The mistake

 

There is a core mistake in most of our lives: We take stories as true, including the basic story of a separate I in whatever form it takes, for instance as a doer and observer.

And yet, that mistake is not a mistake. It has infinite causes. And it is part of the play of God, another way for God to explore and experience itself. How else would God experience itself as finite? How else would God experience drama, and being completely caught up in drama? How else would God experience the drama of seeking and eventually “finding” itself?

The initial mistake only appears as a real mistake when stories are taken as true….

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False identities

 

Whenever a story is taken as true, I take on a false identity.

At my human level, I have a range of identities including age, gender, occupation, and also how I am and what I like. All of these can be very helpful. They me us function in the world.

Yet, as soon as I take any of these identities as true, I (try to) limit who this human self is. Any identity excludes something else, and what is excluded is very often already here. This means that I need to spend time and energy on fleshing out, living within and defend the identity. Whenever I identify with an identity, it takes a lot of time and energy to keep it up, and it creates stress and tension as well.

And something similar happens at the level of what I am.

As soon as I take an identity as true, I am firmly identified as an object within the world of form. I take myself as within form, so all I see is form. And since stories are taken as true, I am distracted by them so it is not so easy for what I am to notice itself. I overlook the obvious: that which all form happens within and as, which is what I – already and always – am.

This is one of many examples of how the distance between psychology and spirituality can be very short. In this case, the only difference is in what type of identities we explore. In psychology, it is all the usual human identities. In spirituality, it is the identity of an I with an Other, an identity as an object within form, an identity with the story of I.

Through exploring false identities, I also find an appreciation for what they do.

At our human level, they portion out what we get familiar with in ourselves, taking it one step at a time instead of all at once. I have a limited identify for myself, so get to be more familiar with what is inside of that identity.Then, the identity may shift or expand and I get familiar with new territory. And so on.

And at the level of what we are, they make it all more interesting. It is a way for emptiness/awakeness to not only experience itself as form, but to identify as that form. Experience itself as limited. Live the drama of being an I with an other, a vulnerable object in a world of innumerable other objects. Temporarily, at least.

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The gifts of misidentification, suffering, friction and resistance

 

When we take ourselves to be a separate self, it is natural to want to avoid suffering and friction. And if we identify ourselves as a spiritual practitioner, at least in some traditions, we don’t like resistance and misidentification much either. In fact, our whole practice is often aimed at getting rid of it.

As long as we want to get rid of it, or anything, we are stuck in it. We are identified with content of awareness (resistance, beliefs), which is exactly what we were trying to escape.

And when we finally see this, really see and feel it, allowing even this identification to go, we are fine with all of it… which is also when it tends to fall away.

It is tricky. Wanting something to change is what traps us. And only by fully and wholeheartedly allowing it all can it change, but by then it doesn’t matter anymore. We are doing it for another reason… because we see we don’t have a choice, and because we want to be consciously more closely aligned with what is.

One of the ways to be more consciously aligned with what is, and to allow it all, even the suffering and resistance, is to explore it from the emptiness and form sides more in depth.

From the emptiness side, it is all OK. It is the temporary form play of emptiness. All forms are revealed as inherently neutral. Or as God manifesting and exploring itself, as God’s will.

From the form side, we can explore the genuine gifts of what we resists.

At one level, we see that suffering is an invitation to wake up. When we are not fully awake to who and what we are, there is suffering.

At another level, we see that the misidentification is a part of the play of God. It is God temporarily forgetting what it is, and exploring itself as some small realms of its form aspect (as a separate individual.) It is beautiful, a beautiful play and exploration, even when suffering comes up because of it.

And resistance is an inherent part of misidentification. When we take ourselves to be a separate self, as a region of the world of form, resistance is what allows it in the first place.

Also, resistance and misidentification is what allows for an exploration of parts of the form realm in more detail. It filters a lot out, so that some regions of form come into the foreground and there is a deeper and more intimate familiarity with it. It is part of God’s exploration of itself.

In a very real way, to resist any of this, or to put it down in any way, is to resist and put down God.