The Three Levels of Understanding - Part 2

leo's picture



Average: 4.8 (18 votes)

Level 3 - Transformation of Conditionings

We believe that we are a one solid "I" but actually there are many different, sometimes contradicting "I"s, acting within us, or more accurately, there is no "I" within us at all, just a bundle of numerous conditionings reacting to situations in an almost mechanical way according to previous experiences in this life and in previous lives. Our unconscious behavior which constitutes most of our daily being is dictated by these conditionings. A transformation, therefore, is primarily a transformation of our conditioning programing.

Consequently, though our "I" has understood intellectually and realized mentally a truth, our conditioning machine is still going on functioning unconsciously as it was functioning before according to our old beliefs. It remains intact although we have consciously realized a truth.

This is the deepest and ultimate level in which we have to put our energy to fully understand in order to promote transformation. The work here is to bring the work of conditionings from the unconscious to the conscious level by observing them with the new truth in mind. This does not mean trying to resist the past conditionings with the new truth in mind but rather just observing them. Observing consciously our conditionings throughout the day with the new truth in mind will diminish the old ignorant conditionings and build new ones that adhere the new understanding.

When you start observing your conditionings with the new understanding in mind, you will be astonished to find out that your conditioning machine has completely ignored this new understanding, that it indifferently stayed devoted to its past beliefs as if no understanding ever occurred recently.

In terms of the body, this level of understanding is usually associated with the whole of our body, with the totality of our organs and tissues. In this level, truth has infiltrated every cell of our body, flooding all our past ignorant conditionings coded throughout our physical body, leaving no trace of our past reactionary patterns.

If we return to our example of not being the body, we meet an acquaintance during the day and he tells us comments that it looks like we have gained weight recently. Our conditionings, based on the belief that we are the body, react immediately by feeling offended and depressed. But, if we are vigilant and alert, we immediately invoke our witnessing, observing our ignorant reaction with our new understanding in mind that we are not the body and then our reaction subsides. Try this and you will see it by yourself.

Step after step, observing our conditioning-based ignorant-based reaction-based unconscious behavior throughout the day with the new understanding always in mind, the ignorant conditional pattern will subside against the new understanding and thus promote a new transformation to behavior consistent with this understanding of the truth.



shond's picture

help on how to implement the 3th level

I find this understanding approach so accurate and the 3rd level the missing link i was looking for.

are there any tricks to make the 3rd level of understanding more efficient?

shond | Sun, 05/04/2008 - 08:35
leo's picture

Just observe in daily life conditioning

It is very simple yet requires constant alertness.

For example: if you decide to work on your belief in god in the 3rd level (not just understanding intellectually that there is some intelligence beyond (1st level), and not just experiencing the odd coincidences of life that show that things are not arbitrary and accidental...), you should do the following:

Always when you remember during the day, when you do something and thoughts are passing by in your head, observe and spot the underlying skeptical doctrine being the foundation of your current thought. Just observe, do not judge, do not stop, just give it attention and go on. You will notice clearly, for instance, your disbelief skepticism behind every fear and anger you encounter within yourself.

You will see that while you maintain a strong conviction and belief in god when you are aware and consciously thinking about the subject, in your automatic daily processing, your conditioning engine maintains a totally different approach of deep skepticism, as if it where a different person (which it is! but this is another subject to discuss some other time). Without handling this conditioning engine, that is to say, without bringing understanding to the 3rd level, no true understanding and thus transformation (in this case, transformation from disbelief to belief) is possible.

leo | Mon, 05/05/2008 - 08:46
lilian's picture

Great technique

After reading this, I started yesterday to observe some old troubling beliefs of mine in my daily thinking and conditioings.

Indeed, I was surprised to find out that they are still there although in my concious state of mind (levels 1 & 2) they were long time abondened.

It feels like scrubling the last residues and stains of past sticky dirt from a sink...

One warning: while practicing this onservation, it is important not to identify with the ignorant ideas observed in the conditioings. I noticed that it is extremly easy to slide and find yourself reattached to them. The mind is so mighty and just waits for such opportunities.

lilian | Sun, 05/25/2008 - 13:05
santthosh kumaar's picture

THE INHERITED CONDITIONING

THE INHERITED CONDITIONING IS WILL NEVER GO UNTIL THE MIND IS TRAINED TO VIEW AND JUDGE THE WORLDVIEW ON THE BASE OF TRUE SELF WHICH IS ATAMAN OR BRAMHAN. UNTIL ONE IS ABLE TO VIEW THE WHOLE WORLDVIEW AS 'I' YOU WILL NOT SUCCEED IN PURSUIT OF TRUTH.
ALL THIS LEVELS MAY BE GOOD FOR THE BEGINNERS BUT IT WILL NOT YIELD ANY FRUITS. TO KNOW WHY AND HOW ONE HAS TO ADOPT FORMLESS SPIRITUALITY.
BUDDISM IS THE GREATEST INSPIRATION BUT THE GOAL TOWARDS BUDDHAHOOD MUST BE WELL DIRECTED BY DISCOVERING REALIZING AND REMOVING ALL THE OBSTACLES. IT NEEDS THE INTENSE URGE TO KNOW THE TRUTH AND COURAGE OF BUDDHA TO ACCEPT THE TRUTH AND REJECT THE UNTRUTH.

santthosh kumaar | Mon, 06/23/2008 - 13:51
divine intervention's picture

But how?

