Learning Human Design: Deconditioning and the Not-Self

I’ve been pushing Human Design out of my life ever since I heard its words. Design? Humans by design?? Get out of town. Naturally, I kept being magnetized back toward its complex yet so deeply true to me teachings, and thus, I’ve begun my HD journey.

What is Human Design?

A system of knowing ones self channeled by Ra Uru Hu in the late 80’s, Human Design combines disciplines that range widely from quantum physics, astrology, the i ching, kaballah, the chakra system, and much more. There are many layers to HD, as I’ll call it, but the key thing to note about this huge system is that we don’t discover anything new when we delve into its intricacies. We’re coming back to ourselves.

It’s key as well to note that its channeler, Ra, was very resistant to working with HD and being apart of any new movement - so resistant, in fact, that he all but destroyed the entire system and went off to the mountains for some hermit time! Within the span of 8 days, the information raced through his being, and to reckon with that kind of uncontrolability takes a heaping amount of self work. Thankfully, one of his old student saved their chart and we were able to piece together HD again, though some pieces of the originally channeled HD system are now lost for good, a mystery that makes HD all the more intriguing.

Human Design uses the birth date to calculate a chart that, at first glance, looks quite daunting. I’ve pulled up a chart here that I generated to see if typical astrological concepts could translate to the study of Human Design, but I found that things are just slightly more complicated than that. We’ll use this chart to discuss two of the most important aspects to understand when beginning to learn about Human Design as you are if you are reading this post - you are beginning a journey, even if your curiosity only last you a few minutes! This could, however, span a lifetime of rediscovery and intentional living, so moving forward, lets talk about the principles of the Not-Self and process of Deconditioning through an HD lens.

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What is the Not-Self?

We’ve all had that moment when, in hindsight, we know we shouldn’t have said that thing, gone that way, or been that way. We feel a tinge of guilt, seeding shame in our Selves - in our cells - then carry on with our life with the intention of doing better next time. All the while, we’ve failed to sense a deeper, more rooted and overarching sense of who we are that led us to making that misstep in the first place!

The Not-Self is the self we are when we are unaligned and living unconsciously, simply put. This is who we largely find ourselves to be most often before diving into self actualization work, whether through the HD system, or astrology, or mindfulness, whatever suits your fancy. Human Design is no end-all-be-all of a system, but it is a damn well practical and helpful system if I’ve ever seen one, and that’s coming from an astrologer of ten whopping years!

We are in the Not-Self when we aren’t living by our design, as the HD system touts. There are a variety of aspects to HD that help us understand our design, but the largest and most important aspect when concerning living in the Not-Self or, rather, how we can live in our truest form of Self has to do with our energy centers.

Energy centers in HD are much like the chakra system, only rather than 7 energy centers, the HD system touts that the human has evolved to have 9 centers. From the top of the head to the root in the diagram pictured above, we have the Head, Ajna Throat, G-Center, Heart, Solar Plexus, Sacral, Spleen and the Root. The Sacral, for reference, is colored red in this diagram, and the Spleen brown. All colored triangles and squares in this chart are colored in because they are what Human Design calls “defined,” and all the white centers are called “undefined.” The undefined centers are precisely where the Not-Self comes in.

When a chakra is completely open to influence from the external realm - when you are untethered, in the case of this chart, by your Heart center, which is undefined - then you are open to the will and influence of another person or many people’s defined Heart centers. Likewise, your own defined centers will play and coexist with other people’s defined and undefined centers, and those who would find themselves more influenced over your energy may then find, if they are feeling particularly unconscious at the time, that their energy is drained, or their thoughts feel not their own, or they feel an indistinct but overwhelming pressure to perform in life. Thus makes up the catalyst of events to skew us all toward living in the Not-Self.

There is no blaming anyone - not yourself or your partner or your parents - for living in the Not-Self in Human Design. We all have our own design, with defined and undefined centers mingling and mixing with each other on the day to day. There is no hierarchy of definition, no way to pit a person in a corner for having all but one or two centers defined - no victimizing, only empowering. We empower ourselves with the knowledge we can gain from systems like HD, or astrology, or the tarot, but the difference between HD and some more traditional, not-so-new systems, is HD grants strategies, and pin points our inner authorities, gives us a manual to follow if it feels resonant, questions to ask ourselves when we sense we are out of alignment.

The Not-Self is a baseline that we have conditioned to believe is our foundation, but truly, all we must do to revert to our design is decondition, see how we can start to live more and more in alignment without a conscious thought anymore.

What is deconditioning?

To decondition is to, in essence, re-parent ourselves. Once we discover our design and the toolkit that Human Design provides us, to decondition is to use these tools in a conscious manner and start actively changing our lives to feel more in alignment. The deconditioning process takes approximately seven years of awareness as our entire body takes seven years of its cells to regenerate. Cellular memory is precisely where our conditioning is housed, it’s where our body turns to for our basic, blueprint functions, and it’s where the deepest conditions are housed.

From the young age of six, we have already been conditioned to live our Not-Self simply by sheer unconsciousness of our design. This is by no fault of our parents and caretakers as, for one, Human Design is not a prevalent system, and most parents do not know their child’s design and cannot help guide them towards living their highest and best through that lens. We also must consider societal influence, a huge factor in modern parenting. While HD has grown in popularity especially amongst parents for this precise reason, so as to aid their children in living their highest and best through gentle strategy, not imposing anything onto them but simply observing and being knowledgeable of their design - while this may all be the case, on a societal level, we are all taught a quite homogenized story of success, stories of love, stories of truth, that Human Design attempts to unravel quite successfully, in this author’s opinion.

When we decondition, we grow deeper and deeper into the awareness of our Selves that we knew intuitively as young children but have likely long forgotten. With the tools of Human Design and through other consciousness awakening tools like the tarot, or astrology, or yoga, or whatever tickles your fancy - we are garnering our unique understanding of what messaging for success works for us, and honoring what works for other people in congruence. We are more capable, with these tools, to fully see and recognize ourselves and, in turn, recognize others.

Where do I go from here?

Human Design fascinates me and destroys me at the same time; I am equally tantalized by its intricacy and defeated by how difficult it is for me to grasp. I can sense that so many people merely float the surface of this system before realizing it’s too complicated, and jet off without a passing thought.

From my studies, I’ve found that simply learning our Type and living by our Strategy is enough to get the wheels rolling and our curiosity peeked to want to learn a little more, then a little more, and then some. You can generate a chart for free at mybodygraph.com, then search what your chart denotes as your placements in YouTube. The exampl chart above, for instance, denotes this person is a Manifesting Generator with a 2/5 profile - sounds like jibberish, right? But there are so many free resources online that, if we allow, can each show us small glimpses into the diversity that is Human Design. I’m currently diving into a book written by the HD channel Ra Uru Hu, that I will absolutely mention again in an update to this post once I’ve delved further into its contents.

I want to leave you with this thought: just because something is said to reveal your “design,” and that puts you off, doesn’t mean there can’t be value found in that thing. Astrology, too, touts to be able to file you down on paper, revealing your unique self and how the cosmos interact with your energy field on a day to day basis. We entrust our will and being in the cards when we sling them, trusting that a-ha, this card of the day will tell me some wisdom, show me a mirror, that I would have otherwise not seen.

I leave you with the thought that all these systems are but mirrors for reflection, not ultimately who you are distilled through a system. We are complex beings of Light and Shadow, perfectly imperfect, inexplicably sublime. Trust your true knowings, your gut feelings, and take what works from Human Design and leave the rest. Until next time…