Knots (beliefs, and their effects) show up in different ways…
- As something we are blindly identified with and defend in every way. We take it as an absolute truth, we see ourselves as completely justified in being contracted and acting on it.
- As something we are caught up in, yet recognize as a knot. There is some disidentification with it, some space, a little more of a sense of choice in how we relate to it and act on it.
- As something we know how to relate to when it arises, allowing the charge in it to be greatly reduced… for instance by fully allowing it (as much as we can). It still arises, it is there, but there is more space around it, even more of a sense of freedom in how we relate to it, and whether and how we act on it.
- As a ghost, a pale reflection of itself without much or any charge. The pattern may still come up (for instance the old story) but arising within clarity.
- And as nonexistent, something there is a complete release from. And maybe even with a new appreciation for exactly that which used to be a trigger for contraction.
When I explore old patterns using The Work, I see this process… Often, it starts with knowing intellectually that it is a knot, but still sometimes being in the grips of it. Then, some of the charge goes out and there is more of a sense of space around it, even if it still arises. Then, not much charge there at all, just a ghost of the pattern arising within clarity. The story free from a charge. Then, no charge and no pattern, only clarity, and even appreciation.
I am sitting on the deck right now working on the computer (on either side of writing this!), one of our neighbors is playing loud music, and I find myself not noticing, or when noticing at peace with it, and even appreciating it… his enjoyment of it, and me being exposed to music I wouldn’t normally be exposed to (oldies).
This is one of the situations where an old pattern used to come up for me: being annoyed, going into stories about how inconsiderate he is, why can’t he use headphones?, why can’t he turn it down? When I first started doing The Work on it, there was more of an intellectual shift around it, and this became more and more experiential and lived as I sat with what came up from that and similar inquiries, each one allowing me to see more clearly what was going on, and allow the truths of the turnarounds to sink in a little deeper.
At times, even early on in the process, there was an easy and effortless peace with it. Other times, even later one, and especially when I was worn down physically, old patterns got triggered again. But it has been quite a while now since anything got triggered by our neighbor playing loud music… apart from the transparent ghost of the story occasionally, and other times appreciation.
In this particular situation, I decided to work on myself instead of trying to change the external situation (the guy is retired, and his big love is fixing up old cars, so why not let him have that enjoyment). But in many others, it may be more appropriate to work both here with myself, investigation beliefs and finding some clarity, and also in the world, directly with the situation.
Also, as Byron Katie says, we can be enlightened to this thought, but maybe not to the next one. I can find complete release from a particular belief, and the stress that goes along with that belief, but there may still be other beliefs there, stories taken as more than just stories, relative truths, mere tools for orienting in the world.