It is what sends the Performance Mind Pattern into their performance mode, the Daddy’s Girl into hard work, the Control freak into shutting down his partners joy. The Drama Queen into a crisis. The Prostitute home with any man who pays attention, the Perfectionist striving for perfection in a world where there is none to be found.
These compensated personalities come out of a fight or flight response from our sympathetic nervous system. As they initiate our survival patterns, they lower our resonance even further from the perfect resonance of the WORD.
Think about that for a minute, what drives your actions? Do you have an awareness of why you do what you do? Do you understand your true motivations for your actions? Have you internally contemplated?
Your arguments with your spouse, friends, or partner
Your choice of spouse, friends, partners, or career
Your relationships with your children
Your political and religious beliefs
Your career paths
Your food choices
Your reactions to life’s events
Do you know what triggers you or are many of your actions and reactions unconsciously driven by conditioning from when you were young?
These are personal and interesting wonderings for us, as we ponder our behaviors, actions and reactions we become aware of our awareness, sort of like that song “I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in”, we then begin to see that it is possible to become the observer or ourselves. As we do, the observer can literally watch us like we are an actor in a movie. We can watch our identity play out separately from our awareness which will provide a whole host of possible actions and reactions separate from our childhood and societal programming. To watch yourself and ask the question is that really who you want to be, is this really what you want to do, or say right now prior to your response is very powerful. To witness your, ‘in the moment’ options is perhaps the first step to your evolved freedom of choice.
Rumi, one of the most influential poets of the 13th century, explores this illusion by posing the question:
“If this me is not I, then
Who am I?
If I am not the one who speaks, then
If this me is only a robe then
The one I am covering?”
Call it whatever it is you relate to, pray to, believe in, or don’t believe in. It has been called the Word, the Shabd, the Logos, the Holy Spirit, this is who you are covering. It is the voice of God that says, Live! When it is withdrawn completely, all life stops. When it is suppressed through lower-level consciousness and loss of self, it creates suffering, pain, and dis-ease. A drop of rain believes, perhaps, that it is a drop, yet one day it will return to the ocean. So, our collective insanity begins when we start to think ‘we’ are real. But what if:
Beyond this world and life we know
There is Someone watching over us.
To know Him is not in our power.
But once in a glimpse I saw
That we are His shadow
And our shadow is the world.