Conditioned responses are thoughts or behaviors that we feel we have no control of, because there is no conscious moment of choice between stimulus and reaction. For example, if I was conditioned early by experience to fear dogs and my friend conditioned to love dogs, we would each react quite differently if a dog rounded the corner. Neither of us would stop to think, “I am going to be afraid now,” or “I am going to making cooing noises at this dog now.” These are unconscious or conditioned responses.
Changing unconscious scripting is not just a simple matter of changing one’s mind or thinking positively—positive thinking is helpful, but it comes from the conscious mind, which is only 5-10% of the mind. When 10% enters a tug of war with 90%, 90% wins. Put differently, maybe 10% of the time you will think positively, or resist your habit or change your behavior, but the other 90% of the time, you’ll fall back or be triggered back into conditioned responses.
Conditioned responses rob us of free agency. However, our creator--who sent us here for the purpose of learning and using that free agency we fought for in heaven--knew that this could and would happen as a condition of mortality, and did not leave us helpless. Since the dawn of time, God warned His people of the dangers of unconscious scripting, and He also prepared a way for them to free themselves from past experience and rewrite their script.
How is it done? As a hypnotherapist I help people do this every day by delivering suggestions to their unconscious mind when they are in a highly receptive state which we call hypnosis. However, this highly receptive state has other names and existed long before people called themselves hypnotherapists. As you will can read in my meditation post, regular communion with God through various means—is another way to train and recondition the mind.
A careful study of the scriptures show God has warned his people of unconscious scripting. I would love to share just a few examples I have found in the scriptures which discuss unconscious conditioning (by other names) and how it is overcome.
“And there are many among us who have many revelations, for they are not all stiffnecked. And as many as are not stiffnecked and have faith, have communion with the Holy Spirit, which maketh manifest unto the children of men, according to their faith.” (Jerom 1:4)
“I say unto you, my sons, were it not for these [records], which have been kept and preserved by the hand of God, that we might read and understand of his mysteries, and have his commandments always before our eyes, that even our fathers would have dwindled in unbelief, and we should have been like unto our brethren, the Lamanites, who know nothing concerning these things, or even do not believe them when they are taught them, because of the traditions of their fathers, which are not correct.” (Mosiah 1:5)
“But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. (2 Cor 3:14)
From the above scriptures we learn that it is through this communion with the Holy Spirit (meditation), immersion in the scriptures (meditation) and Christ (meditation and Atonement) that our divine nature begins to incrementally change and unfold in our thoughts and behavior and we can become free from the limitations of past experiences and conditioning.
In the New Testament, Paul’s words to the Romans, seem particularly poignant for laboring women:
“I beseech you therefore, [sisters], by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”In childbearing, women offer their bodies as living sacrifice in the service of God. Yet in order for this sacrifice to be holy, acceptable, and not just mere conditioning, Paul’s next sentence instructs:
“And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12: 1-2)Paul seems to warn, that even a sacrifice as holy and perfect as giving birth can become conformed to the world, and it is God’s will that we transform ourselves by renewing our mind. We can do this through study, meditation, and seeking more personal revelation about what God wants for us as we experience this divinely appointed process of giving life.