Ask Anne-Marie: How Do You Dig Past The Conditioned Mind On A Daily Basis?

This article is in response to a question posted to the Ask Anne-Marie global forum. A place where we co-explore burning questions across multiple topics of leadership, erotic nature, power dynamics and relationships.

Welcome back to Ask Anne-Marie and this week’s question.

You asked:

in your article on the self-improvement campaign, you mentioned “The conditioned mind loves problems to solve,” which resonates.

it Seems the conditioned mind wants to disconnect us from others too. Digging down past the conditioned mind is a main goal for me this year!

Have you found a few ways to do this yourself in a daily way?


Dear Chad,

The answer is simple in theory. The application of theory is a lifetime journey of practice, self-compassion, fierce honesty and discipline. To unwind our conditioning it to let go of the ways we’ve identified with our roles (healer, teacher, parent, business executive) as well as who we think we should be to belong and feel enough (a loyal person, a kind person, the one in charge, smart, successful, athletic, etc.) To expose the ways in which we habitually react out of fear (control), withdrawn from love (protect), or override our authentic needs (comply) to maintain connection.

To dig into conditioned mind is to unwind the ways in which we try to control and plan every aspect of our lives, and instead learn to surrender and sink into befriending the unknown.

The practice takes discipline, self acceptance, trusted allies and humility. It’s a lifestyle. It will ask everything of us to surrender away from our fear-based beliefs and into the unknown with our heart as the leader, not the mind.

To move past the conditioned mind is to befriend it and study how it moves, talks, defends, grasps, collapses and compares. This relationship with our conditioning often asks us to surrender our narratives and protective stories so that we can see the truth of how our subconscious patterns operate.of

We can’t change what we don’t see. With self-reflection and loving awareness our conditioned habits will rise to the surface for breath, and this is when we can tell ourselves the truth or stay in suffering.
Conscious relationship

We learn when we are babies, and even in the womb, what kind of world we are coming into. Is it loving? Is it stressful with intense emotions? Do we get the food we need when we need it? Are people paying attention to us as we helplessly depend on them for our survival? Do we feel seen? Emotionally attuned to?

To dig past the conditioned mind is to un-do and re-evaluate what we know and believe. We become detectives exploring the beliefs and habitual ways of operating that we cling to. We cultivate access to the presence of who we are beyond our history, our reactive tendencies and the way our wounds create separation (often blame towards others or shame towards ourselves) when we actually long for connection.

We are wired as primal mammals and when threatened, we either collapse and freeze; withdraw and flee, or fight through behaviors of blame and control. When we blame others for how we feel we bypass our own vulnerability. It can feel exposing and threatening to:

  • embrace our longings for fear of being rejected, judged or shamed

  • feel a sense of isolation even when we are in connection

  • feel overwhelmed by loss and uncertainty while we scurry to fix and find answers

  • challenge the beliefs and behaviors that are designed to uphold an image of who we think we need in order to ensure our worth and sense of belonging.

Some daily practices I use are:

  1. Self inquiry: I find journaling about my patterns and questioning my thoughts and beliefs to be very helpful. Some people use practices like: Byron Katie’s inquiry process'; dialogue with a spiritual teacher or coach; or time in nature sitting with a question and listening with the heart.

  2. Meditation: Building the muscle of my inner witness so I am less identified with my self images and more with my heart and soul.

  3. Safe Connection & Vulnerable Sharing: To open beyond the conditioned mind I must see the beliefs and behaviors that stem from beliefs such as, “I’m not enough”, “I’m too much”, “I’m a fraud, if you only knew…”, “I’m better than” and so on. I need beloveds to whom I can speak my most vulnerable and shameful feelings. And, in return I’m both loved, supported and celebrated as I expose my limiting beliefs. Once I can see and embrace the patterns now I have enough self-awareness to practice course correcting the behaviors and actions that I take based upon these conditioned ways of being.

  4. Senses: When my mind is spinning in narratives I come back to my senses, my body and direct experiences rather than my story and interpretations about them. I spend time in nature even if it’s only 10 minutes to feel and sense beyond my mind and into my felt senses and heart.

  5. Check my assumptions: I look to expose the source of what I trying to defend? To notice when I’m attempting to maintain a self-image or feeling trapped by the oppressive nature of the conditioned beliefs driven by patterns of power (giving it away or trying to hold it) and control patterns that I learned early in life that are based on fear, scarcity, and lack.

  6. Gratitude: Focus attention throughout the day on something or someone I love and feel the gratitude for these feelings. It can be as simple as feeling the warm sun on my face. The conditioned mind seeks threats and problems which often bypasses our attention towards what is loving, beautiful and small moments of joy. It’s good to interrupt with gratitude and feeling love move through our body.

Digging past the conditioned mind is the journey of becoming more aware of the stories we tell ourselves about who we are, who we should be and the way the world works.

What practices do you use?

Anne-Marie Marron