During the conversation with Joel, the topic of hot buttons came up (the following is just my interpretation of it).
These buttons are really just beliefs in stories. Stories that seem real to us to various degrees. Some completely real, maybe apparently beyond any questioning. Others less real, although we are still acting as if we believe in them – which we clearly do.
They are there, waiting to be triggered by various circumstances.
An image that comes up for me is that of land mines. They are in the ground. The locations of some may be know to us and the location of others may not be known. And as we live our lives, various mines are triggered – some repeatedly.
Inquiry is one way to disarm these mines. One or more mines go off, we know their location, and they are disarmed. A situation does not match one or more beliefs, we take them to inquiry, and the charge goes out of them.
Buttons taking us out of awakening
In looking at my own life, I can see how these buttons can (apparently) even take us out of awakening.
I had what seemed to be a relatively deep and stable F6-F9 awakening in my teens and early twenties. But it was not complete, there was still a sense of accomplishment and arrogance there, there was still a vague sense of I. And even if I saw that clearly, and that those were symptoms of a not complete awakening, they still hang around. There was an Achilles heel there, and life knew exactly how to allow this to come to the forefront so I had little choice but to deal with it.
Last fall, the Ground popped into the foreground in an awakening to selflessness for some weeks, and here too a button got pushed (a habitual pattern which brought up self-consciousness) and the veil of “I” reemerged.
So even in an awakening, these buttons can be pushed and the veil of “I” can reemerge. And of course before any awakening, they are pushed as well.
And I can see the beauty of this, in how it invites me to explore and examine the mechanisms of Samsara in ever more detail.