The practical intelligence of beliefs

As I find a welcome for images and thoughts taken as true, and the emotions triggered by them, I am reminded of the practical wisdom often found in these beliefs.

They are there to support me, help me, take care of me. They are worried love.

And there is often a practical guidance and wisdom in them.

For instance….

I notice some fear or unease before giving a class, and this fear and unease encourages me to prepare well, to know what I am doing, to be conscious of what I am doing. There is practical wisdom here.

I experience sadness and grief from memories of a lost opportunity. As I stay with these emotions – allow them, welcome them, notice they come from a wish for a good life for myself, notice they are worried love – I notice a sobering shift. These emotions and the images behind them inform me. As I am receptive to them, they work on me, realign something in me. I see I don’t want to do that again. I see I wish to act differently, in similar situations now and in the future. I see I wish to act from more kindness and intelligence.

These emotions come from unquestioned images and beliefs, and it’s also worth taking a closer look at these and find what’s more true for me.

It’s not either/or. It’s not either the practical intelligence within beliefs, or the clarity of inquiry.

I can (a) benefit from the practical intelligence in beliefs, there to protect me and take care of me in a conventional sense.

And I can (b) benefit from the clarity, kindness and intelligence revealed when I inquire into and take a closer look at these images and thoughts taken as true.

This also reminds me that inquiry is not about refuting or dismissing images and thoughts. For me, it’s much more about finding appreciation for them. What’s the practical intelligence behind this image, this thought? How can it guide me? What’s the gift in it for me? What’s its guidance for me, in how I live my life? And…. what do I find when I take a closer look? What’s more true for me? What’s revealed when I inquire into these images and thoughts?

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Again, maybe quite basic, but what my interest is drawn to….

Intelligence is always here. Wordless. Awake. Responsive. 

When it functions within the context of stories taken as true, it is limited by these stories. It is bound by stories taken as true. 

And when there is a recognition of the nature of stories – that they are mental field overlays, none of them having any real truth to them, the grain of truth in any story and its reversals, stories having practical and temporary value only – then intelligence is free to use these stories as tools. It is free to hold them lightly, as tools and guidelines for actions depending on what seems most helpful in any particular situation. With receptivity. Within the context of don’t know. Curiosity. 

The same intelligence is there. In one case, it is hemmed in by stories taken as true, and acted upon as if they are true. In the other case, it is free to use and recognize stories as tools.

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