Behind the impulse to avoid an experience or thought

 

Some beliefs I notice behind an impulse to avoid

(a) the experience that’s here, for instance pain, discomfort, anger or sadness, or

(b) the thought that’s here, for instance images of the past or the future with beliefs attached to them.

– 0 –

Reality is unkind. Reality is unloving. 

Something terrible will happen if I open to this experience (this fear, discomfort, pain).

Something terrible will happen if I investigate this thought.

It’s easier to escape. It’s possible to escape.

I shouldn’t escape. I am a bad person if I escape.

– 0 –

It’s dangerous to open to this fear.

It’s dangerous to investigate the thoughts behind this fear.

– 0 –

What I am most afraid would happen if I open to this fear is….

It will be overwhelming. It won’t stop. I can’t handle it. It’s too uncomfortable.

What I am most afraid would happen if I investigate this thought (image, memory) is….

It will be overwhelming. It will be uncomfortable. I will see the thought is true. It will be worse than avoiding it.

– 0 –

Taking refuge in thoughts

One way I seem to avoid the experience or thought that’s here, is to take refuge in other thoughts.

For instance, sometimes I write about an insight on this blog rather than (a) opening to the discomfort, fear or pain that’s here, or (b) investigating the stressful thought that’s here.

It’s OK, of course. It’s quite universal.

At the same time, I notice I am drawn to exploring whatever beliefs may be behind it.

Some are listed above, and here are a few more:

It’s easier to take refuge in comfortable thoughts.

I need to understand. I need to have a map.

It’s easier with abstractions (than investigating what’s here).

Knowing about it is enough.

– 0 –

draft…..

I see how I sometimes take refuge in thoughts.

An experience – for instance pain or discomfort – is here, I have certain beliefs about that experience, so chose to take refuge in thoughts.

I realize I cannot know anything for certain about the future, so take refuge in either hopeful or fearful thoughts about the future, and sometimes take these as true.

A memory – an image – surfaces, I have certain beliefs about it, so I avoid opening to and taking a closer look at that image or thought.

draft….

It seems that any belief fuels and is fueled by an impulse to escape.

I believe a thought, so avoid looking at examples of how the turnarounds may be as or more true. I believe a certain experience is bad, so avoid opening to that experience.

I believe reality is unkind, so avoid opening to what’s here and instead take thoughts as true.

draft….

When I try to escape from the experience or thought that’s here, it’s uncomfortable.

And it’s all from beliefs. Here are some I find for myself:

Reality is unkind. Reality is unloving. 

Something terrible will happen if I open to this experience (this fear, discomfort, pain). Something terrible will happen if I investigate this thought.

It’s easier to escape. It’s possible to escape. I shouldn’t escape. I am a bad person if I escape.

What I am most afraid would happen if I open to this fear is….

It will be overwhelming. It won’t stop. I can’t handle it. It’s too uncomfortable.

What I am most afraid would happen if I investigate this thought (image, memory) is….

It will be overwhelming. It will be uncomfortable. I will see the thought is true. It will be worse than avoiding it.

When I have these beliefs, I try to escape my experience and I avoid investigating certain thoughts.

There is much more to explore here. For instance, it seems that any belief comes with an impulse to escape certain experiences and images/thoughts.

Many practices are designed to remedy this impulse to escape. (a) Shikantaza, “just sitting” is an experiment, an inquiry. What happens if I open to – or allow – this experience as it is? Is it true it’s not already allowed? What happens when I notice whatever is here is already allowed? How is it to open to this discomfort, this pain, this memory, this love, this joy? (b) Stability practice is a similar experiment, and also makes it easier for attention to stay with the sensations, the experience that’s here. (c) In everyday life, I can ask myself can I open to this experience? Is it true it’s not already allowed? (d) Sense field inquiry helps me see how images are placed on top of sensations, providing boundaries, a label, an interpretation and so on. And this helps me stay with the sensation aspect of any experience, whether thoughts label it pain, discomfort, tension or anything else. (e) And The Work is helpful for identifying and inquiring into any beliefs I have about reality, experience, or myself, any though that tells me I need to escape what’s here.

……….
……….
……….

– escape from experience
– escape from fear, into beliefs
– escape from what’s here, into thoughts taken as true – about what’s out there, past, future etc.
– all from beliefs
— reality is unkind, reality is unloving
— something terrible will happen if I allow this experience, this fear
— something terrible will happen if I investigate this thought
– many practices designed as a remedy for this
— shikantaza, being with experience, inquiry, the work etc.

–> belief in “I with an Other”, beliefs in what this mean (will die, can be hurt), fear, beliefs about this fear (dangerous to open to this fear, investigate the beliefs behind it), so go into further beliefs as a refuge, an attempt to take care of myself, find safety

 

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