Here's another important technique for deconditioning... "cease to cherish opinions". Thats an old zen saying and a damn good one.
For a long time, I interpreted that statement as "cease to have opinions". While that sounded very zen and transcendent... it also seemed like an impossible task. After all, having no opinions comes pretty close to having no thoughts. And as any good Buddhist will tell you... the brain makes thoughts the way eyes make tears or bone marrow makes blood. Its automatic... the very nature of the organ.
But lately Ive focused on the word "cherish" and find the admonishment now seems far more doable. We will have opinions... the trick is not to cherish them... not to hold onto them too strongly... not too wrap our identity in them.
I struggle, mightily, to do just this. Im full of strong opinions but have learned at least one valuable lesson- I dont trust them. Too many times Ive been burned. What seemed like wisdom, looked at a year later, is revealed as obvious bullshit.
Sometimes the wisdom-to-bullshit cycle is as short as one day. My solution: state my opinions as clearly and powerfully as possible and then let them go....
Im not afraid to contradict myself. And Ive come to value the phrases, "I dont know" and "I was wrong".
When it comes to breaking free of conditioned chains.. those two phrases are perhaps the most valuable tools of all.