European and American education have changed over time, spanning from a general classical education to a greater emphasis on marketable skills and career specialization. These changes have resulted in greater wealth, and better opportunities for employment. Nevertheless, the benefits and well-rounded general knowledge of a classical education inspired earlier generations towards excellence and desires to follow in the footsteps of a pantheon of idols that sought incredible achievements for the betterment of humanity while emulating values of an ethical, scientific, and creative nature. I’m referring to Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, and humanitarians like Albert Schweitzer and Thomas Edison, among many others.
Nowadays, we live in a frenzy where we are holding several jobs with little time for family, and we are bombarded by tons of information through internet media.
Our idols have been replaced by comedians, television personalities, Hollywood actors, musicians, reality show personalities, and most of all the top rich. We subconsciously aim to become like them and ignore what they had to do to get where they are now. For many people in the public eye, morals and ethics are relics of the past. Hence, when we talk of success and achieving our potential there is a decisive market orientation to it, while in the past it was related to values such as honor, love, fidelity, sacrifice, courage, and honesty. Nevertheless, these positive values in a paradoxical manner often result in abundance, happiness, and unbelievable achievement for those who practice it, even nowadays.
All of us have talents, abilities, and an unused amount of potential that is just sitting there waiting to be released. The igniting of this potential has been the subject of interest of ancient philosophers and mystics since time immemorial. In modern times, cognitive psychologists and neuro-psychiatrists have mapped the brain and redefined this potential in technical terms. Many scientists are coming to the conclusion that the human brain can also function as a computer.
These technical studies have almost blurred the lines between the metaphysical and science by recent discoveries on the nature of consciousness. I believe that our understanding of the origins of consciousness and its functions and nature are just barely beginning to take shape. I also believe that humanity – if we do not completely destroy ourselves – will come to understand the source of all that exists; thus moving us further up the evolutionary ladder.
What we know is that our thoughts and beliefs work as the software that gets us to function daily. We become programed by imitating those around us before the age of seven years old. All this programming is stored in our subconscious and create our habits. In turn, our habits determine our character, inclinations, and proclivities. As adults, we learn through our conscious mind and we may go through extensive training to retain in our memory newfound abilities. Yet, if our aim is to change for the better, we often find that regardless of knowing better we still fall back on bad habits that stop us from growing. This happens because our subconscious mind rebels against our goals, dreams, and projects. We are not aware of this so we ascribe the results to chance, luck, or destiny.
The mind-body connection is also worth exploring, because our programming during childhood may be based on negative emotions such as hostility, weekly drama, and lack. Hence, we are hardwired for certain familiar emotions that can affect our body through the processing of stress-charged chemicals that may increase inflammation and disease. These negative emotions form thoughts and beliefs that may be unhealthy and dysfunctional to our current situation. When we attempt to change this programming we become uncomfortable because we are not familiar with these new positive emotions.
A well structured Meditation practice can introduce us safely into a higher plane of emotions, igniting dormant potential that can dramatically burn the old programming and elevate us to achieving freedom, fulness, peace, love for ourselves and others, and abundance. Awareness can also be achieved then. This awareness cannot be described adequately, but it can be experienced through avid practice.
Living on a higher plane can be achieved through the practice of gratefulness before going to bed at night. At this time, the mind is moldable and ready to receive new programming. You can also create and repeat mantras based on peace, gratefulness, and the like depending on the negative behaviors that you are trying to target to change in yourself. Our health can become better when the negative chemicals that we are accustomed to creating is replaced with higher frequency, positive chemicals.
Becoming the master of your emotions can create new possibilities, new moods, and your body will be ignited to release more powerful energies. The social arena can also be an area of expansion and support; sharing our lives with others and finding the support networks necessary to sustain these new changes in our lives are of the utmost importance.
Thich Nhat Hanh said:
“This is a very important practice. Live your daily life in a way that you never lose yourself. When you are carried away with your worries, fears, cravings, anger and desire, you run away from yourself and you lose yourself. The practice is always to go back to oneself”
Knowing what you want and finding your why is critical to achieving lasting changes. Doing that confronts the patterns, behaviors, and environments that bother you. It helps you decide who you want to be. You can then set the target and let go. Get rid of the blocks once you determine what they are. They are usually related to faulty beliefs such as not believing you can learn a skill because a family member told you that you can’t. Challenge that belief and apply yourself to learn the skill. Seek personal balance, peace, achievement, and accountability. These values will earn your self-respect and will increase your sense of confidence and self-esteem. Don’t forget that for every action there is a consequence, it is the law of the universe.
Above all, use repetition to reprogram yourself and ignite your mind. It is my conviction that there is a sun burning inside of each of us, once we become aware of the deficiencies in our programming and design, we can achieve our full potential to make ourselves and the world better.