Defense and fear


The more I explore beliefs, the clearer the basic pattern and dynamics become…

  • There is a belief in a story.
    • It is taken as somehow intrinsically true.
    • It is seen as reflecting something inherent in the world.
    • The grain of truth in its reversals are downplayed or ignored.
  • An identity is formed from this belief.
    • There is an identity as someone having that belief.
    • And the belief itself creates an identity. (E.g. if the belief is that “people shouldn’t lie” then an identity as someone not lying may be created from it.)
  • There is a split into I and Other
    • A split into right and wrong, true and false.
    • A split into a separate self and the wider world.
    • From this split comes a sense of separation, alienation, not being quite at home, unease, discomfort, and so on.
  • There is a need to defend this belief and its corresponding identity.
    • There is a need to maintain the appearance of truth in the belief, and to ignore the grain of truth in its reversals.
    • There is a need to behave in accordance with the identity formed by the belief.
  • Supporting beliefs are created.
    • A whole army of other beliefs is created and maintained to support and defend the initial belief.
    • These beliefs form a network of supporting beliefs
    • This network consist of groups that are relatively consistent among themselves, although they may not always be so consistent with beliefs in other belief groups. They don’t have to, since groups are often activated more or less separately from each other.
  • Fear comes up, from a sense of having to defend a belief, identity and separate self.
    • This fear provides motivation for maintaining and supporting the initial belief, and its supporting beliefs.
  • The body serves an important function with beliefs, in at least two ways.
    • It tenses up, and the breath often becomes more shallow.
    • It serves as a location in space for a sense of I, and the tense muscles provide sensations serving as this anchor.


What is a relative truth relative to?


Any story has only a relative truth. It has limited and temporary validity only, and there is also a grain of truth in each of its reversals.

And it is relative for several different reasons.

First, stories differentiate within the seamless whole of the world, which means that any segment only exists relative to something else. Here is relative to there. False relative to true. Life to death.

The appearance of anything distinct is dependent on, in contrast to, and relative to a boundary and something on the other side of the boundary.

Then, there is a grain of truth in each of the reversals of any story. The appearance of limited truth of any story happens when we recognize the grain of truth in its reversals as well. We recognize the relative relationship between the initial story and its reversals, and the grain of truth in each of them.

And if we ignore this, trying to put all truth into one story and remove truth from its reversals, then that appearance too is dependent on the relative relationship between the initial story and its reversals.

When I see the grain of truth in each of the reversals, I may find that I appear as a separate self, but when I look, I also find that this sense of separate self only comes from an image, a thought, and is not inherent in what arises. There is a grain of truth in both. Or, I lie, and I can find that in my life. Sometimes I lie blatantly, and even if I try to be honest, what comes out of my mouth is a lie because it is a limited truth.

Or, if I take I am honest as an absolute truth, then that truth can only appear because there is no truth in its reversal, I lie.

The appearance of a limited or absolute truth in any story is dependent on, in contrast to, and relative to, its reversals.

Also, any story has a grain of truth only as related to a set of other stories. It is dependent on a particular context of other stories to have even this grain of truth. And it is when we switch this context of other stories that we can see the grain of truth in its reversals.

I lie. Yes, I can find a set of stories that says that – in memories of times when I did, and even here now because any storytelling, any use of words, is really a lie. It leaves out a great deal, simplifies horribly independent of how complex it is, and splits the world when the world itself is not split.

I am honest. Yes, I can find that too, in another set of stories. Even if I blatantly lie in some situations, there are many other situations where I am quite honest. And here now, I try to use stories that honestly reflect my experiences, as much as possible. I try to be true to what appears as true to me here and now.

The appearance of truth in any story is dependent on, in contrast to, and relative to, a set of supporting stories.

And finally, a relative truth only exists because there is an absolute truth. It is dependent on, in contrast to, and relative to an absolute truth.

Relative truth is what arises filtered through stories, whether these are recognized as only stories or not. And the absolute is this field of awake void and form, recognized as awakeness itself. And in real life, both go together very well.

Awake void and form is inherently absent of and untouched by any stories, including the one of I and Other, whether it recognizes itself as awakeness or not. And the overlay of stories, whether taken as just stories or not, is essential for this human self to function in the world.

The appearance of a relative truth is dependent on, in contrast to, and relative to an absolute truth. And the relative truth arises due to, from and within the absolute, so is dependent on it that way too.

Relating to the world, on both sides of the split


When we relate to the world from within a sense of I-Other split, we relate to both sides (I and Other) the same way. We just can’t help it.

In short, it means that to the extent I am at peace with myself, with what I take as me, with this human self, the more at peace I am with the world. The more acceptance with this little guy, the more acceptance for others and the wider world. The more generosity with this rascal, the more generosity with life in general.

As with so much of the essentials of life, it is very simple.

And it seems fresh when I notice it anew, partly because everything is, even that which a thought may tell me is very similar or the same as a previous insight, and partly because it is always discovered in new ways, from new angles, with different filters, maybe a little more finely grained.


Priming the I-Other split


I notice how the sense of I and Other is triggered, and deepened, through life not matching beliefs (deep belief trigger an emotional reactivity which in turn trigger this split, even before any related beliefs are conscious).

And when this split is there, anything is fair game for supporting and deepening this split.

