"The first test of whether you've been brainwashed and have introjected convictions and beliefs occurs the moment they’re attacked. You feel stunned, you react emotionally. That’s a pretty good sign—not infallible, but a pretty good sign—that we’re dealing with brainwashing." ~ Anthony De Mello
OK. This post falls under the Because Sometimes You Need to Be Slapped in the Face to Wake Up! category. I've also recently finished reading an incredible book, Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality, by Anthony De Mello, and wanted to share some of its lessons with you.
When you observe in yourself that almost everything you think, say, and do comes from some kind of outside programming and conditioning, the illusion of not you begins to dissolve. However, most people are not aware and are thus enslaved to outside influences. They are even willing to defend words, ideas and concepts that are not theirs.
A good way to step outside of your programming for a moment--to see the construction of social conventions that represents your identity now--is to answer a few introspective questions:
When you get the urge to argue with people on social media sites, where does this urge come from? If you were born to a family with different religious and political views and raised in a country on the opposite side of the planet, would you hold the same beliefs, convictions and values as you do now?
If one of the terrorists who flew into the twin towers on 9/11 was adopted as a child and raised as a Christian in a small rural town in America, would he have carried out the same heinous act? What emotions or thoughts are provoked when you read words, such as Rich, Poor, Liberal, Conservative, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Asian, African, Indian, Mexican, Canadian, and so on? Where do the thoughts and emotions come from? Why?
...you’re always listening from your programming, from your conditioning, from your hypnotic state... You are always a slave to what you are not aware of. When you’re aware of it, you’re free from it. It’s there, but you’re not affected by it. You’re not controlled by it; you’re not enslaved by it. ~ Anthony De Mello
The greatest challenge we face in the world today is not political bickering, economic recession or war. These are only symptoms of a greater disease called unconsciousness, which breeds other potentially disastrous conditions, such as complacency, divisiveness, fear, greed, bigotry, racism, and on and on and on and on...
If you value freedom, wake up! And help your friends and family to wake up while you're at it! Words, ideas, and concepts are not reality; they are only pointers, labels, and representations. A Chinese Proverb says, "When a finger points to the moon, the imbecile looks at the finger." You can begin to wake up if you admit that you are (or have been) an imbecile.
Related: The Crisis in Consciousness