Article by Phillip Hawkins
Let’s start this piece of work with a very bold statement that applies to everyone. Everything you believe to be true about yourself and life, in general, is a direct result of conditioning you have received throughout your life. The primary conditioning and by far the most powerful and effective was carried out on you from the moment you were born up to the age of six or seven. The conditioning you received during this period literally set in place the physiological and psychological programme you would follow for the rest of your life.
To support this statement let’s take a moment to consider what the term “conditioning’’ actually means and look at how it relates to the child-parent-society relationship to see if we can see a correlation between the definition and our own experiences. One definition is “the process of training or accustoming a person or animal to behave in a certain way or to accept certain circumstances’’. For circumstances we can use alternative words such as beliefs, attitude and behaviour. When we consider social conditioning we find “in physiology, a behavioral process whereby a response becomes more frequent or more predictable in a given environment as a result of reinforcement, with reinforcement typically being a stimulus or reward for a desired response’’. When we use reward as motivation to encourage a desired behaviour, the withholding of those rewards as a result of inappropriate or unwanted behaviour become the counter balance epitomised as the “carrot or the stick’’ scenario.
Once this reward punishment pattern is established it is reinforced throughout our life. Schools enforce standards of behaviour through regimental discipline and instil the need to fit in and conform, not to challenge, but to accept without question. In many ways schools, colleges and universities are educational production lines, the raw material is fed in one end and the finished product comes out the other end. Those who can’t fit in or conform are rejected and excluded from the process. The more able are in debt to the tune of thousands of pounds in higher education fees thus ensuring their commitment to the system and the opportunity to benefit from the financial rewards available to those who value wealth power and control which is the fundamental principle of capitalism and keeps the system regulated and in place.
The ultimate form of social conditioning is politics and the media which are owned by various families, individuals and corporations who have a vested interest in ensuring the system continues to work in exactly the way it was designed. The real power and control remains in the hands of a small select unelected and anonymous power brokers and bureaucrats thus ensuring their control is never challenged.
The greatest barriers to our personal development are the ones we are totally unaware of for they are the ones exerting the greatest control over our progress. Unfortunately for most people the greatest and most powerful form of conditioning in existence is perceived and accepted as “normality’’; control so inofensive and unobtrusive, yet insidious, presenting a clear and present danger hiding in plain sight.
Conditioning is neither myth nor conspiracy theory; it’s real and instigated by our parents and those in a position to influence our early development. But teachers can only teach us what they have learned and tradition in the form of repetition and acceptance become the norm. Normality hides a multitude of sins and so mundane and unnoticed normal becomes acceptable and in doing so the conditioning is complete.
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A Reiki practitioner since 1999, Phillip started teaching Reiki in 2000 and using those skills and abilities he has spent the majority of the last seventeen years working with a wide range of social and educational needs including Autism and ADHD. Working with addicts dependent on alcohol and drugs, people whose lives were extremely violent and abusive, and others who had to deal with severe mental health issues. This has enabled him to work extensively in the private sector, schools, colleges, education and care in the community, the prison service and psychiatric units.
In 2016, Phillip decided to semi-retire from full-time employment to concentrate on developing his career as a published author and the setting up of his Reiki personal development programme at the Chilton Community College.