Associations have incredible power and they are occurring in many areas of life. Ones relationships with: family, friends, lovers and professional relationships are all being affected by associations. As well as ones experience with the world and to material things.
Brands rely heavily on the power of associations to create familiarity and loyalty to their product. How valuable and sought-after something is, will often be the result of what is associated to the brand.
And this whole process of association is not only happening externally, it is also happening in our minds.
The Ego Mind
The way the ego mind filters everything, is through associations. I only have to mention an object for the ego mind to conjure up all kinds of associations and these associations may have very little to do with the object itself.
And one of the reasons our early childhood years are so important in how we function as adults, is due to the associations that were formed during this time. As they are the first experiences that one has, they become deeply rooted in our unconscious mind.
When the ego mind has been exposed to something for the first time; it begins to form associations around the experience. This could be through continued repetition or through a one of event that was traumatic or emotionally charged. From here the ego mind will see the associations as familiar and therefore safe.
When this process happens as a child, one doesn’t have the awareness or the ability yet to question what is happening. So this means that the associations that are formed during this time can become how their ego mind perceives everything.
Once these associations are formed, one doesn’t have to think about them and this means that they are likely to happen out of one’s awareness.
Now, depending on what these associations are and what they relate to; this could be beneficial or it could be detrimental to one’s life.
For example, when we are younger we form associations around many things and some of these can be classed as dangerous and some as harmless. This could be to do with: doors, hot water or with putting our hands in certain places.
The warnings and advice that our caregivers gave us around these aspects were important and meant that we didn’t have to constantly think about these things. These actions became natural and unconscious. And this then made our life a lot easier and allowed it to run a lot smoother.
If we had to constantly think about how to open a door or to not put our hand under hot water, it would not only take a lot longer; it could lead to a lot of unnecessary pain.
Above we can see that associations play an important role in ensuring that our lives run smoothly and without unnecessary problems. The challenges arise when these associations are not to our advantage and only lead to feeling disempowered.
We can have associations around: men and women, success, relationships, money, power, health, who we are, what we can do and can’t do, what we do and don’t deserve and many other things.
To the ego mind, all the associations it has formed will be the absolute truth and it will even have all the evidence to back this up. This is because the ego mind perceives reality based on these associations and if it is something that doesn’t correspond with these associations, it will go unnoticed or rationalized in some way.
If one is completely identified with their ego mind, it will be more or less impossible to see how these associations are defining one’s life. For until different associations have been formed, these associations will stay in place.
With our early years playing a massive role in how we perceive so much of our life; this is an incredibly important time. During these years, the associations that our mind formed were created out of our need to survive. And this means that they were beneficial at this time.
What creates the suffering latter on is that our childhood environments are not the absolute truth. They are just associations of what was going on in that environment. However, the ego mind works in polarities; so even though the childhood environment is just one example, it is interpreted as the way the whole world is. And this can work in so many other areas.
If ones mother or father were unpleasant or abusive in some way, then these associations could be how one perceives other men and world in the world. And these will also define how one behaves and how one interprets the behaviour of others.
How We See Ourselves
The ideas that we have about who we are and what we are capable of is typically a combination of different associations. These are not right or wrong, they are just what our ego mind has identified with. And ultimately we can change these associations and see ourselves however we chose.
This also means that we can change are associations of anything else, if it is not empowering us and leading to our true self expression.
What can stop one from seeing how these associations are at work, is through the identification to the ego mind. It could also mean that one has emotions and feelings that need to be processed and acknowledged first. As, if one is emotionally overwhelmed; it is unlikely that any observing will be done.
If this is the case, a therapist or a healer that allows one to go into their feelings will be required and once this is done to a certain level; a more cognitive approach could be enough. But the most important thing is that we follow our own true and do what is best for ourselves.
And once this weight has been lifted and our ability to observe is achieved; it will be a lot easier to change these associations.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.