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Patterns are hard to change!

by Michael Ketterhagen

While preparing our breakfast this morning, I was putting the dishes away and found myself wondering where the vegetable strainer would go after it was washed. Mary had recently moved it from its longstanding place. So, I was washing the strainer and dried it and began to replace the strainer in its old home. I remembered that it was no longer its home, but I didn’t remember the new home.

I immediately noticed that my mind started to talk to itself, saying things like, “Why did she have to change the location of the strainer? It was so convenient before.”

I asked Mary, “Where does it belong now?”, trying to hide my irritation.

I became aware that I was blaming (a mild form of anger) Mary for my forgetfulness and desire for convenience.

I wondered then how long will I have to deal with this desire of mine to blame Mary for the disturbance of what I thought was pleasurable, right and just. Boy! I really lay a heavy anger trip on myself and others, and doing (I think) a pretty good job of hiding that personality trait during my adult life.

Thought patterns and regular habits that please us, yet cause some sort of disturbance in us when change occurs, are extremely hard to change. They are especially hard-wired if the habit is learned before the age of 7. Everything we experience gets put into the circuitry of the lower, emotional animal brain.

When the emotional desire is not “controlled” by a frontal lobes rule that tells us that hitting someone will not help the situation. This frontal lobe is connected with our ajna chakra, which is the direct avenue to our spiritual core self at the center of the brain/mind.

All I have to do, if I don’t want to be burdened with the mental irritation because Mary did something that I didn’t like, is cover up and allow that past pattern to smolder and die. Tantric yoga says that I can do that by weaving together the body, mind and soul together in the direction of God-consciousness. That tradition also says that with skillful effort and faithful practice I can experience that “weaving oneness.”

Sometimes, I wish the spiritual journey were not so demanding!


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