Brainwashing or mind-training: take your pick

Over the last few months, I’ve been digging up different ways I’ve been brainwashed. The most significant connections I’ve made are with the beauty industry. Last week I finally watched Embrace (highly recommended), and while I was aware of how society forces women into a warped sense of beauty, this movie had me in tears of despair. It’s so sad what women go through.

However, it also awakened a sense of justice I hadn’t felt in a long time. I felt resolved to stop giving into the body shaming industry, and to embrace my power as a woman, especially as a white English-speaking Canadian woman. I know there is so much more I can do on this planet than worry about my love-handles. I refuse to believe I’m less than. Deep down I know I’m so much more than the dark circles under my eyes, or blotchy skin.

But how? This industry is an all-encompassing force! It has its tentacles in so many areas: social media; the music industry; the film industry; the fashion industry; the health industry; the medical industry; the pharmaceutical industry…

Meditation, or mind-training, is a suggestion that Guru Jagat makes during her talk “Take Back Our Sovereignty” at the 2016 Wanderlust Festival.

“It’s not a luxury anymore for us to be participating in some aspect of mind-training (…speaks about how the following is the base of her Kundalini lineage…) If you know how to hypnotize yourself, which is meditation — self-hypnosis is meditation — if you know how to hypnotize yourself, then no one can ever hypnotize you. That’s power. That’s sovereignty.” (starts at 2:30)

As she says this she’s pointing to the screen, reminding the audience of the Jay-Z/Beyonce video she had just played which was full of fast-paced intermittent shots of booties, boobs, and guns. This is the hypnosis we’re subject to each day. This is the brainwashing that makes me believe I need a tight tummy with super curves, while also being incredibly ruthless in my behaviour.

“Your reality is a trance of your own making, or someone else’s making. Someone who doesn’t have your greatest good in mind. So any type of meditation, any type of contemplative practice (…) is going to give you an ability to start to take that sovereignty of thought choice back.” (starts at 16:00)

She speaks about how thought forms come from our lineage, and a deeply engrained cultural and religious belief, whether we are religious or not, that we are sinners (this is especially relevant to Western cultures). For me this would be the lineage of the Acadian people, who faced expulsion from their land in the 1700s, which of course was not really their land since they came to Canada to settle from France. And in the not so distant past, they lived in a political atmosphere which pushed English linguistic and cultural assimilation.

Then, there is the cultural religion in which I was born into, Catholicism: a religion built on a celibate patriarchy, and founded on the belief that God can save us from out innate sins.

So, based on my DNA, these are the thoughts that are spinning around in the back of my mind:

  • “I don’t belong here.”
  • “My language, culture, and personhood are not worthy.”
  • “Men have all the power in our society, so as a woman I am less worthy.”
  • “I am a sinner.”

Then, there are the ideas I have surely absorbed from living in Korea for the last twelve years: bbali-bbali (fast-fast) lifestyle; high stakes competitions; materialism; or most of all, body shame.

So now that I’m aware of what I’m contending with, I can make a choice. But the choice to not succumb to brainwashing will be difficult without mind-training. Guru Jagat ends her talk with the idea that this type of training empowers us to choose happiness. It helps us sift through our conditioned thoughts and choose another path. It is my hope that the more I practice, the more I’ll able to choose self-acceptance…

…because for me, self-acceptance is happiness. – click to tweet

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