Conditioned Action vs. Conscious Action
A big exploration in practice is seeing where we are acting from conditioned patterns, defenses, or motivations vs. genuine, conscious, inspired motivations.
From birth, we all discovered and developed behaviors that seem to keep us safe, get love, and really just ensure survival. This is not bad - those strategies helped us when we didn't have any other recourse or resource. They even draw on our natural gifts. It's just that they co-opt our natural gifts and over-use them as a defense.
We might have become the "giver" or "wall flower" or "blamer" or "victim" or "do-er" or "accommodator" or "partier", to name a few.
When these tendencies remain unconscious, they start to get in the way, especially in adulthood, middle-age, and aging. Our ego says "well, it worked then, let's keep going." But, we are cutting off from our inner-wisdom, intuition, and life force when we keep operating that way. This becomes very ungratifying and ultimately leads to feeling very disconnected from ourselves, others and our lives.
When we bring consciousness and awareness into our reality, those tendencies will be more and more revealed. Then every action can be a more honest reflection. Am I giving to get something? Am I staying in the background for fear of exposing myself? Am I blaming others in order not to take responsibility for my own pain? Am I demanding someone's time because I can't feel fulfilled alone? Am I complaining for attention? Am I keeping busy to get acknowledgment? Am I saying yes or no at the expense of my own well-being? Am I the life of the party so I don't have look at my pain?
This is nuanced. It's not that you can't give, or party, or complain, or be busy! It's not that easy :). Even partying or complaining can be unconditioned. You must ask and be answered - where is this action coming from? What is it motivated by? How do I feel when I think about doing it? Or not doing it? How do I feel afterward? Let that exploration reveal yourself.