A few weeks ago, I talked with someone who had it all figured out. For every topic, she seemed to have a flow chart ready in her mind, rattling off the lists and the flows. It was impressive and slightly disturbing at the same time, especially as I could see myself so clearly in her…. as this blog itself is evidence for:
Something is alive for me in immediate awareness, often outside of thoughts, but then quickly gets channeled into sorting and mapping and figuring it all out, creating a sense of control and safety that way.
But is it really all that safe to have it all figured out?
If I get caught up the creations of my own thoughts, I am blinded by it. I won’t so easily see what is outside of the terrain it maps out, including the truth in the many reversals of the initial stories. Also, if I take it all as real and true, it tends to clash with the world as it shows up on its own, which then trigger reactive emotions. I identify with and get caught up in these reactive emotions since I identified with the belief triggering them in the first place, and this only blind me further.
So in the sense of the safety of this human self, getting all fascinated by how the mind can figure things out is not necessarily safe. It may illuminate some things, but it certainly blinds me as well.
Also, does having it all figured out mean I don’t have to experience fear?
When I tell myself I have it all figured out, it seems that everything is under control. I don’t have to experience fear anymore. But it is still there, I am only distracting attention away from it.
And having it all figured out in itself creates fear. I am afraid that I got it wrong, and know somewhere I inevitably did. I am afraid life will show up differently from my neatly worked out map, which it, again, inevitably will. So both before and when my map falls apart, there is fear. And then there is the stress of having to try to keep it all together, even as it falls apart.
Having it figured out may look appealing, especially to the world of thought, and especially in our culture which places so much emphasis on it and trust in it.
But when I look at it a little more closely, I see that it can easily blind me, and it does not help avoid having to experience fear or anything else I would rather not experience.
Initial draft with more details…
A few weeks ago, I talked with someone who had it all figured out. For every topic, she seemed to have a flow chart ready in her mind, rattling off the lists and the flows. It was impressive and slightly disturbing at the same time, especially as I could see myself so clearly in her.
(…as this blog, and even this post, is evidence for. Most of what is here comes from immediate seeing, or that is at least the intention. But it then gets channeled into sorting and figuring and mapping it all out, having it all under control. )
For our everyday life, we need to figure things out to a certain extent. It has practical value and helps us to orient, navigate, explore and function in the world.
But figuring things out can also be a way to deal with fear. A way to give ourselves the impression that we have it all under control. In exploring beliefs for myself, it seems that any belief is actually just that: a way of dealing with fear, and a way to avoid fully experiencing fear.
There seems to be a cyclic dynamic here where fear is often created by beliefs, and this fear then fuels the impulse to maintain and prop up beliefs.
Having it all figured out only works to a certain extent. We talk ourselves into believing we have it figured out, and then that this means we have it (life) under control. Neither of which are all that true. By adding beliefs, we avoid fully experiencing the fear that may be there, and in addition, we need to defend our beliefs. Both require a good deal of work and attention, and can be quite exhausting.
Beliefs also have their blind spots, which is the truth in their reversals. And beliefs trigger reactive emotions. Neither of which makes us, even in a conventional sense, much safer. In a conventional sense, they actually put us at risk since we are blind to a truth that is there, and gets us caught up in emotions which tends to blind us further.
By inquiring into beliefs and seeing what is more true for us than the initial belief, the stories are freed from being taken as more than innocent questions about the world. Our views are more fluid, and we can more easily see the grain of truth in each reversal of any story. And we are also freed from being stuck with any particular identity, so there is more of a flow among identities as the situation calls for it.
And by being with whatever experiences are there, including fear, emotions triggered by the belief, and resistance to being with it, these are revealed as something different from how they appeared when they were resisted. (When there was an identification with this resistance, when it was taken as “I”.) The monster no longer is a monster.
The more stories are recognized as stories, the more there is receptivity of mind. And the more emotions are allowed, the less need to have it all figured out, including through creating beliefs. (Which includes the belief that figuring it out creates safety for us.)