Here is an example of ways to relate to a specific thought…
One of the things our culture (sometimes) teaches us is not OK is to be stupid. We are trained by our culture to see it as undesirable. To create and defend an identity that (as much as possible) leaves out stupidity. And to react a certain way if that identity is threatened.
So say there is the thought that I am not very smart.
What do I find when I explore this thought and the dynamics around it?
1. What happens if I defend against the thought?
There is stress. Tension. Defensiveness. I prop up and defend an identity for myself that excludes not smart. I may perceive it as an attack, and attack back. I make the thought wrong, and its (apparent) source wrong as well. It is uncomfortable.
(This helps me recognize the dynamics around defending against a thought.)
2. Then, can I find how it is true for me?
I can find the truth in it in several different ways.
Humans in general are not all that smart. We are still in a very early phase of our evolution. There is a lot of things we don’t understand about this universe and planet, and even something as simple as living our lives in a more enjoyable way. Even the smartest among us is not very smart compared to the knowledge (about the universe) and the insights (about ourselves) that is possible. We can only imagine what would be possible, and it seems endless, dwarfing absolutely anything we have come up with so far.
And I specifically am not that smart either, in many areas of life. I make mistakes. I don’t know all that much about most topics. Even for the topics I know most about, I know very little compared to many others. Also, whenever I believe a thought, I am not very smart. I ignore what is already more true for me.
I can also find more specific examples here. There is a lot about politics I don’t know, and the same is the case for history, psychology, spirituality and other areas I am interested in. I forget things. I make assumptions that later turned out to be wrong. (Taking time to remember specific instances of each.)
(This helps me recognize that I don’t need to defend against the story. There is a truth in it for all of us. And there is a truth in it for me specifically. I can go into specific examples in my own life. I see it. Feel it. And take time with it.)
3. Can I find the truths in its reversals?
I am smart.
That is true as well. In a conventional sense, I am smart in different ways. I am relatively good at drawing. I have some understanding of photography and sometimes take good photos. I know something about politics, maybe a little over average. I am familiar with some areas of psychology and spirituality, again possibly more than average. I have relatively good relationships with the people around me, which reflects a certain way of being smart.
(This helps balance the picture, finding the limited truth in both ends of the “smartness” polarity and some freedom within the whole topic.)
What happens when I find the truths in it in this way?
In this case, there is a sense of recognition and some deepening. I have explored this particular belief at different times in the past so it is relatively familiar to me. There is not much identity around this left to defend.
With other thoughts, the terrain may be less familiar and there is a noticeable shift. Initially, there may be some defensiveness. I may still be identified with a (false) identity excluding what the story points to.
Then, as I find how it is true for me, there is a shift into a sense of wholeness and fullness. I see and feel how it is true, and as identification is released out of the initial identity, there is a sense of myself in more of my wholeness. And there is also more of a sense of us, of all of us being in the same boat here, of shared humanity.
Following that shift, there is often a natural appreciation and gratitude for both the quality itself – which I can now embrace as part of who I am – and for the thought that invited me to see just that.
What appeared as a problem, and something to defend an identity against, is revealed as an invitation for finding what is already true for me. It is a gift.
I find what is more true for me than the initial belief. I find myself, as a human being, as more than my initial limited identity. (The one created to leave something apparently undesirable out.) And I find a sense of us here, of shared humanity.