Our conditioned mind…

Posted by in Challenge, Change, Diving, Freedom

The other day a fellow photographer posted a random post on her wall.
In it a box with sour cream and onion flavored crickets, and the question “who’s in?”
It was followed by series of responses ranging from “Eew” to “That’s gross” to “Disgusting” and then some. And it got me thinking. Have you ACTUALLY tried them? Or are you basing your opinions on what you’re used to, and how things look on the outside…?

This, of course, is not a new concept. Everyone knows that our mind is preset to believe certain things, or to think that some things are “supposed to be” and other things are not.
I’ve had crickets. And they’re actually really tasty.
I’ve had a lot “worse” stuff, that also tasted pretty good.

So off I went, writing how I find it fascinating how our mind is conditioned to a lot of things. I took on this example of the crickets, told them they’re actually very good and nutritious, and that a diet of insects would also reduce the carbon footprint that us humans leave on this world with all the other stuff we produce. We eat cows, pigs, chickens, etc. etc., and we think nothing of it, because we’re used to it. Crickets are bugs. And bugs are disgusting. You don’t eat bugs. Or so we think. Having been in the Philippines for a while now, I’ve also eaten balut, a duck in an egg, which really just tastes like duck/chicken and egg. We eat duck. We eat egg. What’s really so different from eating a duck in an egg?

It sounds and looks disgusting, thus it must be disgusting.

How the mind makes you believe what you should do

I know, you think “what does this have to do with Reconnect Discover?” The food part, nothing really. But it was what triggered my line of thinking on how these things apply to what we’re doing with Reconnect Discover.

Don’t worry… Reconnect Discover doesn’t all of a sudden turn fanatic, but this specific topic also applies very much to the things we do.

Kaisa has written a lot about it, both here and on Reconnect Inspire. We are dealing with people who have allowed themselves to be put in boxes, and because everyone says we belong there, we start believing we belong there. It becomes a truth.

I’m going back to my dear friend (see my previous posts about conquering fear) and use him –again– as my example. He’s a big guy, and as such has also faced a lot of conditioned minds, and I daresay, HAS a conditioned mind himself as well.

He started his Open Water course with a conditioned mind. We managed to get that out quite nicely. To get him down in fresh water on his first confined water session we needed 16 kgs of weight. When he finished his last dive last year, he went down with 8 or 10 kgs in salt water. I can’t quite remember which one anymore, but it was A LOT less than what he started with.

He arrived here a few weeks ago, not having dived for about half a year, and exposed to a conditioned society back home. When we went down on our first couple of dives, he needed 12 kgs.
On the first dive of his Advanced Course, one of his weight pockets fell out of his BCD, which meant he was all of a sudden 4 kgs lighter. Thus he floated right up towards the surface.
I had to give him my weights (and I dive only with 2 kgs), and hang on to him in order to keep him down.

It was quite an adventure, that dive.

What you believe starts to shape your reality

Then the second dive of his course came. The Peak Performance Buoyancy. It’s one of those dives that I love to do, because it really gives the student the right tools to actually know what they’re doing.

Funnily enough, before we even started with the courses, I told him already that by the time we’re done with the Dive Master course, he would be diving with MAX 6 kgs. He says he believed me, but I’m not sure if he really, deep down in his heart, did at that time. People had been judging him on his physical appearance. They had told him “wow, you must need a lot of weight if you want to go scuba diving”, when he told them he was going to dive. All these people put a thought in his head, and he started believing it. So much, that it blocked what was most important. His own confidence in his own abilities, and that physical appearance doesn’t always have to have an influence on what you are trying to achieve.

Before the second dive we sat down. We concentrated. We focused on our breathing, on our being. On what our spirit really is. Not what our physical appearance really is.
When we did the proper weight check in the water for the Peak Performance Buoyancy training, he was so calmed down, so … out of touch with “reality”, for lack of a better expression, that the weight check ended on 6 kgs.

I gave him 2 kgs extra to compensate for an empty tank (and still a bit for that conditioned mind of his), and sure enough, he sank like a stone. 8 kgs. In the first dive he floated up with 10 kgs (that was including my 2 extra kgs after he lost his weight pocket), and now with 8 kgs he sank like a stone.

A month down the road, now, he’s already diving comfortably with 6 kgs. We’ll leave it at this for a while still, to de-condition his mind and to prove that really, he CAN dive with THAT little weight. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if he ends up diving with 5 kgs or even 4 kgs.

The power of the mind

But it goes to show that, even if some times people are right to say that something is supposed to be like this, we should not always blindly believe and follow what other people are saying, simply because everyone is saying it.

Our mind is more powerful than we can imagine.

If only we knew how, if only we were able to tap into a bit more of that power. There’s so much we could achieve.