Absence Of Energy Flow In Some Areas Of Life Breaking Free From Our Cultural Chains

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Breaking Free From Our Cultural Chains


There is a realm beyond the concept of wrong doing and right doing. I’ll see you there. When the soul sleeps in that grass, the world is too full to speak.

– Rumi

We often fear what is different. It’s easy to stick with what you know, especially when it comes to relationships. We tend to stick with groups of people who think, act and do things like us. We feel confident that this is where we belong. We can understand and be understood. Everything is easier when you are around people you know, however it can also be seriously limiting. When we know or think we know we close ourselves off from knowing anything else because we already know – there is no need to learn anything else to experience. We know and that is enough. We can stay as safe as we know in our comfort zone where there is no fear or uncertainty. Beliefs and rules of behavior are preordained—no independent thinking required.

However, a danger arises here – we must ask ourselves whether the world around us has shaped us so much that we have lost ourselves in the process.

Man rarely, if ever, succeeds in knowing his own culture accurately. It is true to say that this is how most of us live our lives. We are victims of our culture and most of us don’t even realize it. We are born into a national culture, and the problem with culture is that it’s impossible to know when you’re in it. You just can’t see it. Although your life is defined and shaped by your culture we are all like fish swimming in the sea – we are surrounded by the waters of our national culture, it is literally everywhere and so we take it for granted. We cannot see the absence of our cultural norms until we notice and perceive on a visual level that something is missing.

So what is culture?

Many people cite the work of Dutch psychologist Geert Hofstede, who called it “The Software of the Mind”, to inform many thinkers about culture. What culture encompasses are the commonly held traditions, values ​​and ways of behaving of a particular community. And this is not limited to our national culture, we live in layers of all cultures; Cultures within cultures. Our mental programs begin to develop in the family from childhood and are reinforced in our learning process in schools and in our work life in institutions. These mental programs also contain elements of our national and religious culture. Every human being in the world is a product of countless cultural influences. Culture literally influences how we think, feel and behave. We are what we are today because of our cultures. It is impossible to live outside of culture.

And not only that – culture is a dynamic phenomenon that is always around us. It is an ever-evolving ecosystem that is shaped by our interactions with others and by the set of structures, routines, rules, traditions, and norms that guide and constrain our behavior. We all participate in the evolution of our culture but how conscious are we when culture shapes our decisions and when we make independent choices? Does free choice actually exist?

As an executive coach working internationally, I have guided many transitioning executives from different cultures around the world through what we commonly call “culture shock”. I understand the concept and have coached many officers and their families through the emotional upheaval of leaving your home country and starting life in a new place. I know that limiting cultural beliefs do the same thing as limiting personal beliefs – they hold you back from reaching your potential. However, they are harder to find and more challenging to overcome because these cultural beliefs are shared beliefs that have been reinforced many times in our lives and are often recognized as unquestionable “truths” or “facts.” Many people refer to them as “the way life is” or “the way I am” and use them to excuse behavior. The good news is that cultural beliefs are merely self-imposed limitations that act as self-fulfilling prophecies and can be overcome by changing mental attitudes. The simple thing is that you can break free from your cultural chains.

Despite all this knowledge I was amazed at the level of “culture shock” myself and my family experienced when we moved across the continent. I have worked internationally, visited many times, know the stuff, read the literature, keep up to date with current research and therein lies my biggest problem. I thought I knew. I had unconscious expectations that I would make it through the transition without any problems – how delusional was I? I was completely ignorant of what I didn’t know (and acted as I did) and it’s hard to describe the visceral and emotional reactions that occur when you’re out on the edge of your experience and you’re probably feeling it for the first time. The world is not the place you thought it was. Not nearly so. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, nor did anyone else. It was like speaking a different language, I encountered many situations where there was no shared understanding and we struggled to find it.

My eyes were slightly opened to the diversity of the world and I was humbled as my experience expanded in unimaginable ways until I realized that life would never be the same again. I will never know for sure. I can see myself and my children breaking out of the chains of our culture and reinventing ourselves. My relationship with life has changed, a new energy has re-infused my curiosity; I’m less attached, more agile and eager to learn more about this amazing and diverse world of ours, excited to explore my ever-changing place in it.

And I think that’s a tension that we’re all living with at this point in our human evolution. We are evolving into a global community so rapidly that there is much we do not know. Yet many of us want to be seduced by the security of knowing, even if it is an illusion. We want to know. You need to know. We cling to the familiar when everything around us is calling us to find a new way, to emerge a new world order. We must all learn how to live in the unknown, how to manage complexity, and how to move forward when everything around us is uncertain. And in order for a new normal to emerge, we must break free from the normal.

The importance of breaking free from the common

When we look back at history, breaking free from our cultural beliefs is how we have evolved over the centuries. The cultural belief that a woman’s place is in the home oppressed half the population for centuries. Many cultures have long been oppressed by the cultural belief in the racial superiority of whites. We have broken the shackles of many of these false and limiting beliefs, and yet in all cultures we still live in many illusions, and it is up to us to decide which direction we want our lives to take, individually and collectively.

I have yet to meet anyone who is not interested in finding and fulfilling their potential. Overcoming self-imposed limitations unlocks your personal potential to do and be all that you can be. It increases your quality of life. It is the same with culture. Embracing racial and gender equality has opened up new directions for us as a culture and enriched many lives. When we rid ourselves of false impressions, we clear the path to truth and a clear resonance of spirit.

A culture is driven by its people, it is a collective mind. We, the people, have the ability to change direction and become more intentional in our collective cultural consciousness. We just need to get out. And we no longer need to travel to a different country to do this – diversity is all around us. All we need is an open mind; individually and collectively. We must be willing to change our beliefs, find where they may be flawed, and always seek the truth. It is a journey of evolution for each of us in our individual lives, and when we see ourselves as agents of change, it can contribute to the collective evolution of humanity.

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