Velcro = manipulation


Whenever I hold a story as true, there is manipulation of myself or others.

Sensations anywhere in the body are sometimes associated with imagination, and this lends the imagination a sense of substance, solidity and reality. It makes the imagination seem true to us. Our mind makes it seem true to itself. This is called velcro in the Living Inquiry terminology. (Velcro = Sensations + imagination.)

This velcro lends a sense of reality and charge to imagination. And this imagination may take the form of a perceived threat, a deficient or inflated self, a compulsion, or anything else. And this tends to leads to manipulation of myself or others.

I manipulate to avoid a perceived threat. To compensate for a deficient self. To uphold an inflated self. To act on a compulsion to fill a perceived hole. To avoid feeling certain sensations associated with a threat, deficient or inflated self, or compulsion.

More generally, my mind manipulates it’s own perception to fit it’s beliefs, and it manipulates it’s own actions to act as if these beliefs are real.

There is nothing inherently wrong here. It’s just the way the mind works. It’s innocent. And it creates suffering, which is why we are motivated to change it to the extent we see and realize what’s going on, and that there is an alternative.

The alternative is to (a) notice what’s going on, (b) be honest about it with ourselves and perhaps others, and (c) examine what’s going on – for instance through inquiry.

Note: Velcro here refers to the same as a belief, holding a story as real and true. And identification, identifying with the viewpoint of a story. And even “ego” as that words is sometimes used in spiritual circles.


Seeking love, and manipulation


When I seek love, acceptance, and appreciation (LAA as Byron Katie calls it), I become someone who manipulates.

I act in certain ways to manipulate others to give me what I want, or what I think I want.

I become nice, avoid conflict, say what I think they want to hear, so they’ll like me, love me, and appreciate me.

Looked at superficially, it doesn’t look so bad. What’s bad about being nice? About being nice to others so they are nice back?

And when I examine it more in detail, it looks quite ugly. I see the manipulation. When I do this, I use others to get what I want. It’s even violent.

That’s what inquiry is about, of course, looking at it more in detail. Seeing what’s actually and already there.

And when I see what’s already here, in more detail, it tends to change.

I can use the Living Inquiries to examine this.

What does it say about me? What person would act in this way?

I am unloved. I lack in love. I need love (from others). I am deficient.

Someone who is insecure. Still a child. Confused. Inauthentic.

Can I find the threat in having someone not like me, love me, appreciate me?

Can I find the threat in X? Conflict. Being authentic. Not acting so people will like me.

Can I find X? (Me, the one who is unloved, deficient, insecure, still a child, inauthentic.)

Can I find the command to X? Be nice. Be loved. Be appreciated. Be accepted.


Desperation & Trust


Natural rest and inquiry are both about noticing and allowing.

In natural rest, we notice what’s here and allow it to be as is. We may also notice that what’s here is already allowed (by life, mind), and shift into more consciously aligning with that allowing.

In inquiry, we ask simple questions (wordlessly or with words) to notice what’s already here, and arrive at a place of effortless noticing and allowing.

It’s not about manipulation or creating something new.

It may not seem very exciting. It may not seem to lead anywhere we are not already familiar with, and what we are familiar with may not be completely satisfying.

So why would we want to explore natural rest or inquiry? Why would we want to see what’s here, and find an allowing of it as is?

To arrive at this place we may need desperation or trust, or a combination of the two.

We may come to it from desperation after having tried a wide range of other approaches, usually of the manipulation kind, and see that they don’t really work. We may come from trust. Either trust in the facilitator and the approach, or that what’s here is OK or perhaps even what we want.

And that’s perhaps where readiness comes in. When we see that the manipulation game isn’t entirely satisfying, we are more ready for engaging in the noticing and allowing form of exploration. And similarly, when we find a deeper trust that what’s here is fundamentally OK as is, we may be more ready for noticing and allowing.


Struggling with guests: seeing them as stepping stones and tools only


To continue the guests analogy, and combine it with my experiences with the group yesterday…

We can see experiences as guests, coming and going on their own, living their own life.

And we can explore how we relate to these guests.

The ultimate hospitality is that of Ground, which already and always allows any experience. It is the nature of awareness to allow any content, and it already and always does that. There is no way for it to do anything else. Awareness inherently allows any guests, and their coming and going on their own time.

But when this host takes itself to be a guest, it forgets about itself as the ultimate host. There is now a sense of a separate I, an I with an Other, and there is inevitably a struggle with some or all of the guests, in different ways and with different intensities. We try to invite some and discourage others. When they arrive, we try to encourage some to stay and others to leave.

And we can also try to manipulate guests in different ways.

We can see them as stepping stones to something else, a tool for achieving a particular goal, something to transform into something else, something to transcend, something to dress up to make appear as different than what it is. In short, we don’t appreciate them for what they are, as they are. We want them to be different, or to be a tool for us to achieve something.

In our external life, manipulating guests this way seems cynical and even neurotic. And it is no less cynical and neurotic when we relate to our experiences this way.

It is all being caught up in manipulating what is, being caught up in the apparent solidity of I and Other, of seeing as solid the wanting of things to be different.

A simple example is suffering (life + a belief that it shouldn’t be that way). We can try to discourage it from entering. When it is there, we try to ignore it or make it go away. Or, if we see ourselves as a little more sophisticated (although we are not really), we can try to manipulate it in different ways. We can use it to develop compassion, to find peace with it, to allow beliefs and identities to fall away, to deepen into our humanity. We may not (overtly) try to make it go away, but we may also not be quite happy with it as it is. There is still a lack of appreciation for it as it is, for its own sake.

That appreciation for it as it is, for its own sake, comes when Ground notices itself as Ground. There is a recognition that this appreciation for any guest, for any content of experience independent of its particulars, is already and always there. It is only clouded up by the surface drama sometimes, created by a mistaken identification and a sense of I and Other.