Parents are your biggest influencers as they are the reason behind your existence, identity, and genesis. While you were growing as a child and your brain was in its development, your parents were the first to tell you what is right and wrong, introducing you slowly to your family, culture, religion, and beliefs. The learnings given to you by your parents became the foundation of your belief system and came to you from the experiences of both themselves and their forefathers. This layer is the strongest, as it influences your thoughts and actions throughout your life. Peeling this layer is a tough job and requires a flexible mindset. A mindset which continues to challenge all that comes to it as information, unless that information is converted to direct experience. Do you need to peel this layer completely? Well, in your subtle journey back to your core, none of the layers have to be peeled completely –rather, you have to use them to refine your experiences of life and convert information to direct experiences.
Religion is an influencing layer which is again passed on by your parents or guardians. This influencing layer has come to you from a belief system based on some manuscripts, mythology, and certain practices laid out by age-old systems. These practices are so strong that not only do they define how and what you should think, but they also define the way you should act. Right and wrong have been so strongly defined that if you break any of the rules you are immediately considered to be an outcast . Your mind is conditioned so strongly to believe religious information that you start judging other people and their behaviors based on their beliefs, which creates further bias in your thoughts and actions. Do all living creatures on this planet and beyond have religion?
Extended family influences you as you grow up. You meet people beyond your parents and guardians and you are then influenced by their thoughts and actions. You learn from the information provided by them about their life and experiences. Your siblings, cousins, grandparents, and other near relations are a part of your initial life and have a great influence on you. Some characters in your extended family have so much influence on you that you imitate their behavior and start to idealize them. Do not ever forget that you are unique in your own self and there is no need to imitate anyone.
Friends come into your life by choice and thus happen to be another strong influencing layer. Friends bring into your life information based on the experiences of other families, religions, and beliefs. Based on your liking and acceptance of that information, you get close to them and, at times, are so influenced by them that you challenge the information fed into your belief system by your parents, religion, and family. However impressed or influenced you may be by your friend’s belief system though, it would again be an indirect experience for you.
Education is self-acquired external information. Humans have continuously evolved over the last six million years, and in every age and generation the human mind has explored life and experiences to bring out learnings in every field. These learnings have been documented and are considered established facts, and these facts have played a very large role in human evolution – in the way humans live today and how they respond to their life and experiences. These age-old learnings have also evolved with time and served to the new generation as education. You believe what you see, hear, touch, smell, taste and relate that data with acquired information to establish a fact (relative truth). This further strengthens our belief in our education. You have learned that the Arctic region is very cold, but have you experienced it? This is just information and all the education you have received shall remain information until it passes through the test of your direct experience to be converted to knowledge. One’s own perception is always relevant when any experience is converted to fact and established as a document to be studied by others.
Society is a pool of a variety of ideas, cultures, religions, and belief systems, and full of varied experiences. When you move in society you come across different people and their thoughts. These thoughts and related experiences have, over a period of time, established certain belief systems for specific societies which influence your thoughts and actions too. Society at large influences the way you behave and act. For example, the behavior of a person living in the US who travels far east is influenced and automatically changes to suit eastern society, and vice versa.
The Internet has been the biggest influencer of today’s times, bridging the gap between societies and people across the globe. Free access to the inflow and outflow of data on the Internet has led to unimaginable volumes of information. How much information is really necessary for you? Technology disruptions and advancements have reduced the distances between people and places yet increased the distances between people and their own selves. Today you have all the information you require in the palm of your hand, but do you really have the knowledge of it all? In the US people spend an average of three and a half hours on their mobile devices each day. So much time spent just playing with data and information. If you spend so much time with technology, you are bound to get seriously influenced by the information it feeds you. Imagine how indirect influencers are adding multiple layers on your core... isn’t it food for thought?
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