This article is related to the article The World as a Mirror. I felt the subject of patterns deserves clarification, so here it is.

What is a pattern?

A pattern is a habit. It is a reaction, rather than a response to a situation. It is composed by the thoughts you have, the emotions you experience, and the behaviors you exhibit in connection to a certain situation or stimulus. 

How does a pattern come about?

Many times, a pattern is learned by imitation; you saw the reaction somewhere and were convinced it was an appropriate response. For the patterns formed during childhood, your conviction was very strong, because the pattern was usually put forth by an authority figure that you couldn’t question, like your parents, teachers and other caregivers.  After you learned it, it was stabilized by repetition until it became automatic and in most situations, unconscious. This is the moment at which you have lost control over your reaction. It starts to feel like you are doing or saying things that you don’t really want to do, but they get blurted out anyway.

Why and when a pattern should be released? 

If we talk about patterns that are beneficial to you, you shouldn’t be worried about releasing them. For instance, let’s say you are at a crosswalk; we are all used to stop when we see a red light, and walk or drive on green. This is a behavior that keeps us and those around us safe. We have practiced it extensively and it has become automatic. There’s nothing wrong with it, and it shouldn’t be changed. 

However, when a pattern becomes harmful to you or the ones around you, it is time to take a better look. If you discover that certain situations induce reactions that hurt you, emotionally or physically, it is time to let it go.

How does the release work? 

It is not always easy, at least in my experience. Usually, by acknowledging and learning to recognize when it occurs, we are able to put a dent in it; it may feel like, instead of going with what you were saying or doing all the way, you stop mid-sentence. Some patterns lose their steam after a few recognitions like this. Others require much more patience. But the purpose of this article is only to clarify what a pattern is; I am not a qualified healer of any kind and cannot offer further advice, other than, investigate yourself and ask for help when you need it; the field of psychology deals with this, and there are plenty of methods and help available. If, by any chance, you are an autodidact, I warmly recommend the Work of Byron Katie. It will help you know yourself, the one that you truly are, underneath all the learned patterns. It helped me tremendously. It will help you.

Why bother with the patterns anyway?

Because of what’s underneath. If you do all day long, all your life, only things that were taught to you, do you even know what is natural to you? Because, you see, when you have a reaction, it’s a learned reaction which you picked up someday, from someone. The natural “reaction” is not a reaction, it’s a response. This response is free of emotional baggage and it’s also appropriate to the situation. And it belongs to YOU. And in short, this is the whole deal with bothering with releasing patterns. Oh, and the psychological pain lessens, let’s not forget about that either.

After many years of inquiring into my own patterns, I came to see that compassion is my true nature. Underneath all the calluses of the ego, there was this unbelievably soft core of compassion, the part of me that could empathize and care. It had to go into hiding for a long time, and the hiding created a world of pain for me. The discovery that compassion is not weakness, but truth, and it is in each and every one of us… let’s just say it is life changing. 

I will clarify the concept of compassion in a further article.

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