“I can do as I will but I cannot will as I will." - Carl Jung
Pavlov and his buddies, after a hard day of research, were all sitting around at the pub enjoying a pint when all of a sudden, the phone rang. "Oh my God," Pavlov blurted out, "I forgot to feed the dog."
When I was a kid and even a young man I had never really heard of conditioning. I had had a course in psychology in high school so I knew about Pavlov and had heard the term classical conditioning, but I had no idea that it applied to me. In fact, most people then didn't.
In 1971, long before self-help and popular psychology, I had an overwhelmingly powerful spiritual experience that changed my life almost overnight. I went from being a drugged out, rock n' roll drummer at the end of his rope to an empathetic, curious and happy young man, totally free from those obvious addictions.
I thought life would be all rainbows and unicorns from then on out. The truth was my spiritual journey had just begun and I had just touched the tip of the iceberg when it came to understanding the true nature of the human being and existential question of "Who am I?"
I had no idea of the formidable power of conditioning, the utter authority of the built in defense mechanisms of the nervous system or the invisible influence of deep patterns that ran through the system, both ancestral and karmic.
At that time I had never heard the term enlightenment or knew of the paths of Vedanta, Zen or any of the esoteric yogic practices. I saw it all in terms of revelations and the notion that it was a one and done thing.
When things in my life started to become seriously difficult, I was utterly bewildered. I assumed that I had done something wrong. I had missed something important. So I doubled down on my spiritual practices and inquiry, seeking for that definitive ah-ha that would put me back on the rose pedal strewn path I had enjoyed for close to two years..
After literally years of this intense self-deprivation and austerity i was full of profound insights and had become extremely knowledgable about all sorts of spiritual practices. Yet my life was still filled with struggle and pain. Humbled I began to look further afield.
By this time, the first blooming of self-help and popular psychology was beginning to pop up. Compared to what I had already discovered, much of it seemed quite remedial to me. None the less, I knew something essential was missing from my understanding and so, pushed by my own struggling and deep questioning, I began to look deeply and honestly into the real workings of the human mind. That is when I discovered that conditioning wasn't just for dogs.
The next decade plus brought a new level of revelation. As I plumbed the depths of those, prior to, hidden parts, the struggles abated. The troubles continued to come and go but the struggle with them began to lessen. I now understood that I was dealing with something that could not just be explained away by some metaphysical or non-dual insight.
I saw that, while I had removed from conscious thought almost all of the illusions that I suffered from long ago, they were still very active in the body and its nervous system. And so a new phase of the journey began and continues to this day.
As I said in the title, I am writing this as a comforting message. Sitting in a place now where, I enjoy a high degree of equanimity and have made friends with my own inner dog, I see how much suffering has been caused by the idea that somehow enlightenment, awakening, self-realization or any name you want to give it, is suppose to be a one time, epic event, with Hollywood special effects and an utterly blissful happy ever after.
I speak with so many people who have had deeply profound spiritual experiences and yet, when the struggles of life persist they assume that they must be inadequate in some way. Like myself, they figured they missed something. They don't know how to reconcile the truth they have come to see, and recognize conclusively as truth, and the ongoing struggles and pains of everyday human life. Not to mention the mounting problems facing humanity as a whole.
I am seen as a sage, as a wise man and even as an enlightened being. I used to think that those were absolute terms. That it was binary. Now I see a continuum.
It is obvious to me that, when that bell rings, the dog in me may indeed salivate and look for food. This may be a fact for the rest of this life. In fact, it is a fact of all life. The causes and conditions, the innumerable things that must congeal to make anything happen at all is the reality of life and that includes all of the purely animal instincts and conditioning.
But spiritual transcendence, true enlightenment is not a dismissal of any aspect of human life. It is not a way of dismissing it or escaping it.
We are here to experience every nuance of it and so it is a total embrace of all of it.
It is an embrace to such a degree that instead of a burden, an obstacle to spiritual awakening or a problem to be solved, it becomes the very vehicle of awakening. It becomes the path to the answer to the question "Who am I?"
If truth is really true, it can not be exclusive. It cannot merely explain things away. It must be an explanation and an embrace of absolutely everything.
Human life IS divine life.
Heaven IS earth.
The ordinary human beings IS the Buddha.
You ARE that.
Embrace the totality of your experience.
Embrace the universe in which you are the center.
Embrace the ultimate absolute fact of your infinite illimitable, boundless being.
And don't forget to feed the dog.
Meridian Tapping Immersion
While conditioning cannot be done away with (it is the nature of life itself) it can be consciously brought to a higher level of functioning, a level that serves you rather than fights you. The dog can be trained to do more than drool at a bell.
One of the most effective way to bring your whole nervous system to a level of higher functioning and self-expression is Meridian Tapping.
GP is a master of tapping (aka EFT) and put together is Tapping Immersion. There are 10 days of tapping to relieve chronic conditioned issues like:
I'm not enough
I can't get what I want
I am not lovable
I am afraid
As well as lots of tapping on the positive side of things.
GP offers dozens of workshops, meditations and courses on his learning platform, The OM School
Check out GP's podcast on Spotify and other media outlets
Watch GP Live Every Tuesday at noon Eastern and Every Sunday at 8pm Eastern or catch his hundreds of vides on Youtube.