Viewing View

“How you look at it is pretty much the way you’ll see it.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru

It’s part of conditioning. We learn to see things in a very specific way. And when we haven’t actually explored our own conditioning, it’s more challenging to move in a conscious chosen direction. Below are a few ways in which I was conditioned, and the enormous difficulty in seeing how my conditioned perspectives are harmful as I become increasingly age experienced.

I came from a generation that had separate “boys and girls” toys. Young females were steered towards being a domestic servant. Some people take offense at that statement, but they seem to be all males. At the same time I was also conditioned to believe as a child that females enjoyed the role of domestic servant. A 24/7 full time job.

I was one of those white suburban kids who grew up in Royal Oak, Michigan, a city that liked to boast about having a single Afro-American family, as though that meant it was progressive. Somehow it was a wonderful thing that a entirely white population had managed to attract a single family from another race. Of course I was conditioned to accept this as normal, and in some way very positive. Yikes.

I learned about the value of hugging and touching as I studied to be a counselor, and am now accepting that just touching another person is a reason for grave offense, and possible legal problems. (I agree with the new principles about touching, my point is I’m conditioned!)

How I view. The Eightfold Path starts with view. But my view isn’t entirely mine, is it?

One way to examine a view, to see if it’s yours or someone’s introjected conditioning, is asking if it causes suffering. And I don’t mean my suffering, I mean does my view enabling your suffering? (How many of us ever ask ourselves that question? Am I enabling suffering?) How interesting! How am I viewing? If I’m conditioned the “view” will seem to be mine. As though I came to understand something by myself. But, when I see my view is causing you suffering, I need to stop and listen to my view, examine it, contemplate it, research it, sit with it, and experience if it’s enabling others suffering.

It’s difficult to see through my conditioned states until they impact another negatively. But, if I’m open and paying attention, the light goes on, and I have an opportunity to evolve.

Today, see one thing in the reflections of your world, one new piece of conditioning. I use the reflective question, “How may I be supporting your suffering with this view?”

Another day of opportunity, and possibility!

Bryan Wagner

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