Looking at knots is one way to show how psychology and spirituality are intertwined.
A knot is any hangup we have, and is a belief and its corresponding emotions and behavioral patterns.
It is usually experienced as stressful, as something being off, and gives a sense of separation. And it gives a sense of I and Other (which is what gives rise to the stress and a sense of something being off and separation), and distracts us from seeing what we really are.
So from the context of taking ourselves as this human self, it is uncomfortable and disatisfactory. And from the context of Big Mind, it distracts Big Mind from noticing itself.
A knot comes from an identification with a story, so we can work with it through releasing identification.
For instance, we can be with the experience of it, allowing it fully, in a wholehearted way. We allow whatever content of awareness, including the resistance to whatever comes up, so there is a release from identification with content in general.
We can explore the different voices or subpersonalities involved, and see that there is no “I” in any of them.
Or we can inquire into the belief itself and find the truth in each of its reversals, which released exclusive identification with any of them – the initial story and its reversals.
Disidentification with the knot complex allows us to find more peace with it at our human level, through seeing it more clearly – finding what is more true for us than our initial belief, and fully feeling whatever comes up in our experiences without getting caught up in resistance. And it also makes it easier for Big Mind to notice itself.
We can also work more actively with owning, at our human level, what is left out from the initial belief and identity.
Through Voice Dialog, or the Big Mind process, we can shift into whatever voices are disowned by the initial belief and identity. We can try it on, see how the world looks from that perspective, explore what the voice offers to our human self, how it would be to bring it into our life more, and so on. We can also explore our human self’s relationship to the voice, and how that relationship can shift to allow the voice in more.
And the same can happen through Process Work, and by bringing the turnarounds of The Work into our daily life.
Owning disowned parts of our human self makes it easier, and more fun, to be who we take ourselves to be. And when what we are awakens to itself, it allows this awakening to be expressed through our human self in a richer and more fluid way. In either case, there is a new richness and fluidity there, a wider terrain that is expressed fluidly in the daily life of this human self. It is more fully and richly human.
Actively owning disowned parts also allows for a shift of identification out of our human self. On the one hand, we are more free to shift into the different voices and actively use them in our daily life. And on the other hand, it releases identification out of our human self in general. Which, as before, makes it easier for Big Mind to notice itself.
These are just a couple of ways working on who and what we are are intertwined, and one invites and encourages the other, using just a few approaches as examples.
We can also bring in the soul level, this alive presence which is timeless yet also within time, spaceless yet also within space, impersonal yet also personal, rich and substantial yet also simple and emptiness itself. When we shift into, become more familiar with, and find ourselves as this alive presence, it allows our human self to reorganize within itself. Our human self heals, matures, finds itself more in the fullness of itself. And it shifts identification out of our human self, which makes it easier for Big Mind to notice itself.
Shifting into our soul level brings a sense of richness, fullness, nurturing, trust, and of being home, which helps our human self to relax, and again shift identification out of it. We are less caught up in the usual beliefs, identities, fears, hopes and so on of our human self.
So let’s say I have a hangup around illness. I am sick and have a belief that I shouldn’t be.
Since there is a clash between my stories of what is and should be, I experience stress. I am frustrated, there is a sense of something being off, of life not treating me right, maybe of being a victim. I experience distress in many ways.
And since my identification already is within the realm experiences (content of awareness), there is inevitably an identification with resistance to experiences. I am identified with some content of awareness, and see other parts of the content as Other. There is a sense of split, which in itself is uncomfortable. I am caught up in the struggle.
This brings discomfort at my human level, and kicks up enough dust so Big Mind is not able to recognize itself very easily.
So I can be with all of these experiences. I can allow them all, as they are. I can be with them in a wholehearted and heartfelt way. This releases identification out of content, including with the resistance. It may still be there, as a habitual pattern, but I am not caught up in it. I don’t see resistance as “I” and what is resisted as “Other”. It is all part of the field of content of awareness, and there is less – or no – sense of an I and Other within this field.
I can explore the different voices involved, for instance of health and disease, and maybe idealist and realist, and see how each contributes to this human self. They each have a role to play. I can explore what they each ask of my human self, and how my human self relates to each of them. I may find a new appreciation for illness, at least to the point of not seeing it as an enemy anymore.
I can explore my beliefs around it, through The Work, and discover the effects of my beliefs, and the truth in its reversals. Again, I may find a new appreciation for life as it shows up, including illness, and also for the unique gifts of illness.
The owning part may be less clear for this than many other examples. With anger for instance, it is very clear how shifting into and owning anger, at my human level, benefits my human self, and is appropriate in daily life.
Yet it is not so different for illness. Before, I may have seen illness as an enemy, as an Other. It was difficult to bring it into the terrain of identities I was comfortable with. (Maybe either pushing it away, or rigidly identifying with it.)
If I actively own illness, as one of many ways life shows up in this human self, and one of many identities this human self can shift into, it is different. I find more peace with it. It becomes just a part of the wider landscape. I don’t take it as so personal anymore. It is just a shared human experience. Shared by all life. And I can more easily notice, express and live the gifts in illness when that visitor comes along.
For instance, I can see how it humbles me, makes me a part of humanity, helps me understand something about how others may experience illness, find a new empathy. I can also use its symptoms as any ally. Instead of fighting fatigue, I can notice how it helps me relax and give up pretense. It can help me be more fully myself in different situations, because I have less energy for living up to ideals, norms and expectations.