Seeking escape

 

When there is a belief in a story, there is automatically escape from experience as well. Whenever there is friction between our stories of what is and what should be, there is discomfort, and a seeking to avoid that discomfort… by changing our stories of what is, what should be, or changing our attention to something else. And when this is done to escape the tension, there is a sense of compulsiveness to it, avoidance, and discomfort.

There are, at least, three ways for this to change.

The most crude one is to repeat this over and over until there is an exhaustion of this pattern. If we pay attention, and repeat it often enough, we see that it really doesn’t work, and the pattern may wear out and fall away.

Another is to explore being with whatever comes up, to actively go against the pattern and see what happens. What is the difference between trying to escape an experience, and going into it, fully being with it, allowing it, in a wholehearted and heartfelt way?

And yet another is to inquire into the pattern, to explore it more thoroughly through inquiry, learn about it in its many aspects and flavors, for instance using The Work or the Big Mind process.

In most cases, there is probably a combination of each of these three, and probably other ones as well. There is a wearing out of the pattern, from seeing over and over that it really does not work. There is an inevitably being with of whatever is, even accidentally, and a noticing of the shift that happens. And there is an exploration of the dynamics of the pattern itself, a familiarity with it.

From my Zen days, I see that sitting practice, probably just about any sitting practice when done enough, includes each of those three.

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