Inquiries, Shamata & Vipassana

In continuing to use the Byron Katie inquires, I am struck by the insights that naturally comes from the process.

Some of the many insights that come alive for me:

  • Believing in a thought (any thought) creates a sense of separation, something to defend, and suffering whenever Existence happens to unfold in a way that is not aligned with the belief.
  • Believing in a thought brings my focus and attention to a layer of abstractions and everything triggered by the belief (habitual thoughts, emotions, behaviors), which makes me less receptive to what is really happening in the present.
  • Believing in a thought often kicks up enough dust to cover what is behind it: clarity, pure awareness, and effortless and responsive compassion and insights.
  • It gives me a direct and immediate experience of the difference between being blindly caught up in and exclusively identified with the content, what is experienced – and of finding myself as spacious clarity, as capacity for whatever arises.
  • Whatever arises in me, including any judgment and “should”, is the most precise and valuable advice for myself. If I apply it outward, it brings confusion and suffering. If I apply it to myself, it brings a sense of wholeness and coming home.

All the six steps of the process then becomes another form of vipassana, or insight mediation:

(1) Notice symptoms of believing in a thought (contraction, stress). (2) Identify the belief. (3) Is it true? Can you absolutely know it is true. (4) What are the consequences of believing it? (5) Who or what would you be without the thought? (6) Turn the initial sentence around – to your self, its opposite etc. How is each of these new sentences as or more true than the original?

And all of this brings me home to myself as the experiences, as capacity for the world – as that which is unchanging and is a context for all experiences. It allows me to familiarize myself with this, and rest in and as it – while still being every bit as active in the world as before. This is a form of shamata, or calm abiding.

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