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Why your prejudices, biases and anything that you hate is going to help you expand your mind, or, how your worst enemy is your greatest friend in disguise!

...An Exercise In
Self-Awareness

"You can expand your mind by becoming aware of the things that you resist. You do not need to change anything. Self-awareness is a catalyst for true change. In the light of Awareness, ignorance cannot persist."

You were born a genius. A child of the Universe. And your universal mind was open to everything you experienced.

Over time, however, you had experiences of things that tasted yucky, loud noises, scary looking people, unpleasant things that, in the moment, felt bad. You learned to anticipate the things you liked, and anticipate and resist the things you didn't like. You learned to put filters on your mind and you tried to protect yourself from bad things. Basically you learned to identify good and bad.

Coupled with this you soaked up the environment in which you were born and raised. Whatever dominant beliefs were in your family became part of you and helped form your identity. The historic national beliefs and standards of the country you lived in also became part of your identity. As did the religious beliefs that your family practiced in.

Part of the survival imperative of a child is to be loved, accepted and cared for (so that it can survive to adulthood). Biologically we are all programmed to copy those around us from birth. We copy their facial expressions, mannerisms, language, beliefs, practices, everything -- all so that we can be just like them. Like attracts like. People like people who are just like themselves. So as babies we absorb information and become just like our parents, families and the extended group in which we are raised - in this way we are accepted and "safe".

As your identity built up, it gave you an outline. It carved you from the universal into an individual. From complete oneness, you learned us and them. "Them" being everything and everyone that is different from you. Within your own family group, you further learned me and them! You learned bias towards those who were like you and feared those who were different from you.

A bias is something that you favor over something-else. You resist the thing that you don't like. You resist the thing that you aren't like.

Prejudice is a "pre-judgement", a snap decision about something before you know the facts about it. Growing up you accepted the beliefs of your groups, and you took on board their prejudices. Some of these prejudices are hundreds of years old and from times of great ignorance about the world. And yet the meme of these prejudices survives unchanged although the world has greatly changed.

Because you absorbed these limiting beliefs, biases and prejudices without any resistance, they are part of your unconcsious mind -- and you are probably unaware of them. Ignorant of them!

Whenever we see prejudice in the world, we describe the people who hold such prejudice as ignorant. Ignorance is equivalent to being unaware.

Those who are free of that particular prejudice may be said to have an enlightened view of the situation. Enlightenment is equivalent to being fully aware.

You can expand your mind by becoming aware of the things that you resist. You do not need to change anything. Awareness is a catalyst for true change. In its light, ignorance cannot persist.

There are many levels of prejudice in the world. Racial prejudice is an obvious prejudice and cause of much grief in the world. You may think you are free of racial prejudice simply because you do not use derogatory names for other races, and because you espouce the belief that we all have equal rights. However, as prejudice is unconscious by nature, you might still be entertaining certain attitudes towards various races. You might feel fear around a certain race because you hold the belief that they are violent. You might believe that one race is more intelligent than another. You might associate a person of a certain race with various stereotypes that you have in your mind.

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Simply watch your mind, your thoughts, your emotional responses. Make it an exercise to watch your mind. You will find that the big prejudices are just the ultimate extrapolation of prejudices that you have towards immediate family members and even towards yourself!

What do you hate?

Do you hate drivers that cut you off? Do you hate people with droning voices? Do you hate sharp-faced women that bitch and whine? Do you hate being around drunk men? Do you hate standing in line? Do you hate being late for an appointment? Do you hate mustard in your custard?!

Hate is such a strong word. It can be a ding-dong signal to you now identifying something that you are mentally resisting.

We are looking to return you to a state of the genius mind: the universal mind that you had at birth. But this time it's going to be an empowered mind. Do you remember the 1986 movie,  "Peggy Sue Got Married"? Peggy Sue, played by Kathleen Turner, gets to travel back in time, and be a teenager again, with all the knowledge and confidence that she has accumulated as a woman. Wouldn't that be great, to be a kid again, but with all that you know now!?

