By Greg Ascue
Recently, I was involved in an exchange with someone where there was a difference of opinion (and most probably of underlying beliefs and thoughts). Upon reflecting upon this exchange I saw, in a natural fashion without inquiring, that what was being expressed were “unfindable” thoughts (communicated as words) by two “unfindable” people (“me” and “the other person”). I was fascinated by how there could be such strong belief in thought. It is a subject I have visited before but, with this work, I find myself continually seeing more subtle nuances of things.
Upon reflecting on this further, I decided to do some inquiry on this. I had one of the students in the Facilitator training I’m teaching facilitate me. What was arrived at was to look for “the person who believes what he thinks”, the person who implicitly or explicitly says “I believe what I think”. In starting the inquiry, as soon as I looked at the words “I believe what I think” I was stunned. I realized, again, in many ways there was “belief” in the steady stream of words pumped out into my experience by “my mind”. Pumped out like a water pump or a gas pump – mechanically.
I saw, immediately, various fallacies. Even from a very simple perspective, the “truth” and “accuracy” of “my thoughts” has proven not to be 100%. I have been wrong many times in very fundamental ways. Going further I saw that, in fact, there was no “truth” or “accuracy” in them at all (in the deepest sense “truth” and “accuracy” cannot be found). What keeps this peculiar “believing” in play? What keeps this turning to thought and believing in it going? I recalled Albert Einstein’s quote “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Using this as a definition, I would have to say that this believing is insanity. Believing your thoughts over and over again, expecting that they will be “right” is insanity. Perhaps insanity is too strong – maybe trance would be gentler. But the point remains.
We continued the inquiry, looking for “the person who believes what he thinks”. This could not be found. I have subsequently looked for “thoughts”, “truth”, “belief”, and “accuracy” (amongst other things related to all of this). All of these are unfindable too, being subtle combinations of “words”, “pictures”, and “energies” (which are in themselves unfindable). I like looking at related topics over many sessions. Looking for abstract concepts and beliefs is one of my favorite forms of inquiry. They prop up and support most of the stories we tell ourselves.
So, where did this leave me? Contrary to the fear that many new to the inquiries experience, they do not bring about the disappearance of the world (or in this case an end to thought or “me”). I’m still having thoughts but holding them even more lightly. There is a gentle, joyful experiencing of the world that includes the seeming appearance of thought (along with the seeming appearance of clouds, stars, and people). Thoughts which can be used or ignored based on what seems appropriate in the moment. More like play than something that binds.