Everything in life is a pattern. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the human mind. (Okay, except maybe in mineral crystals or bird migration or multiplication tables or DNA or ice or rice or the outward expression of the mind, which is behavior.)
When the mind encounters a situation that is similar to one already in its memory, it attempts to create a pattern by linking the new experience with the remembered one. In doing so, it is trying to create a feeling of safety and security by forming a direct connection between the two experiences: one that is old and familiar, and one that is new and unknown.
Of course, that’s what usually ends up happening. Similar events from different times in life are strung together and connected in the memory. As a result of this organization, patterns are instilled and reinforced in the individual, and behavior becomes automated. Because of the programmed responses (reactions) that have now been set up in the mind/brain, the individual acts without thinking consciously and becomes a human pattern of behavior.
Once again, the individual becomes a pattern of behavior. As a result of merely reacting to events instead of using the mind to produce new situations, the person becomes, in effect, an effect rather than a cause. The person becomes predictable, dull, and unenthusiastic. This behavior and the underlying neural patterns established in the brain are the cause of the human tendency to resist change of any kind.
These patterns are also the reason why open-mindedness and living the fluid life of faith are essential. When new experiences arrive (which they do unceasingly), the mind of doubt accepts the situation uncritically and treats the new experience as if it were just like any previous experience (which it never is). The mind of faith, on the other hand, evaluates each experience on its own merit, as a new event in life (which it always is). This keeps the mind fluid and supple, the brain freer of crystallized neural pathways—and even helps to keep us young.
One might respond by saying that this self-automation process is indeed good. After all, this is how we learn! Yes, that’s true to a large degree. It’s this crystallization of the mind that enables us to drive a car, or ride a bicycle, or learn geography—but there’s a point where automated thinking becomes a hindrance, not an asset.
Being a behavior pattern is the ideal state of an animal, not a human being. We are not to live by instinct, but by intelligence and intuition! We should learn which of our behaviors are best left on autopilot, and which ones we should take charge of consciously.
This is why I sometimes say that routine is the enemy of real (conscious) living. When people are really (consciously) living, they become the cause of the events they experience instead of constantly reacting to seemingly uncontrollable events that “just happen.”
This is the difference between an empowered person and a disempowered person (a.k.a. a “victim”).
You can live all your life in one city or block or house and never become a victim of routine. Like anything else, awareness is a state of mind! It’s a matter of choosing how you respond to your environment in each moment: either unconsciously (on “auto-pilot”) or consciously (aware of your choices and especially the reasons behind them).
It’s a popular idea that humans aren’t supposed to be empowered. Does this make any sense? All change, innovation, and progress (I mean real progress, not the bulldozer-on-the-forest kind) is made because of, through, and by people! Where do progressive (new) ideas come from? They come from the “inner” world of thoughts and ideas, the world that everyone shares in differing degrees and to which all people have some access. This is the unseen world of Spirit—and it is through people that the world of Spirit is brought forth into the world of men!
To be empowered is to be an instrument of God on the Earth.
(Freshly edited on February 6, 2017.)