Offering tools for working with beliefs directly

 

Vince has a good post on ways teachers and traditions sometimes speak about enlightenment, and what types of dynamics it may set up in the group.

The verbal level is of course important, partly because it sets up maps people use to navigate by.

Yet, something else is as important: The tools we are given. First, to have an immediate taste of what we are. Then, to work with beliefs and stories directly, no matter what they are about.

The tools I am familiar with here are the ones I have written about many times before.

Some tools for inviting in a taste of enlightenment include headless experiments and the Big Mind process. These give a taste of what we are and ways to explore it for ourselves, although obviously not with the same clarity as a full blown awakening. Doing this can be helpful in letting go of some of the more exotic ideas about enlightenment. What we are is something that is quite simple, available to be noticed here now, and not really out there in others or the future.

And there are also good tools available to help us unravel beliefs and stories about enlightenment, teachers or anything else. The Work helps us explore the effects of beliefs, and find what is already more true for us. And exploring the sense fields helps us see thought as thought, and how an overlay of thought on each of the sense fields create gestalts. It also helps us find ourselves as what we are, outside of what any story tells us.

At least for me, having and using these tools – with some sincerity – is far more important than any models, mainly because they first help me explore the terrain for myself, and then because they help me unravel beliefs and attachments to any story and identity.

Also, any model can become a belief, an identification with a story. So it is helpful to work with any model we are presented with – or come up with on our own – in this way, no matter how accurate it appears to be. In a conventional sense, some models are more accurate, meaning they have more practical value. But really, all models are equally far away from what they appear to be about.

I also see that I personally prefer practices aligned with awakening, but with an emphasis on the practical and day to day aspects of it. So in that sense, I would be more in the “no need to talk about it too much” camp. (Although I obviously explore it quite a bit here, but that is on my own.)

Initial draft…

It is of course helpful to notice which approach a group take to it at the verbal level. Yet, people will have beliefs about enlightenment and anything else anyway, until they don’t, so the tools offered to help people work with these are far more important.

What I have found helpful for myself is first to have a taste of what awakening is about here now, and then to work directly with beliefs and stories directly.

Some simple ways of having a taste of enlightenment are headless experiments and the Big Mind process. These give a taste of what it is about, and ways to explore it for oneself, although obviously not with the same clarity as a full blown awakening. And doing this can be helpful in letting go of some of the more exotic ideas about enlightenment. What we are is something that is quite simple, available to be noticed here now, and not really out there in others or the future.

And there are also good tools available to help us unravel beliefs and stories about enlightenment, teachers or anything else. The Work helps us explore the effects of beliefs, and find what is already more true for us. Many other approaches to working with projections are also very helpful. And exploring the sense fields helps us see thought as thought, and how an overlay of thought on each of the sense fields create gestalts. It also helps us find ourselves as what we are, outside of what any story tells us.

So it is of course helpful to talk about the aims of practice, including enlightenment if that is one of them. (Personally, I find approaches that are aligned with awakening, but emphasize the more practical and day to day life, more interesting.) And it can be good to help people form maps for themselves that are relatively close to the terrain, as much as any map can be. But far more important is to give people the tools to have a taste of what they are, here now, and also to work directly with beliefs and stories of any type.

Really, in terms of ways of talking about the aims of practice, who am I to say which one is most skillful?

I can for instance easily find where giving people free rein to develop the most bizarre ideas quite skillful, because it helps them bring out their projections more fully so they have easier access to working with them. If they have the tools to work with it, and do it with some sincerity, this can be a very quick path.

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