The layers of our mind, body and spirit build up continually throughout our lives, weaved of our daily experience. Every time we laugh, every time we feel joy, do well, help another or nurture our relationships a layer is placed, the greater the joy, the thicker the layer. Our layers have been placed to protect us, defend us, help us gain acceptance or move us toward some perceived goal. Layers are also placed every time we are hurt, every time we are manipulated or intimidated, lied to, abandoned or deceived, and every time we discredit ourselves through self defacing acts. This normally occurs when we are the ones doing any of the later mentioned above.

The buildup of these layers is largely unavoidable as much of the deposit occurs at the cellular, some may say spiritual level. The thickest layers are laid during our formative childhood, yet experience and genetics can add much to the wonderfully ornate matrix. It is most important to understand, as is the intent of this article, that we have the ultimate control over the placement, removal and management of these layers, especially if you come to find that some are leading you to uncomfortably dark tunnels, hurting those closest to you or holding your true potential at bay.

Eventually layers manifest themselves in physical or mental characteristics. The more you exercise the stronger you become, the more you read or meditate the more enlightened you become, the more you interact, the stronger your social skills become. The more you are deceived, the more shielded you become, the more you try to gain acceptance, the more you accept the layers of others, the more ….(you enter your own special circumstance here), the thicker the layers become. Like a gently falling snow, inches turn into feet.

Layers, as with anything, can be good, bad, or any shade in between depending on your particular life experience and perspective. Yours are a mixture of conscious experience and barely perceptible sensitivities, they are uniquely you.

With each stimulation of our hippocampus, each release of dopamine, or energy spike, a microscopic layer of memory is laid to memorialize the event, and the results of our reaction to it.

These layers become who we are, influencing our actions, reactions and urges, and ultimately how we impact others, in mind, in body and in spirit. Our individual perceptions of our true being are dependent on our awareness of our layers. Sounds easy but the problem is that few of us are actually even aware of these deposits. Can you see all the trees in your forest?

This understanding will allow you to examine your layers so you can build on the positive ones, better manage the ones that give you that special edge, and remove the ones you have come to detest. Do not think that I am sending you on a demon hunt or advocating some manner self sacrifice, this is not about guilt, this is about freedom, understanding, strength and a tomorrow that is a little better than yesterday.

This leads us to our insight on the deeper process of deposit and more importantly the journey that must be followed to peel off the unwanted layers, once you consciously agree that something is clouding your true being. Let’s start with a simple examination of one of the most common cause of built up layers in our lives, food. You will hopefully note that the same process discussed here is at the root of most of our layers.

Eating food stimulates many things in our life. At the most basic level, it provides assurance that we will live another day, drawing on just the right nutrients to satisfy the needs of our body. Miraculously the cells in our body go to work on each bite of food we take, looking for all the needed pieces, just as if they were building a fortress. These cellular workers add the acid to breakdown that piece of food just right or a few white blood cells to take care of that unwanted bacteria. A little vitamin D from that bite will be taken to the bones, and the salt is just right for our fluid balance and nerve conduction needs. Just enough carbohydrates to throw into the furnace, the rest they will store for colder days. Our bodies and minds unite to operate as a perfect machine, making split second, imperceptible decisions for our well being.

Our minds, consciously or subconsciously, influence our actions to select the next meal built off the experience of the last. This is no doubt how cooking our food came to be as the roasted meat and gristle has a more pleasing, stimulating taste, and why we eat fried chicken instead of fried skunk.

We now find that we have advanced to the point where food is no longer viewed simply as our next life giving meal; it has transcended its basic function and taken on a whole new social and entertainment value, which in its self produces reactions within the body and mind that are pleasurable, oh so satisfying, and potentially addicting, in some cases having nothing to do with the food itself. Much of our social world is built around food. Bagels at meetings, our next date at the most impressive restaurant, chomping down the biggest portion we can possibly get our picture taken with, new colorful, benefit promising packaging, or the urge for the latest advertised food like product, all move food into a new social playground. The layer is added to our being and our waistline.

I am not trying to delve into an examination of addiction here as I believe it is a well known concept, which unfortunately is not well understood. When, as a society, our primary treatments for anything are pills and hypnosis, it is a clear sign that we do not understand something, and perhaps this is another layer of its own. More so an explanation of the difficulty we may run into when we try to confront troublesome layers. If we do not embrace how they were laid, the paint we use to cover them will eventually fade.

The miracles of modern science sure have produced some very effective means of fixing the particular thing that ails you physically or mentally. Yet as the lengthy disclaimers attest to, the unanticipated effects are not well understood. What is understood, and very well by the way, is our own ability to cast off even our deepest, darkest, unwanted layers. It is the most effective solution to discard the unwanted baggage of your life and allow your positive, untarnished layers to rise to the surface.

The first step is obviously to identify the layers and what people or events helped form them, hopefully before the negative ones totally consume you. Do not be discouraged if you feel they already have, for they too can be cast off, it takes a little more work on your part, no magic pills or miracles here, but they can be shed. Now it is time to do some deep soul searching, and for this you may need an outside tour guide to help you through your personal discovery. You can start this journey simply enough, working through questionnaires or checklists and making entries in journals, perhaps a relaxing massage and some meditation to help your mind find the answers it seeks.

As you continue to do these activities on a regular basis you will be preparing yourself for the deeper questions, and the more important answers. Answers that at first you may not understand nor even hear, until you are sufficiently along in your journey and ready to hear them. Each answer will unfold at the correct time, allowing yet another layer to fall off, to be replaced with a more enlightened one. Eventually these answers will resonate beyond your mind, moving throughout the cellular structure of your body to align with the energy of your spirit. In closing, regardless of where you are in your current journey, you are in control, you’re OK.