For instance, I rushed to catch a train, which triggered this split (human self-train, catch-not catch, others and situations helping-hindering, and so on). Then, even after I had catched the train, I noticed how there was a tendency to irritability, being on edge, a sense of separation, and even paranoia. People rustling with their newspaper triggered irritability, a guy behind me who talked with himself triggered paranoia, and so on.

There is of course nothing new here either. Something puts us on edge, and this makes us more prone to being even more on edge.

Something triggers a sense of an I-Other split, bringing it to surface. Due to this split being at the surface, we are on edge and other situations more easily trigger other patterns of beliefs and emotional reactivity. And this in turn tends to maintain and deepen this sense of a split.

Another situation I notice this is if I do a consentration/stability practice, and fall into seeing lack of consentration as an Other and undesireable. This too tends to trigger a general sense of irritability and being on edge. The practice, did in a less-than skillful way, triggered an I-Other split, and this in turn created the general sense of something being off, irritability, separation, and so on.

And it is a good thing too. It is a signal to me of what is happening, which helps me shift the way I am doing the practice to reduce the sense of split (or allowing it to fall away). The string is too tight, there is too much tension there, too much effort and trying. So by noticing the signs of that, I can shift into a more relaxed alertness, which in turns allows the tendensy to irritability etc. to be reduced or fall away.

If I don’t see what is happening, I am blindly caught up in it. If I notice what is happening, the symptoms – which initially were quite uncomfortable – becomes a precious gift and pointer.

Tension allowing for, and amplifying, beliefs


I find it very interesting how tension allows for, and amplifies, beliefs.

A sensation combined with a thought, allows for a belief.. a story taken as true… in several different ways.

  • It creates a sense of a center in space, located somewhere in this physical body.
  • This sense of center allows for a split of space, into I here and Other out there. I is now somewhere in/around this physical body, and Other is the rest of the world of form.
  • This split also allows for the appearance of “right” here (in what is now me) and “wrong” out there (in what is now life, the world, others)
    • And in addition to right/wrong, it allows for any polarity to be split, with one pole here and the other out there… male/female, good/bad, desirable/undesirable, and so on.
    • It also allows for the appearance of I as a thing, and no-thing (void) as Other, and even awareness as Other (something that is somehow possessed by this human self)
  • The sensation also gives a sense of base for action in the world (including resistance to experiences), which in turn supports a sense of an I here and Other there, and the appearance of a doer placed upon the doing

If an appropriate sensation is not available, the appropriate muscles tense up to make it available.

And if the sensation/story complex needs to be amplified, it can be done by tensing up further to amplify the sensation, and also by amplifying the story through additional supporting stories.

(Also, a sensation, when amplified by tension, creates a sense of density in space… a sense of something solid and substantial, which provides a more solid companion for the story, which in turn allows the story itself to appear as more solid, real and substantial.)

As I have mentioned before, it seems almost comical when seen… which is also why the whole appearance of a belief (and the content of the belief, such as a separate self) tends to fall apart when clearly seen in this way.

Mutuality of (physical) tension and beliefs


I am exploring an interesting mutuality of tension and beliefs…

Through The Work, I see how beliefs create tension… both mental and physical. Any belief brings a sense of something to protect (an apparent truth or identity), which in turn brings tension.

And through labeling practice, I see how sensations combine with stories to create the appearance of emotions, moods, and even a sense of separate self. If an appropriate sensation is not available for a particular story, the body tenses up to make it available. And if the sensation needs to be amplified, the body tenses up more right there, which in turn allows for an amplification of the story.

The sensation/story complex allows for a sense of a center in space (located somewhere in the body), which in turn allows for a split of space, with an I here and Other out there. All of which is essential for the existence of the belief.

So beliefs create tension… by creating a sense of something (a truth or an identity) to protect, which naturally brings tension.

And tension allows for the belief… by creating (and amplifying) sensations which the story can combine with. When sensation and story combine, it creates an appearance of a separate self, emotions and moods, all of which are essential for the appearance, and maintenance, of the belief.

Beliefs amplify tension, and tension amplify beliefs.


King Lindorm and the split


The fairy tale of King Lindorm is a good illustration of the unconscious to conscious wholeness sequence: unconscious wholeness > split > exploring and making conscious the polarity > embracing the polarity/conscious whole.

The most clear example is midway through the story where the two kings leave the castle (the familiar, ruling patterns and identities) for war, leaving the women to rise the child. The masculine explores and gets to know itself through war, active engagement with the wider world, and the feminine explores and gets to know itself through motherhood, through nurturing at home. The split, the separation of the two (separatio) is necessary for both sides to find space to explore themselves, and then their relationship.

So there is a (mostly) unconscious wholeness/unity, a split, an exploration of each pole of the polarity separate from the other, an exploration of the relationship between the two, and then a conscious wholeness.

This is a pattern that seems to run through this existence, at all levels, from Existence as a whole (differentiated into awake emptiness and form) to our lives as who (individuals) and what (Spirit) we are, and in every aspect of our lives – all of the many polarities of our lives.

It is also interesting to note that the conscious wholeness happens at two levels: first, by noticing the whole of the polarity which is always and already there, and then in the conscious way the poles of the polarity functions on their own and in relationship with each other. The first is always there, the second comes through the work of differentiation, exploration and clarification.