Cultural Conditioning and the Importance of Critical Thinking

Cultural Conditioning and the Importance of Critical Thinking

A person’s culture is a collective of beliefs, methods, way of life, and social perspective which a person acquires in their mind. We’ve been conditioned since the day we were born by religion, educational systems, government, corporate advertising and media in an attempt of socialization. We make moral judgments all the time and these are largely influenced by cultural conditioning. Hasty moral judgments are deeply ingrained blocks to thinking critically, for the values upon which they are based typically are imparted very early in our lives, well before we can seriously examine them and the belief systems they spawn. Thus, before we’re mature enough to think intelligently about subjects of religion, race, sex, and politics. As a result we tend to acknowledge what supports our acquired moral value systems and to ignore or dismiss what does not. We wall ourselves off from disclosure contrary to our preconceptions, thereby purchasing security at the price of insight and understanding.

The exposure of conditioning and cultural programming in which an individual receives to form their perception then creates the parameters of their thoughts, motivations, and ultimately their behavior; essentially limiting the practice of true free will. A mind that is largely free of cultural conditioning is one which uses methods of analysis, evaluation, validation, and integration on all information being presented. This type of mind does not typically respond to events or information based solely on cultural programs, but yet seeks verification, establishment of context and evaluation of underlying influences. A free mind challenges reason, often in opposition of information at face value.

Cultural conditioning will always be apart of the foundation of an individual’s social architecture. It’s important as a community to begin to promote and instill in our future generations the values of self awareness and critical thinking in attempt to breed optimal leaders to excel and supersede the unimaginable barriers of current society. Encouraging true self assessment into the natural process of thinking is a critical component in development of one’s self. Being capable of relying less on the experts outside our ourselves, and more on the greatness within to promote the establishment of genuine independent thought and self-empowerment.

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Reaching Your Unconscious Consciousness

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There are four levels of consciousness. Most people never make it out of level one and are condemned to suffer in a self-sabotaged inner world. Here are the four levels of consciousness:

1. Unconscious Unconsciousness
At this stage you are not even aware that you are unconscious. You attract negative things into your life at a rapid pace, as if you have developed a negative ball of energy rolling down hill. Nothing is ever your fault and you are always looking for someone to blame.

2. Conscious Unconsciousness
Here you are aware of your negative thinking and the consequences that it might bring. You might see your negative pattern and have become aware of what it is that you are attracting. You may not like what you are attracting, but you have taken responsibility for it.

3. Conscious Consciousness
You deliberately decide to focus pure and positive thought on something and remove all resistance to its arrival. And, sure enough, it arrives. Your creation might be something as simple as visualizing a parking space opening up for you at the mall. You deliberately intended it, allowed it to come to you and acknowledged it when it arrives.

4. Unconscious Consciousness
When you get to this point, you do not have to work so hard to create things in your life. You are a believer in how the mind game is played and you spend conscious time each day making your mind important. New creations come to you easily and quickly. You have built a positive ball of energy that continues to roll forward in your favor. People call you the “lucky one”.

This consciousness is beyond the body, feelings and thoughts. It is beyond beliefs, attitudes, names, gender, family and social or economic status. It is your inner being. You do not need to search for this Consciousness. It is here, and you are living in it all the time. You only forgot it. You let thoughts rule your life. The sky is always up there. If you don’t see it, this is because of the clouds that cover it. In the same way the clouds of thoughts cover your Consciousness, but by removing them you become aware of it.

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The Recycled Orchestra: Paraguay

The world generates about a billion tons of garbage a year. Those who live with it and from it are the poor – like the people of Cateura, Paraguay. And here they are transforming it into beauty. Landfill Harmonic follows the orchestra as it takes its inspiring spectacle of trash-into-music around the world. Follow the lives of a garbage picker, a music teacher and a group of children from a Paraguayan slum that out of necessity started creating instruments entirely out of garbage. Landfill Harmonic is a beautiful story about the trans-formative power of music, which also highlights two vital issues of our times: poverty and waste pollution.

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Let Your Health Be Your Wealth

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Your body is naturally equipped with a self-cleaning process. But too much sugar, caffeine, processed foods, stress, and too little exercise can slow the body’s natural detox function to a slow pace. And then your body can’t clean itself when it is put up against the increasing number of harmful and toxic substances in the environment. Toxins come in many forms: pesticides in produce, formaldehyde in carpets and cosmetics, PCBs from plastic containers, dioxins from bleached paper products, and more.

Your body will process and eliminate some of the hordes of chemicals that enter, but overflow gets stored in the liver, lungs, kidneys, fat cells, intestines, blood stream, and skin—which can result in chronic illnesses down the road.

In the Taoist tradition, positive and negative emotions are associated with the internal organs. One of the keys to good health is to become aware of the emotional energies that reside in the organs, and to transform the negative emotional energies into positive virtues. Taoists believe that we are all born with the virtues of love, gentleness, kindness, respect, honesty, fairness, justice, and righteousness.

Unfortunately, as we mature and encounter more stress in our daily lives, negative emotions such as fear, anger, cruelty, impatience, worry, sadness, and grief often predominate. The negative emotions have deleterious effects on the internal organs and glands, draining our life-force and undermining our health.

In the Tao “emotional intelligence” is a process of recognizing emotions by their effects on the body, and employing exercises that transform the negative emotions into positive life force, or Chi. Two important exercises are the “Inner Smile” and the “Six Healing Sounds” techniques, as taught by Master Mantak Chia.

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