I notice how beliefs sometimes are hidden in the shadow of my conscious views. They may not fit my conscious view, they may seem old-fashioned or outlandish, they may seem completely contrary to my conscious views, so I overlook them, ignore them, or dismiss them as fodder for inquiry.
One long-standing, and embarrassing, issue for me is being annoyed when people eat noisily. Even as a kid, I had discomfort come up when people ate with open mouth and lots of sounds.
My conscious thoughts are that it is unsophisticated, disrespectful, uncivilized, and just plain gross. Yet, if there ever was much attachment to those thoughts, there is certainly not much anymore. They don’t seem to hold much truth or charge for me. But the reaction still comes up, so there must be other beliefs behind there somewhere, most likely hidden in the shadows of my conscious worldview.
So I can go in and connect with my experience in those situations, and invite beliefs to surface around it – in innocence, allowing anything to come up and be seen, independent of how outlandish or not me they appear.
What I find, to my surprise, are beliefs such as… People shouldn’t enjoy or take pleasure in their food. Eating is shameful. Body functions are shameful. Enjoying eating is indulgent (which is bad.)
In my conscious view, these are outrageous statements, coming from a puritan and twisted worldview. Yet at the same time, they seem to be alive and well in me, hidden in the dungeons of the mind. As long as they remain hidden and unquestioned, they also remain an active – and apparently mysterious – influence in my life.
Maybe it is not so surprising that they are there. I grew up in Western Europe, where these or similar beliefs are part of the culture and tradition. It may be centuries since they were much alive in the surface culture, openly expressed and accepted, but their ghosts are still around in different ways. Specifically, I can see traces of these views in my parent’s birth families. And as a kid, I most likely noticed them and took them to heart.
So eating is shameful, is it true?