There is a big difference between (a) attention released out of beliefs, and (b) thoughts released from being taken as true.
Attention released out of beliefs
When attention goes away from a specific belief in everyday life, it may be briefly released out of beliefs in general, although it may also go directly into another belief. The first may happen when enjoying sensual pleasures (sun, swimming, yoga, food, touch, sex), music or while reading or watching a movie. The second tends to happen when we are caught up in hectic thinking.
Attention may also go out of beliefs in general during an opening or awakening experience, or through practices such as sitting (shikantaza), labeling, prayer, or even practicing a more stable attention. Here too, as long as certain thoughts are taken as true, attention will eventually go back into these beliefs.
Thoughts released from being taken as true
Thoughts can also be released from being taken as true, and this seems to require a more intentional and finely grained inquiry, for instance through The Work or sense field explorations.
By investigating a belief surfacing in a specific situation, I get to see and feel – through simple, clear and real examples – that the thought is not true. There is nowhere the thought “this thought is true” can stick. Just as taking a thought as true is lived in view, emotions, body and life, a thought released from being taken as true invites a reorganization at the level of view, emotions, body and life.
My own experience
During the initial opening or awakening in my teens, attention was released out of beliefs in general. All – without exception – was revealed as Spirit. And I have noticed the same happening during sitting.
I also see that attention sometimes still gets caught in beliefs, and even if thoughts are recognized as thoughts and not true, there is still an emotional charge around some of them. They are taken as true at an emotional or energetic level.
And that’s where a more intentional and finely grained inquiry seems helpful, and perhaps why I am drawn to it.
There is a big difference between attention (temporarily) releasing out of beliefs, and specific thoughts finding release from being taken as true.