Misdirection is one of the many wonderful analogies from the world of magic.
Any belief is misdirection.
I experience the world as if it is true. Any story filters the world and experience, and this experience – which naturally conforms with the belief – is taken as support for the belief. And since the filtering story is taken as true, I don’t even notice that and how it filters experience. I take the filtered experience as real, substantial, true and as support for my initial belief.
I believe the world is made up of objects. (Including however I see myself, as a human being, a doer, an observer). I filter experience as objects. I take that experience, those boundaries, as real, substantial and true. I experience myself as an object in a world full of objects. And that experience is taken as support for my initial belief. (Which most of the time is not even brought to awareness. It operates at the level of images, the first imaginary overlay on pure perception.)
I feel as if it is true. Any belief comes with reactive emotions, these emotions are associated with the belief, so when they come up, they become support for the story.
I believe the world should be just. It isn’t. (According to my stories about it.) I get upset. I tell myself I am justifiably upset because the world isn’t just. So when I later get upset, I take that as more evidence that the world should be just.
I think as if it is true. I find evidence for why the belief is true. I find supporting stories. I explain away or ignore contradicting stories. My whole world of stories seem to support the belief.
I believe I made a mistake. I find reasons why my choice was a mistake, and can always find more and supporting reasons. I dismiss what good came out of it, even if others point it out to me.
I live as if it is true. When I take a story as true, I live as if it is true. And when I live as if it is true, the world conforms. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, to the extent possible.
I believe people are generous. I am generous with them. And they are generous back. (Or reverse.)
I find others who agree it is true. There are always others who agree with my belief, and I will seek them out. Sometimes in person, and much more often in my mind. They become my allies.
I believe right-wing folks are loonies. I find others who agree. I seek these people out in life and – especially – in my mind. And take their views as support for my own belief.
In all of these ways, and many more, my beliefs become misdirection.
Attention is temporarily distracted into stories supporting the belief, and away from what is more honest for me.
It may appear unfortunate, and can certainly be experienced that way when we are caught up in it. But looking a little closer, it is revealed as a beautiful and perfect dynamic.
It is the only way that reality (God, the Divine Mind, Buddha Mind, Tao) can temporarily forget itself and take itself to be limited. It is the only way it can experience itself as an object in a world of objects, limit experience even further through the myriads of secondary beliefs, and take it all as real, substantial and true.
And through that temporary limiting of experience (which is really just an overlay, imagined, an illusion), a vast richness and diversity of experience is born. Each being is reality filtering the world in a unique way, and the way reality is filtered is in constant flux even for one being. What a beautiful way for reality to experience itself in its (imagined!) richness.
And the feedback built into all of this makes it even more beautiful. As soon as a story is taken as true, there is a gentle, persistent, kind feedback. There is a sense of inner conflict, discomfort, friction. And that is an invitation to notice the belief, investigate what happens when it is taken as true, and find what is (already) more honest for us.
There is nothing wrong in any of this. It is pure innocence. Pure joy. (Even when it is overlooked through temporarily getting caught up in the drama.) Pure curiosity.
- any belief = misdirection
- filter the world/experience as if it is true
- live as if it is true (also, self-fulfilling prophecies)
- feel as if it is true (emotions seem to support)
- belief > reactive emotions > take those emotions as a sign that the story is true (circular)
- find stories as if it is true / that agree it is true (supporting stories)
- find others who agree it is true
- a beautiful dynamic
- everything obliges as far as it can
- and then still the persistent, gentle feedback – inner conflict, discomfort, friction
- as an invitation to notice what is going on
- an invitation to notice beliefs, what happens when hold onto stories as true, and find what is more honest for us
- any belief = misdirection