When I do inquiry, I see that whatever thought I am looking at, it’s universal. I imagine the same thought held as true by my parents, my brother, my wider culture, perhaps even most of humanity. I see it’s transmitted to me through my parents, my brother, my peers, media.
And it’s adopted by me in a very innocent way. It’s what others seem to do – taking this thought as true – so I do the same. In my innocence, I do it to fit in. Others seems to know something I don’t. It may help me somehow. I think it may help me find acceptance, approval, love, safety.
The belief is personal, since it’s happening here and operates in this life, and it’s impersonal to the extent it’s shared by larger groups of people. Some beliefs may be particular to my culture. And it’s underlying and more basic beliefs may be very ancient and shared by most of humanity.
It can be quite helpful to recognize this. What’s here is not just mine. It’s shared by my family, my culture, and perhaps most of humanity. It’s transmitted through the generations. I am doing the work not only for myself, but for my family, those around me, those who come after me, even for all of my ancestors who suffered through holding onto a particular thought as true.
And as with any thought, this one – about generational suffering and dynamics – can be stressful if held as absolutely true.
It’s generational suffering.
Is it true? No.
What happens, how do I react, when I take it as true? I feel it’s true. It becomes solid in my mind. It feels heavy. It becomes large in my mind, overwhelming. If it has been transmitted to me by so many generations, how can I expect it to end with me? I feel a responsibility of having it end with me, and it feels heavy. I think I may not be up to the task. I may transmit it to future generations, and be responsible for their suffering. I may fail in ending it here.
Who would I be without that thought? I work on what’s here, free of stressful thoughts of it being ancient, of being responsible for stopping it here. I work on it more innocently. With joy, curiosity, interest. I feel more connected.
Can you find turnarounds? TA to self: I am generational suffering. When I have the thought of generational suffering, and take it as true, I am generational suffering. I feel the burden of my image of generational suffering. I experience the suffering of that thought. TA to opposite: It’s not generational suffering. I don’t know. It’s just a thought, an image. TA to opposite: It’s immediacy suffering. Yes, that’s more true. It’s here and now. Whatever my images of it, the suffering and the dynamics around the beliefs, happen here and now. I may have images of it being generational, or not, and it’s really just here and now.