If reality is inherently neutral, the play of appearances, then that should be reflected at the level of our stories as well. Revealed when I inquire into stories about a particular situation.
And it really seems to be reflected there.
I have a story about a situation being undesirable, unfortunate, harmful, bad. It is my familiar story and I am identified with its viewpoint and the identities it creates. I feel that it is true because I believe the story. I find evidence to support it. I filter the world through that story, so whatever happens seems to confirm it. I take it as true, so perceive and act as if it is true.
Taking a story as true creates a knot, and that knot is created by supporting stories, reactive emotions, and actions that inevitably follows, and it also creates and fuels a sense of a separate self – locating myself in time and space with a boundary around and the wider world beyond. I condense my experience of myself into an object in the world, with infinitely many other objects around.
Yet, as soon as I am more honest with myself, as soon as I investigate that story in a helpful way and with sincerity, the knot softens and starts to unravel. I may see that all of the reversals of the initial story also has validity, I can find the genuine truth in each of them. Identification with the initial viewpoint softens and may release out of it.
As I continue to investigate these stories and viewpoints, uncovering specific and genuine examples of how each one has validity, I may even come to recognize how the stories neutralize each other. My initial story said that the situation was unfortunate and harmful. Yet, I also find how the situation is genuinely liberating and supporting from another – equally valid – viewpoint.
It can be denial if I switch one belief for another, if I try to exchange my initial story as true for its reversal as true. But if it is done with some honestly and sincerity, I find what is behind the stories. I find the genuine truth for it for myself, through exploring specific examples and taking time to allow it to wordlessly sink in. Although it may start at the level of stories, it goes far beyond and there is a shift in my whole orientation. A sense of deep release. Of coming home. Of finding what is more genuinely true for me. A shift out of defensiveness and into receptivity.
And here, in recognizing the genuine neutrality of the situation, there is an opportunity for gratitude and appreciation to surface. From the stress and drama of taking one position as true and defending it against its reversals, there is a recognition of the ground of neutrality, and an appreciation of the play, of how a situation can appear in many different ways depending on our stories about it, the juiciness in the drama, and also the excitement in finding more clarity around all of this.
From drama and struggle, there is a shift into neutrality, and genuine appreciation and gratitude. There is a quiet joy in experience itself independent of the particulars of its play.
Here, there is also more freedom to play with the stories, to explore the consequences in perception and actions of each of them, and chose the ones that seem to have the most practical value as a temporary guide. They become tools, and which one we use and how depends on what seems most kind, wise and mature in the situation, and that will always change. It changes with the situation, and it changes with clarity and experience. There is always infinitely further to go.
I am not sure how much value it has to talk about it in such general terms. I probably do it mostly as entertainment. The real juice and value in it comes from exploring, with sincerity, real life and juicy specific examples. That’s where the gold is.
- good + bad (different stories about same situation, neutralize each other, equal validity)
- conventional view/beliefs – say is bad (say 50% bad)
- when look a little closer, see is a support in noticing beliefs, creates friction, invite to notice + inquire into beliefs (equally good as the other one is bad)
- neutralize each other, each reversal medicine for taking the initial one (the one we are most familiar with) as true (the only, most true)
- may sound a little too thought out, but can also be a genuine, alive experience when find what is more honest for us, inquire w. curiosity
- when neutralized, joy and appreciation can emerge (quiet joy in experience itself)
- inherently neutral, and reflected w/in stories (neutralize each other)