Early childhood conditioning and patterns in life

Publish Date:May 19, 2016

If we look back at our reactions in all of the most important moments of life, they will all be similar. There will not be much change in any of our reactions or reflexes to similar situations. They run neatly in patterns, similar responses to similar triggers throughtout our lifetime. And similar triggers keep appearing again and again. For example, if our friend or spouse says to us "you don’t know", "you keep quite", we feel exactly the same way as we did as child when our teacher or father uttered such words. Right from our childhood till we die, we don't change much in the way we interact with people and interpret their motives. If we look closely into these patterns they reveal our entire life story. Even those parts of it that we may not clearly remember or acknowledge now. Why do we react in patterns? Why can’t we change our reactions or reflexes to similar situations very naturally and easily as we want to?



Of course we don’t give much importance to the way we react. If someone asks us why we reacted that way, we simply answer this is how my father or mother used to react. But is it so simple? Human beings copy or rebel parent's behaviour. This is one of the most natural phenomenon, called conditioning. All our behaviour as an adult depends on, whether we copy or rebel what we have observed as a child. A simple example, if a mother is a crying, melodramatic type, her daughter either copies to be similar to mom or rebels and decides to be cool, self-possessing type. This conditioning generally happens on many levels. It first starts from parents and early childhood, how the kid was treated by them, what belief systems parents had, how parents saw life and people around them. Conditioning later happens through close relatives, society, group consciousness and group belief systems.



However, the very earliest conditioning starts right from when we are in the womb of our mother. The learning, understanding starts there in the womb, the moment we get life into the fetus. This is a very well known fact for most of us, especially people from the Indian origin. We heard stories of Prahalada, Abhimanyu that tell us how true it is. Our subconscious records everything we experience from the time we are in the womb of our mother. Everything that the mother is experiencing. This is one of the reasons it is advised that pregnant women should be kept happy all the time, talk, listen and watch pleasant things. Whatever is going around the mother, the baby tends to catch up. Yes, babies don’t understand language but they understand the energy behind the language. Whatever belief systems parents or the family holds, those are absorbed by the babies.



The learning doesn’t stop when the baby is born but continues throughout early childhood. Whatever is going on in the family, babies absorb. Have you ever seen a baby start crying the moment mother starts crying? Babies are so very connected to their mother that they respond and react to every emotion of their mother. For example, if parents expect a baby boy during pregnancy and the baby turns out to be a girl, the  girl will hold on to sense of rejection all through her life. After the birth of the baby, parents might accept the reality and give her the best they can and may even treat her as Princess of the house, but she will still hold that sense of rejection in subconscious mind. This is one of the conditioning the baby received from the parents.


While growing up, we either copy one or both the parents or become rebel to them. When we say rebel doesn’t mean that the kids would go against the parents, they do things exactly opposite way the parents do. When kids copy or rebel parents, they mould themselves to suit the parents and siblings to accommodate them into their life. Once they get into schooling, they mould themselves to suit their teacher or friends. We are masked with so much of conditioning from so many quarters, if we look back and ask “Who am I”, we find it difficult to define ourselves. We lose individuality because of layers of conditioning. We are like our father or mother or grand parent or the influential person in our life. We are never authentic, individual self in our own lives.


Whatever conditioning we take up from our childhood, it creates our present reality. The same patterns we see in our life come up time and again. We end up asking why me and why the same story is repeated so many times. Life is just showing the subconscious patterns to us, it is not creating anything fresh. The moment we let go of that conditioning, the universe will stop creating that pattern and the matching reality. There is nothing wrong about conditioning except that it leads us to behave in a way that is not our true nature. We become like automatons reacting along same patterns all through our lives without a way to escape. Imagine how does it feel to be running on a wheel on and on, where you cannot step off it when you want to. Unpleasant, even terrifying.


So how do we know what all we have learnt in early childhood, how to undo conditioning, how to escape from binding patterns, how to discover our true individuality? In school, we are given a standard syllabus, we study it and appear for an exam. In life, we get to face the test first and then we understand the syllabus automatically. It's more fun this way once we start to uncover our life stories. In our upcoming series, we will look into all these aspects of our lives and explore the solutions. 


Ramakrishna Maguluri

Engaging with life



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