As so much here, this is very simple and a repeat of previous posts. But it is something I keep noticing throughout the day, so why not write it down.
Fear comes up. There is resistance to that fear. Identification with that resistance fuels belief. And attention goes into the belief.
There is of course more to it.
The initial fear comes up because of friction between my beliefs of what should be and what is. Not wanting to experience that fear comes from beliefs about the fear. And it all serves to take attention away from the fear, and also the initial friction. It helps me avoid finding what is more honest for me than the initial belief. And I want to avoid that because of beliefs of what may happen if I do.
Someone says something to me. It doesn’t fit my desired self-image. Fear comes up. I have a story that fear is not OK, so I want to push it away. And I also don’t want to acknowledge the truth in what the other person is saying. So to solve both of those, I go into a story about the other person. Which helps me not acknowledge the truth in what he or she is saying, and also avoid noticing the fear.
Or in more detail: Someone says I am stupid. I have a story that I shouldn’t be stupid, that others won’t like me if they see me that way, and that I need others to like me. I also have a story that finding what is more honest for me than those stories is not good. Fear comes up. I have a story that fear is not good. So to deal with both the fear and the initial story friction, I instead make up stories about the other person. He is stupid. He is inconsiderate. He shouldn’t say that. Attention goes to those stories, and away from the fear and the initial story friction.
It is all innocent. It is all very understandable. And yet, it is good to notice.
This seems to be how beliefs are created in general. And it seems to come from that initial (exclusive) identification as an object within experience. An “I” as the doer or observer, or even the “me” as this human self.
The nice thing is that it can be noticed as it happens, in daily life.
I notice the symptoms of a belief (tension, trying to defend a position, a sense of separation, discomfort). Use this as a cue to allow experience as is. This helps take the charge out of the belief. And I can do a quick inquiry there and then, briefly notice the effects of the beliefs, who I would be without it, and the truths in its reversals. Or I can take it to inquiry later. In any case, this helps soften the hold on the story, and to not act as if the story is true. (Supported by knowing that if I do act as if it is true, I tend to regret it later.)
For instance, the fear may come up due to an initial belief. Not wanting to experience the fear comes from beliefs. And it all serves to take attention away from the fear.
This seems to be how beliefs are created in general. And it seems to come from that initial belief in an “I”. An “I” as exclusively content of experience, an object in a world of objects. An “I” as the doer or observer, fleshed out by the “me” as this human self.
This seems to be how beliefs are created in general. And it seems to come from that initial identification as an object within content of experience. An “I” that can be harmed by other objects. An “I” that won’t last, since we cannot help recognizing that all content of experience is transient.
I keep noticing this:
Fear comes up. There is resistance to that fear. It fuels a belief.
And the game of beliefs keeps unfolding: Identification with a position. Defense of that position. Stress because reality doesn’t quite match, and I know it. And so on.
Of course, this doesn’t (just) happen over time, but here now. The fear is here now. The resistance to it is here now. Identification with the resistance is here now. The belief is here now. Attention going to the belief is here now. The fueling of it is here now.
It is very simple. It can be noticed as it happens. And it is also much more complex.
Resistance comes up. There is identification with that resistance and the story behind it. And that is what fuels (further) beliefs.
So beliefs fuel beliefs.
First, there is identification with an “I” (a doer, observer) and a “me” (this human self), and the corresponding beliefs: “I am content of experience”, “I am this doer, this observer, this human self”. (“I am an object in the world”, “I am an I with an Other”).
Then, identification with resistance to experience, and corresponding beliefs: “I don’t want to experience this fear”.
And also background beliefs, fueling identification with that resistance: “I can get hurt”, “this is bad for me”, “I don’t want this”.
All of that fuels additional beliefs. Which in turn helps me not experience the fear, and perhaps what the fear is about. The additional beliefs, which are often on the surface and conscious, helps distract attention away from the fear, other uncomfortable experiences, and also beliefs fueling the discomfort.
Someone may say something that threatens my ideal self-image. Fear comes up. I resist the experience of that fear, maybe because I am in the habit of resisting fear, and also because the fear reminds me of what I am afraid of – to be seen in a way I don’t like. So instead of allowing the fear, and finding what is genuinely true in what is said, I go into beliefs, often about the other person: He or she is an idiot. They don’t know what they are talking about. They are just talking about themselves. Attention goes to those stories, and other stories supporting them, so it doesn’t have to go to the fear and what triggered the fear.
Why do I resist fear? Partly because I may have stories about fear itself: “Fear is bad”, “I shouldn’t experience fear”, “fear means….”. And partly, as mentioned above, because that fear reminds me of what I am afraid of, and I don’t want to be reminded of it: “They won’t like me”, “something terrible will happen”, “I can’t handle it”.
And why do I believe those stories? One answer is that I am trained to do so, by culture, parents and so on. And another answer is that I first believe in an “I”. As soon as there is identification with images and content of experience, there is identification with and as an image of “I”, and this “I” then has a lifespan and an “Other”, so fear naturally comes up. This I won’t last, because nothing within content of experience lasts, and we know that. And this “I” lives in a much larger and unpredictable wider world which impacts it in different ways, sometimes in ways it doesn’t like
Fortunately, it can be quite simple as well.
I notice identification with a viewpoint, and perhaps an impulse to defend or justify it. I can bring attention to the fear behind it. And allow experience as is, including experience of the fear, resistance to the fear, the impulse to attach to a particular viewpoint as true, and whatever else is going on.
By allowing experience, as is, the impulse to identify with and defend a viewpoint diffuses. The center of gravity shifts to that which already allows any and all experience, as is, and out of content of experience. Whatever happens in experience is still happening, including acting in the world guided by stories with as much wisdom and kindness is available to me, but these stories are now more easily recognized as just stories, temporary guides only with no inherent truth in them.
I can also identify and inquire into the beliefs behind the fear, the resistance to the fear, the beliefs it fuels and whatever other beliefs are there.
Finding what is more honest for me than the initial beliefs helps me allow experience as is. And allowing experience as is helps me find what is more honest for me than the initial beliefs.
- fear > belief
- can notice as it happens in daily life
- fear of experience > go into stories + make them appear true
- can make it more easy to notice
- stable attention
- explore sense fields
- inquire into beliefs
- allow experience as is
- can notice as it happens in daily life