We love excuses! This behavior is a personal and social inborn inflection. Why do we do it? Perhaps it is caused by conditioning factors of the mind such as ego, fear, or other behavioral factors that originate in a mind-made environment. Is it that easy to explain why we choose excuses over facts or reality? This explanation does not make anything easier, nor do excuses make our existence any simpler.
The number of excuses that can be used in daily activities is endless. Let us first look at a specific example to help obtain a clearer state of awareness. An excuse can be made in an attempt to avoid something. In Addition, the mind has become a true master of deception and will offer a person many reasons “why” we should not do something.
An excuse is often associated with conditioned anxiety or fear caused by a past experience or mind inflected thoughts of a future situation that will probably never happen. The mind is conditioned to react in this way, primarily through adolescent experiences. What would be an example of a childhood situation that causes conditioning? You are in the 7th grade. There is a test on Monday and you did not learn the test material.
What do you do? You mysteriously have stomach pains or a headache; either on Sunday evening or early Monday morning. Oh, the mind tells you, you can not go to school because you are sick. Your mother or father may not have been convinced by this excuse but the mind deemed it to be valid. A conditioned habit or pattern has been established as a result of this behavior and you will probably use it throughout your adult experiences.
Excuses are nurtured and influenced by a conditioned mind. The Sanskrit word “saṅkhāra” is used in Buddhism and can be defined as “conditioned” or “composite”. This is in reference to the result of something that happens due to cause and conditioning. The example above illustrates this accurately. It would be logical to say that everything you experience, on the level of mind, is based on cause and conditioning. This is expressed in Buddhism as “Samskrtadharma”. Roughly translated this means a state of cause and conditioning in all things according to the teachings of Buddha.
Excuses: A Contaminated Mind
A mind that is influenced by cause and conditioning will likely offer you a path consisting of excuses. This is our dilemma. Therefore how do we experience an existence free of excuse-making? Furthermore, how do we experience conscious enlightenment if all things are contaminated by the mind, cause and conditioning?
The Buddha was considered to have an uncontaminated mind. This state of being was probably also true for other enlightened individuals such as Jesus or Lao Tzu. A first step on this path is to go beyond congenital behavior. This can be done by allowing your self (the self that observes) to reunite with the one self that is always there beyond the mind.
P.S. The link from Wikipedia offers information on Buddhism teachings in reference to saṅkhāra. The Eckhart Tolle clip shares insight about recognizing and changing patterns of excessive thinking.