Whenever there is a belief in a story, it creates a knot.
The belief prevents us from seeing the truth in the reversals of the initial story, it creates a sense of friction or discrepancy between life as it is and as it should be, and it creates a wide range of emotions which all have fear as their kernel (fear of not having what we want, and of having what we don’t want).
All of this forms a metaphorical knot which binds our views into rigid patterns, closes our hearts down to whatever does not conform to what should be (including situations, other people, and ourselves), creates blind emotions and reactivity, and habitual behavior patterns fueled by the beliefs and corresponding emotions.
And when there is a knot, attention tends to go there. Life shows up in ways that do not correspond to the should created by the beliefs, so attention goes to the discrepancy. Or something in us is uneasy about the discrepancy or even potential discrepancy, so attention goes there even in the absence of an obvious (current) clash.
At the pragmatic level, we see that attention going to a discrepancy between what is and should be is very helpful. It helps us figure out how to deal with the situation, either by modifying our strategies for making what is closer to how it should be, or by modifying our stories of what is or what should be. If we take ourselves as an object in the world, dependent on certain circumstances in the wider world, this is very useful. Even if we don’t, it is still useful at a practical human (individual and species) level.
Swinging to the other extreme, we can say that all is God, so if something is seen as not God (not good), then God naturally brings attention there so that too can be seen/felt/loved as God (and good).
Or we can say that there is a discrepancy between what we are and what we take ourselves to be, and something in us knows or intuits this discrepancy, so brings attention to the cause of this discrepancy. We are the field of awareness and its content, absent of an I with an Other. And we take ourselves to be what stories tells us we are, such as an object in the world. So attention goes to those beliefs, with an invitation for us to explore those beliefs more thoroughly… including their effects, and what is already more true for us.
In either case, attention going to knots is similar to a trail of bread crumbs, showing us the way home.
If there is resistance to what is, we’ll get lost in the drama it creates and not notice or being able to follow the trail. If there is a release from (identification with) resistance, there is clarity enough to notice and being led by the trail.
Attention goes to knots as flies to decomposing fruit, and there are many ways of talking about it…
First, knots here means beliefs and their effects, which temporarily clouds up for Ground to notice itself, or we can say, for awareness to notice itself as awareness, and its content as awareness too. Whenever there is a belief, we identify with content of awareness, and don’t so easily realize that we are awareness and that content of awareness is no other than awareness itself. We take ourselves to be an object in the world, and this creates a sense of I and Other. The field of awake void and form is split into I here, as this segment of the field, and Other there, as the wider world.
So, here are some of the ways of talking about why attention is naturally and inevitably drawn to knots…
- Everything lives its own life, including stories and emotions, and they just want to be seen, felt and loved. When there is a belief in a particular story, the truth in its reversals is ignored, and this truth wants to be seen/felt/loved. Also, when there is a belief in a particular story, there is friction between this story and how life shows up (or can show up), which creates certain emotions (with fear at their core), and these emotions also wants to be seen/felt/loved, as they are. Attention naturally goes to the issue, with an invitation to be with the emotions in a heartfelt way, and to see the truth in the reversals of the initial story. And attention will continue to go there until this happens. It may seem cruel as long as there is (identification with) resistance to it, but it is the most precious and loving invitation and gift.
- There is a discrepancy between what we are (awake void and form, absent of an I with an Other), and what we take ourselves to be (a separate self, created by taking stories as ultimately real and true). This discrepancy brings friction and discomfort, a sense of something being off (which it is), so attention naturally goes there, to the core of this gap which is created by beliefs. Attention goes to the belief which creates this gap, a sense of a separate self, and a sense of separation with the wider world, life, and Existence itself. Our Being, which is all of this – the awake void and whatever form arises, including a belief in stories -brings attention to the beliefs which creates this discrepancy, which is an invitation to explore what is going on. What happens when I hold onto this story as absolutely true? Who am I without doing that? Who or what am I really, without going into the content of stories to give me the answer?
- Whenever there is a belief in a story, there is a discrepancy between what should be and what is (or can be), and this brings up emotions which all have fear as their kernel. And when there is fear, then attention goes right there. It is, among other things, an evolutionary smart thing to do. It happens on its own.
- Attention going to knots, to beliefs and their corresponding emotions, is a pointer back to noticing who and what we really am. It is a trail of bread crumbs, leading attention back to who we are, as human beings when there is an absence of beliefs, and also what we are, in immediate awareness, in the absence of beliefs. And this can only happen when identification with resistance is released. When we give up the fight with what is, including attention going particular places on its own.
Having written this, I see that each one are just variations on the same theme. There is a discrepancy between what we are and what we take ourselves to be, or between life as it shows up and as we tell ourselves it should be, and this brings attention right to the discrepancy, and to the beliefs creating this discrepancy and the corresponding emotions, which all have fear as their kernel.
Put another way, God is all there is, so when something is made into Other, there is a natural tendency for God to want to see/feel/love that too as itself, which is why attention goes there.
Attention going there is an invitation to explore what is already more true for us than the initial story. It is an invitation to notice what we already are in immediate awareness, without going into the content of stories for answers. Attention going to knots is, in a sense, leading us with a trail of bread crumbs back to our home, to what we already and always are.