Friday, September 10, 2010
Belief Layer Cake
Underneath the frosting, find some sugar
in cake form, spongy and airy, a welcome
relief from the dark and heavy covering.
Rest there for awhile and believe
you have become free, until you see there is
yet another layer beneath,
a muddy area you sink into,
get your feet caught in,
where last year's beliefs
are still alive and well.
This is belief hell - the delicious layer cake
of acting one way and believing something else
the double, triple, quadruple self-deception
that carries us through daily interactions
and off to bed where the lower layers
show their underwear and reveal their rotting roots
in your dreams.
(spontaneous poem I just wrote about beliefs)
I've been thinking a LOT lately about beliefs. Not just thinking, but feeling them out, sussing them out in my body as well as my head. A few times, through Hakomi work and in conversation with folks, I have reached a point of realizing that I believe one thing but act as if another is real. This is no surprise, of course, anyone who pays attention will catch this in just about every interaction. But after a few years of practice I thought, for instance, that I didn't blame myself for my own pain, for instance, anymore. Only I do. Some part of me still believes when I am ill or in pain that I caused it, even though the rational parts of me have been trained through meditation and dharma to dismiss such gobbledygook. So much for rational thought.
Because rational thought does not run the body. This much has become very apparent to me in the last few months. Between A General Theory of Love and Perceiving Ordinary Magic, plus Hakomi work, plus, well, my "ordinary" awesome job(s) in which I get to pose questions about things like this and listen to up to 8 people write about it from their hearts, it has become really clear to me that this ship is run by my un/subconscious. Almost entirely. My conscious, controlled world is a farce, nearly non-existent. I feel both liberated and terrified by this (which commonly come together, in my experience): thus the cake metaphor.
In particular, this contrasting belief that I am basically good, made of basic goodness, inherently fresh and awake (as are all of you, beloved readers) VERSUS the inner belief that any kind of struggle, pain or suffering indicates there is something wrong with me is pretty harsh to see. Of course it's been pretty harsh to experience, and I'd rather see it than have it controlling me without my seeing it (as my own internal misogyny did for so long). Still, wow. Really? I believe that kind of shit about myself? Where did I get that from? Its etiology really isn't significant to me anymore, not as much as working it out of my system. Now comes the hard work of practice, which I quoted Hayward on earlier on this week on Facebook:
Fundamentally, the path of training and discovery is extremely simple, direct and uncomplicated. But that is not to say that it is effortless. The reason that the journey requires effort is that our imaginary-conceptual beliefs form layer after layer, like onionskins. As we peel off layer after layer, we come closer and closer to our most cherished beliefs, beliefs that we may not even realize we have and act by. -Jeremy Hayward, Discovering Ordinary Magic
So maybe it's an onion layer cake.