Rev. Fr Paul Lelen Haokip
When we think of slavery, we are vividly reminded of the American Civil war (12th April 1861- 13th May 1865) and the emancipation of the blacks through the instrumentality of Abraham Lincoln. The blacks wanted to overthrow the programming they have received that ‘they are second class human beings due to their colour, education, civilization, physique, etc. That ‘second class human beings’ tag has been defeated to certain degree in the present time. Now, we cannot but expect a black (Negro) to be one of the prime persons in any game, film, or programme of international repute. Computer programming is the skill of writing useful, maintainable, and extensible source code that can be interpreted or compiled by a computing system to perform a meaningful task. In our lives too, we have been programmed by others, ourselves, environment, culture, society – positively and destructively too.
Childhood memories would confirm that you have been taught to think and accept something as good or bad because of the words of parents, elders or society. What have been taught to you is not entirely right or wrong; in fact, you needed guidance, as you were inexperienced. However, some of the programmings were faulty.
Shed Helmstetter, in his book ‘What to say when you talk to yourself’ views about “the extra weight of self-doubt and disbelief we carry with us.” We could walk the steps of life without those extra weight cast upon by others in the course of our life. Old habits, vices, self-doubt, regrets, fear to take risks, may be weights that is slowing down our journey of life. Many of the disbeliefs about ourselves we have has been induced by other’s words or deeds. The seed of distrust they sowed in our lives have become firm trees of self-doubt and disbelief. These trees need elimination at the earliest.
Every animal and plant type has its own way of feeding, breeding and sustenance of life. Your very self is controlled by your way of thinking. You undoubtedly become what you feed to your brain every day, every hour, every minute. What you feed is taken as real by your brain and the subconscious mind. The food you feed becomes a reality in life. Feed your brain with healthy and viable substance. Whatever you think or say to your brain becomes a certainty. Be careful not to feed untruth to your brain, else you will believe untruth as truth.
If you feed your brain with illusions, it will begin to believe so. You will soon be illusioned. If you feed your brain with reality and truth, it will stand by you in good times and bad times. You will stand for truth and strive to dislocate untruth. This is happening because of the feed you have given to your brain.
Fixing your brokenness:
All of us have been broken at some point of time. If you accept this fact, you are a normal human being. If you deny, you are either a super human being, a robot or an unrealistic being. Sometimes, we may think that being broken due to incidents, betrayal, financial crunch, family troubles, relationship irks, intellectual numbness, etc., are sign of weakness. No. They are normal and it happens to every normal human being. In Japan, when a dish or bowl is broken, the people fix it with golden colour glue to appear it as a design. This is to show that even brokenness can become a beauty, a design and a sign of attraction to the beholder. Try to make your brokenness a sign of strength and beauty. Sympathize and respect the brokenness of others too as you are in the same boat.
To completely re-programme yourself is almost impossible. However, you can clean the worms that have affected your mind-set and walk with a new thought-pattern to embark an original journey of life. Once you reach that stage of neo-programming yourself, you will be a new creation, a new world and a new person. The old will be gone and novelty will be your constant companion. You will begin to take good elements from every religion, individual, culture and incident to enrich your life. This is true globalization, in webbed with the world. There are plenty of good amidst the apparent bad.
Unlearning is learning:
Sometimes, you may think that acquiring new ideas is the only way of learning. I agree to a certain degree. However, I am convinced that unlearning some of the things you have learnt in life is a meaningful process of learning. This is the stage of maturity where you are able to pick out what is good and useful for you; discarding out those unhealthy and destructive elements you have learnt so far in life. This will lighten your burden and increase you pace. This is self-programming as against being-programmed by others. Until today, we believed others and their words. Now is the time to believe yourself, your true self that will not leave you even if others leave. It is better to be at home with your inmost beliefs than try pleasing others. You may pick up any pen from the store; however, if there is no writer to hold and use that pen, the pen will not realize its worth. Your life is in your hands, take it and rewrite your programme. Let you be the writer, architect and engineer of your life. This is learning to live. When you are crushed down in life, ask ‘who is programming me?’ Continue to write your programmes for your better today and tomorrow.