Making something into an enemy

I notice that some traditions and teachers present certain things – such as “attachment” or “identification” – as if it’s a problem, something to fix, an enemy.

They may not mean it that way, and it’s also possible that it’s helpful in early steps for some paths.

And yet, for me, it feels painful. It feels painful when I try on that thought as solid or true.

Making something into an enemy – whether it’s an emotion, an image, a thought, identification, sensations – comes from taking a thought as true, and that’s inherently uncomfortable. It’s out of alignment with reality.

Also, when I make something in my field of experience into an enemy, there is a split. It requires a good deal of energy. It pits one part of my field of experience against another. I get caught in fear. I feel that taking the enemy thought as true is my best option of staying safe. I cling to it.

It goes against my heart. Somewhere, I know the apparent “enemy” is innocent.

It goes against my knowing that it’s all presence, awakeness, and love.

And for a purely practical reason, it also helps to befriend my world, my field of experience as it is here now. As long as it’s kept as an enemy in my mind, there is little opportunity for seeing it as something else, and for it to move and shift in my world. It’s held in place. When it’s befriended, welcomed, recognized as innocent, recognized as love, recognized as already allowed, then other options are possible. I may notice it’s not what it appeared as initially, as long as I saw it as an enemy and labeled it in whatever way I did. It may reveal itself as something different, and again as something different.

I notice this with something as basic as identification, mind taking images and thoughts as true. As long as this is seen as wrong, a problem, something to change and fix, then it tends to stay that way, or return as that, in my world. There is struggle, and usually little movement. It’s quite uncomfortable. And as soon as I see identification as innocent, as a service of protection, as an expression of deep devotion, an expression of deep love, something shifts. It’s not what I thought it was, and it’s clearly not an enemy. Even what it tries to protect, this image of a me as a human being, is innocent, a service of protection, an expression of devotion and love, and not what it initially appeared to be. By befriending it, the solidity of the initial appearances softens, and something else is revealed as more true for me. The old dynamics may lose their footing, and if they don’t that’s allowed too.

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