People who abuse or misuse substances often wonder:
These can be challenging questions for people to answer. The need to know “why” things are as they are seems to be human nature. Asking these questions can allow us to provide context and a better understanding of what is needed to move forward.
While this work is solution focused and aims to support the creation of a better present and future, there is some benefit in understanding the fascinating interplay between:
-our innate ways of being
-learned, conditioned or programmed responses
Self discovery allows us to begin to reconnect with parts of the self that are requesting acknowledgment. The inability to reconnect with all aspects of self can lead to internal chaos that finds its expression in physical, emotional and spiritual challenges such as anxiety, anger, insomnia, depression, stress responses and addictions. In this work, we see that much of how we operate on a day to day basis has become programmed, second nature or subconscious. These automatic ways of being are referred to as "cow paths."
We have an amazing amount of information stored away in our subconscious mind. Everything we have ever experienced is still within us. We are overflowing with both helpful and not so helpful references, memories, mind files and "blocks." Yet, our programming has unfortunately hardwired us to remain fixated on what is not working.
Our self-image is rooted at the subconscious level and tied to many past mind files that were installed during times of high suggestibility and vulnerability. These old files continue to have a significant impact on how we function in the here and now, even though we are no longer children. We need to recognize that parents and others in authority must be viewed as our “early programmers” who often had their own challenges. Our sense of self is developed early but it is not always congruent with our true potential.
All too often parts of our being are put on the back burner. This is a natural outcome of social programming. To fit in, parts of the self begin to be denied at a very early age. From the beginning, children learn to withhold parts of the self from guardians. This happens even when parental figures are loving, nurturing, and well intended. This “deception” is a natural reaction to the power differential and felt to be required for survival.
Little minds do not have the ability to discern, or problem solve and “decisions” are made about the self and the world, sometimes, from a distorted perception. All too often parts of our being are put on the back burner. This is a natural outcome of social programming. To fit in, parts of the self begin to be denied at a very early age.
We must make the decision to be the CEO of our lives, rather then simply puppets of past programming. We must learn to oversee and guide our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, as opposed to allowing past circumstances or present conditions to determine our well being. When we begin to truly understand the interplay between innate ways of being and past programming, we can begin to respectfully influence the powerful subconscious mind.
For some people, self discovery is highly spiritual in nature, while others view self discovery work as an opportunity to develop an improved version of the self, or explore life purpose. Self discovery work can be challenging but the rewards can be phenomenal. Understanding the dynamic interplay between innate ways of being and programmed responses is incredibly empowering for most individuals.
Terri Lee Cooper MSc. RSW