When does something become a routine and when does this routine become a behavioral pattern? This happens when a way of acting recurs in a situation. This can be a reaction to a person, a thing or even our own mind. Operant conditioning is the cause of this behavior. It is similar to classical conditioning but not the same.
The psychologist B.F. Skinner did extensive work in this area of human conditioning. Furthermore, he suggested that free will is an illusion. It is, therefore, related to this article because we seek enlightenment, balance and harmony within our relationship with life. However, this is only possible when we can differentiate between free will and a behavioral pattern that restricts the flow of life energy. This restriction blocks the expansion of consciousness.
Consequently, it is your conscious observation (not mind reaction) to a situation that will decide whether you experience clarity or a repetitive pattern of confusion. This suggests that you are responsible for choosing to exist in a state of enlightenment. A routine can contaminate, manipulate and restrict the enlightenment available within presence.
How to Stop a Behavioral Pattern
How detrimental is this type of behavioral pattern to our free will? Let’s use an example to illustrate. You experience something for the first time. Henceforth, you do it again and again; perhaps because it is expected of you. However, you hear a tiny voice inside tell you that this is not good for you. This next step is decisive in establishing whether you will remain in a fixed pattern of conditioned behavior or not. This will either become a conditioned experience or you awaken to this developed pattern and initiate change.
How can conscious awakening benefit you during daily activities? It will allow you to clearly witness what it is that you have continued to do and truly realize that you don’t like it. Likewise, this offers you the opportunity to make a decision. It involves asking these questions. Do I wish to continue this repetitive pattern; although it is not ultimately benefiting me? Furthermore, what is needed to allow a change to occur?