I dreamt about a wolf which looked very real, but turned out to be a knitted wolf, made of yarn. This is another analogy similar to the traditional one of a snake being revealed as a rope.
In the beginning, it appears very real, as a vicious and dangerous animal of flesh and blood. Then, it is revealed as just a knitted animal, or a rope.
Some ways to explore the vicious animal…
- Being with whatever we are experiencing, in a wholehearted and heartfelt way. By doing this, which in my experience feels like a gentle and soft docking, the content of experience changes. When resisted, emotions for instance seem very real, solid, substantial, and clearly definable as fear, anger, grief, and so on. But when there is a soft docking and a heartfelt being with whatever is there, it changes, often into a sense of fullness and sweetness that is not easily definable. The bloodthirsty wolf is revealed as a cute knitted wolf.
- Labeling the sense fields, and differentiating them clearly in our own experience. In this way, we see what is there in each of them, and how they combine to create appearances of gestalts which are solid and real in themselves. For instance, when the components of fear are not differentiated, fear appears very much solid and real. But when it is clearly seen as just sensations and a story about these sensations, the gestalt becomes transparent, ephemeral and may even dissolve.
- Inquiry into beliefs is another way to get to know the vicious animal. When there is a friction between our stories about what is and what should be, it inevitably gives rise to various emotions such as fear, anger and so on, and if we try to squash (awareness of) it, then maybe depression. Again, the gestalt of beliefs and emotions seem very real, very substantial, in the beginning. But when we investigate the story, we see how attaching to it as true creates the gestalt, we see the clarity and spaciousness when there is no attachment to it, and also find the grain of truth in its reversals. All of this invites the attachment to the belief to release, revealing the wolf as only a knitted animal.
This dream image may have come up since I delved into some new layers of beliefs and fears before falling asleep last night, again seeing how they appear as real and dangerous when resisted, but are revealed as something quite different when there is a heartfelt being with of whatever is there.