THE INHERITED CONDITIONING WILL NEVER GO UNTIL THE MIND IS TRAINED TO VIEW AND JUDGE THE WORLDVIEW ON THE BASE OF TRUE SELF

How exactly to train the mind in the way you suggest?

divine intervention | Mon, 06/23/2008 - 14:06
Phroggy's picture

A bit cornfused

Hi Leo
I see the reconditioning value in all this but I have a difficulty with the example. Assuming no realizations have come about regarding ownership of the thoughts and mind (an egoic identity still solidly in place) I wonder why reminding oneself that one is not the body would relieve one of the offense. If mind identified, isn't it you who decided to put on the weight? If you decided to leave the house wearing a monkey suit, and people laughed at you, could you then remind yourself that you are not the monkey suit and thereby end the sense of being offended? After all, 'you' did decide to wear the suit.

Again, perhaps it's just this example, but reminding yourself that you are not the body in the midst of this offense sounds more like an excuse for denying responsibility for putting that body you lug around with you into that condition. Doesn't the condition of the body generally say something to people about the one who conditioned it, at least from the ego perspective?

Phil

Phroggy | Wed, 07/30/2008 - 07:36
leo's picture

No reminding about the body

I'm not sure I understand your question: there is nothing in this technique that suggests the reminding that you are not the body.

The technique is very simple: it says that in addition to the two known levels of understandings there is yet another, a very hidden and neglected one: the understanding that is portrayed in our conditionings. As we all know, when we are not present and concious (most of the time), these conditionings are in full control and we function as conditioned robots.

The technique provides an access to the underlying perspectives of our conditionings and a way to change them (by spotting and observing in this level).

leo | Wed, 07/30/2008 - 09:17
ramadvaith's picture

another perspective

leo

this is not to take away from the excellent description of various levels of understanding that you have provided, just a different perspective.

Nithaynanda teaches that our understanding is at three levels. Intellectual is what we learn at school and from others around us. Emotional is the next stage that arises from the heart. You cal learn math intellectually, but you can only learn music or painting emotionally. No one can teach you, you need to learn. The third level is that of the being when the communication becomes a communion, an aha experience.

Yes, our conditioning does stop us from the third level understanding,which is the truest understanding that leads to bliss. Children can be blissful for no reason. That innocence is robbed by conditioning from elders. Unfortunately for us most of this conditioning, the engraved memories or samskaras, are buried deep n our unconscious.

Intellectual or conscious digging is very unlikely to help overcome these conditionings in many cases. Digging into the unconscious mind through hypnosis etc is possible but dangerous. The most effective and the safest is through a meditative process.

Perhaps that is what you refer to as well. The process can be taught and can be learned.

be in bliss

ramadvaith | Sat, 08/02/2008 - 16:18
leo's picture

This is exactly what i mean

The way to process our conditionings, our sanskaras, is only by meditation - by observing them, observing and accepting. Any resistance or identification will only strengthen them.

Though there are magic, healing and hypnosis methods to exterminate sanskaras, I would not recommend them as they are a detour, do not go through our consciousness. There is a reason why we have concisenesses and a true process is one that involves us being conscious and present.

leo | Sat, 08/02/2008 - 20:36
george's picture

Excellent point you make

I must admit - Excellent approach (where is it from btw?)

The lack of the 3rd level of understanding is the reason why you meet so many senior and advanced spiritual seekers on the path that can sit for hours immovable and that know whatever spiritual knowledge available but once they open their mouth, an unexpected burst of ego is blown out and you find yourself again puzzled and disappointed.

Probably without covering this 3rd difficult level of understanding by being attentive non-stop to our conditionings in action and in real-time, without doing so our spiritual work is doomed to be limited in effectiveness.

Who said to be spiritual is easy? :-)

george | Tue, 08/26/2008 - 11:02
gentlyok's picture

Level Three of understanding

Thank you for sharing your clarity. Most helpful to me! Your discription of the process of being vigilant and alert in our witnessing our reactions, our condition patterns of response to daily encounters, is such a confirmation for me. This is what I have assumed Ramana Maharshi meant by self inquiry. I am often humbled by the tenacity of certain entrenched responses but more quickly ask myself, "Who is this I?" The process continues. Your words are a boon.
Thank you!
gently OK

gentlyok | Thu, 04/02/2009 - 11:43