Influence -“The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.” (Google Definition)
The role of influence plays a big role in one’s life internally, externally and mainly throughout life. Whether it be your career choice, or your religious beliefs all generally influenced by parents and then further enhanced with similar exposure of it being the right thing to follow in society, is it not the case?
Coming from a typical Asian background father and mother wants their son or daughter to mainly go into the field of science, whether it be to become a doctor, a dentist, an optician or a pharmacist, and if it’s not any of that then you do accountancy, dealing with numbers. But do you honestly decide to pick a career out of sheer feeling or do you go with the influence of what parents and society think is the right thing to do, to secure a future you are unknown off?
John Locke, a famous philosopher stated In an “Essay concerning human understanding” (1689) that children were born as a “Tabula Rasa” (Latin: “scraped tablet”—i.e., “clean slate”). If this is true, then why did the original state of consciousness disappear? Children are bought up by parents, that provide the foundations of what the child will hold on to and carry on believing for the rest of their lives until they don’t experience it to be true for themselves it will remain a belief. Parents have lived life according to their understanding and beliefs, of course, so it’s normal to impart your own beliefs to your loved ones. Time after time the parents remind the children that they love them and direct them in directions of what they see as right and wrong thing to do according to societies need and want for security. They wish the best and want them to do better than they have done of course. The child applies the teaching and uses it in the real world, but the real world as they see it is completely different to the utopia the parents have shared about the world. Molding them the way they want them to be molded, influencing them to follow, values, beliefs of their generations of the past as well as their understanding of life on how they used to behave, with their parents. Parents have their own insecurities too about their child so to make sure the child doesn’t go astray they impart and make more disciplines and beliefs in the child’s life, which causes them to suppress more as they are growing up, are you aware of this?
The mind was blank and still remains as blank as ever when you start becoming more conscious of it day in day out until you come to the state of no-mind (See the First blog). When a mind is active it is easily influenced and manipulated, have you noticed the more a person knows the more they contradict themselves. Because whatever they have known is not their own knowledge really, it came from books and other people. Influence happens on a day to day basis, your mind influences you to act in certain ways in accordance to what and how you perceive society to be and how you THINK the society or people around you will think of you, according to your actions. So you constantly remain to be more aware, of how to represent yourself further, thinking of what to say, what not to say, being hesitant, living in fear. The more someone breaks your patterns of thinking you either change and become more conscious of it or you become more unconscious become stubborn and remain in your beliefs, the little box of defense you create.
Let’s say you have committed to something, for example going on a diet if you tell many people that you are going on a diet more likely to commit to it and remain consistent with it than you are when you haven’t told anyone, have you noticed, try it. Do you know why, because firstly its ego pleasing to tell everyone you are doing something for yourself and furthermore you aspire to be better, as fitness models influence you to be like them, with there progress videos and pictures it makes you question what you are doing with your life and then you think you need to act after that, influenced to aspire to be like someone else or do it for someone else if that’s the case. You tend to do everything for approval of others as your whole life you have been told to be the best you can do at life, which leads to eventually competition and further approval of others, whether it be in career or generally in life, you constantly try to create an identity to represent something, a way of living it has become, which further, of course, feeds your insecurities making you feel a bit better than before but never enough to be free of it.
To see what really influences you start becoming more and more aware, it will take time but more you are conscious of you and what you want to do, you will see the difference. To become more aware practice meditation, you have to meditate to break out of the pattern of not being influenced, you have to see it for yourself first. Experiment with it become more and more aware of your breathing every day, by and by you will be aware of your feelings and your actions also, it will start becoming less systematic and more conscious of what you actually do. You will be thinking, what kind of method is this, it sounds easy but when you try it you will realize how hard it really is to be aware of your breathe every moment. Normally people that you see as significant, whether it be your parents or your close friends will play a role in influencing you. So sometimes even if you don’t want to do something, you feel like you need to because consciously or unconsciously your mind, will start bringing up insecure scenarios about what the other person will think if you don’t remain consistent to how you have shown yourself previously. Learning on not to suppress what you really want to do is the first step when asked for something to do, I know it does sound wrong to go against parents or close friends but to know what you like and what you feel like doing you should be aware of first before you act. To go against how you feel is suppression. Suppression leads one to ungratefulness, which further leads to suffering and misery.
“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner” – Lao Tzu