From lead to gold. It’s a familiar analogy, but still useful. And it is a slight variation of a familiar theme of this blog, but I’ll still mention it.
When I resist emotions, they become lead. And when I allow them with kindness, they are gold. Resisting emotions, or any experience – such as sensations or images or gestalts such as pain – there is a battle. There is an image of an “I” opposed to the experience as an “it”, and there is a sense of the battle dragging me down. It becomes a weight on me. When I allow experience as is, with kindness, it is revealed as experience. Ephemeral. Insubstantial. I may even notice the quiet joy in experience itself. And there is also a sense of fullness, of coming home.
When I believe a story, it is lead. When I inquire into and clarify it, it is gold. Taking a story as true, it is inevitably at odds with (my stories about) reality, and there is stress, tension, a sense of having to defend the viewpoint of the story, a sense of being right, and all of that is tiring and a weight on me. Inquiring into the belief and finding what is more honest for me, there is relief, receptivity, kindness, perhaps even a measure of wisdom. What appeared as a problem – whether it was the topic of the belief, or the belief itself, is now revealed as a guide and support.
When I take the mental field as substantial and real, it is lead. When I recognize it as what it is, it is revealed as gold. Taking my own world of images as real and substantial, there is stress. I create an imagined world as overlay of the sense fields – sensations, sights, sounds, smell, taste – forget it is imaginary, and get weighed down by it. The images of I, the wider world, and their relationships, appear as real and substantial, and I experience those relationships as precarious, slightly uneasy, and at times tense. When recognized as my own world of images as it happens, the edge goes out of it. Now, it is all recognized as images, interpretations, questions about the world. Innocent. Insubstantial. Ephemeral. They are still very useful for orienting and navigating in the world, but I don’t need to scare myself by them. The images of I, me, the wider world, relationships, and a world beyond these images, are all images. Helpful, and an overlay of images.
Here is one way of exploring the sense fields: I bring attention to one sense field at a time, ending with the mental field, and notice what appears in each. Then, I close my eyes and notice the images of the body, the room, the building, the town or city, the country, the whole world. I open the eyes, and see if I can still notice these images as an overlay. When I imagine something or someone not here, can I notice it as an image? When I imagine a part of my body I cannot see, can I notice that as an image? What about the overlay of images on top of the visual field, can I notice those as imagined, as simply interpretations? What happens when they are taken as real? What happens when these images are noticed as images?
I find this especially useful when I get stressed about something. For instance, I may take a shower and notice I get stressed through thinking about a situation or person. I can then notice that those are simply images. There is an image of an “I”, a situation or person, and a relationship between those, and that is where the stress is created. I create my own stress through my own world of images. It may be useful to create these images, even right there in the shower, so I can process and find a way to relate to it differently. But there is no need to scare myself by taking these images as anything more than simply images. Even the image of a “real” world outside of the shower, or beyond the images, is simply an image. They are all very useful in a practical sense. What happens when I allow them to simply be useful in a practical sense, and leave it at that?
- from lead to gold
- resist=lead, allow w. kindness=gold
- belief=lead, inquiry/clarify=gold
- mental field
- substantial, real=lead, recognize as what is = gold
From lead to gold. It’s a tired, old analogy, but still useful. And it is a tiny variation of the familiar theme of this blog, but I’ll still mention it.
The images of I, me, the wider world, relationships, and a world beyond these images, are all images. Helpful, not substantial.
The images of I and the wider world exist in an uneasy and at times tense relationship, and taken as real and substantial, it creates stress.