A conditioned mind is an unaware state of being that is the result of a very powerful external influence. Basically, being conditioned is being unaware of yourself, of the reasons for your mental images, feelings, thoughts, body sensations, choices and actions. Our perception of reality is the result of our beliefs, interpretations and experiences. The goal, therefore, is to achieve an unconditioned mind. The majority of the time we react automatically instead of responding consciously. Our conditioning actually determines our immediate reactions and overreactions to events, situations, conversations, sensations, and circumstances. We don’t realize we are reacting because everything has become normal and familiar. It has shaped us and our attitudes in various ways including attitudes about sex, body shame, and specific feelings about who we are and what our value is. Every culture and society has a programmed identity, fixed patterns and ideas about the meaning of the world. Every member of society is participating—aware or not—in this cultural and social conditioning that is set and reinforced by our parents, teachers, priests, and scientists. We sustain the process, and although our thoughts, feelings and patterns are individual, they reflect the expectations of our environment. It costs us in our ability to connect personally and sexually, often limiting our capacity for lasting and loving relationships, ultimately. Mental patterns, resulting from this conditioning, are powerfully influential. We believe they are the only truth, and we refuse to consider other possibilities. We often refuse to recognize that we are conditioned and that we have mental patterns, giving this programmed identity the power to continue unconsciously running our reality.

Related: De-Condition your brain in 8 weeks of Mindfulness practice

Once we recognize that we are in a conditioned state of being, we can consciously choose to take back our power. When the chaos appears, we can learn to recognize it, to observe it. We can see how this image or thought has been formed, and how it evolves and links with other new thoughts and images in an automatic chain. Mindfulness allows us to observe without judging, and then let go. By doing this, we invoke choice, we mindfully give our amygdala permission to cool down, calm and restore, which ultimately leads to the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, a state of health, higher awareness, expanded consciousness and relaxation. Your conditioned self-sabotage needs to be named and recognized to begin the simple process of living fully and mindfully. The fix is easy, although it requires effort and awareness, and an unconditioned mind leads to happiness—a parasympathetic state of being.  We can learn to mindfully exercise, practicing the choice, freeing ourselves from a conditioned mind – achieving an unconditioned state of being.