The universal mind, the enlightened mind, is fluid. It resists nothing. It is a mind of unconditional Love: it accepts everything and allows everything to be, to occupy the space that it does without judgement.

There is such a vast magnitude in this universal mind. It is so splendid and wonderful to be in that state of expanded awareness.

Self-Awareness Exercises to Expand Your Mind...

1. Watching The Mind, Warts and All 

Imagine lying on your back on a beautiful day watching as little puffy clouds float gently across the blue sky. You are so relaxed and at ease, you just calmly watch them pass by. Watching your mind is a similar exercise in detached observation. The rule is no judgement, just space. You just allow the thoughts that move through your head to exist in the space of your awareness. If you find that you've become involved in the train of thought, just notice that and let it go and become aware again of the movement of thoughts. You will soon notice that thought seems to flow without any volition on your part. In watching, you will see that thought is a stream and its not you. Sometimes streams are sparkling and sometimes they are muddy and full of debris, but it's just a stream. Let it flow on, and just see it as it is...

2. Catch your prejudice by its toe...

Observing your mind may start in meditation, but your life is really your meditation. Continue to observe yourself around other people. Notice how you react, how you respond, what thoughts you have in relation to people. Honestly see your own selfish thoughts, angry thoughts, the violent and hateful thoughts. They are all in there, maybe squashed right down, and muted under your "cover-up" conscious thoughts. It's okay, don't be afraid of them. Just observe them. See if you can catch a particular prejudice. Bring it up before the light of your consciousness. Challenge its existence. Ask yourself why you believe this. Let's say that you are a man and you catch yourself remarking to your pals that women are bad drivers. Stop right there! Ask yourself: Why did I say that? Where did I get that belief? Do I have direct experience of women being bad drivers? Do I have more experience of women being bad drivers than men being bad drivers? Really? Are all women bad drivers or is it just that of all the bad drivers, some just happen to be women? Do accident statistics support the belief that women are bad drivers? Is car insurance cheaper for a man or for a woman? Do I wish to keep this belief?

Prejudices are unchallenged opinions accepted as facts. Challenge them and they fall apart.

3. What you hate can enlighten you!

It's true. The people and things that you hate offer you tremendous opportunity to learn about yourself. What is it about that person that sets off all your buttons. Hatred is such a mixed emotion, it contains fear, disgust, sometimes a strange fascination (hate being such a strong word you must be drawn to it in someway). Let's take a fairly loathed individual: Adolf Hitler. This historical figure is held up as a man to be hated. We openly express hatred for all that he stood for and all that was done in his name. We hate him because we fear such awfulness. We are disgusted by the genocide and attrocities carried out under his orders. He is no doubt a fascinating figure, a man of great evil, and as such he is part of our psyche. We hate him because he represents the unsafe in us, the dark side of us, the meanness and bigotry in us. When you probe and explore your reasons for hating something or someone outside yourself, you actually learn all about your own inner life and become more enlightened as a result. It is said that we all contain the potential to be Hitlers and the potential to be Mother Theresas. Given the vast richness of your genius, that is totally true. Becoming aware of your dark side, the "evil" thoughts in you, does not make you a bad person. Awareness lifts you out of the duality of being one thing or the other, good or bad, right or wrong. Through expanded self-awareness, you take on a universal perspective, which sees energy as a wave... with positive and negative aspects to it.



Let it be your practice to catch yourself in the act of prejudice, of bias, of hatred and pettiness. These are wonderful teachers. You do not need to struggle to change them; you do not need to beat yourself up for holding these destructive ignorant thoughts. Let them be, watch them, simply become more aware of them and you will change. As your mind becomes more universal, you cannot hold limiting thoughts about others. The state of enlightenment disperses the shadows of resistance.

You are a genius: a universal being. This world is your mind reflected back at you. Watch it, explore it, learn from it, allow it the space to be, to unfold. In giving freedom to the world, you grant a greater freedom to yourself.

Got Feedback? I'd love to hear from YOU! Email me: wily[at]wilywalnut.com

 

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