Sometimes we identify with a particular belief very strongly. So strongly that the belief is living us. Do you know what I am talking about?
My teacher Adya, calls it a core belief.
Our very life is unfolding from that belief so that everything we do, including what we do on the spiritual journey, is in accordance with this belief.
Then we are the living embodiment of that belief pattern.
When we are living the belief in this way we cannot see the belief in operation, because there is no objectivity around it - we are too identified with it. To see it requires a distance from it which we do not have because we are it and we are only it.
Then at some point grace intervenes and we can see the belief. We have gained some distance from it and we can see how our life is being run by it.
However even if we see it quite clearly, the belief still seems to be playing out in our lives. And this can be confusing and frustrating.
If you find yourself in this situation, then perhaps what follows may be useful for you.
Let's take a concrete example.
Let's say that the belief is a need for appreciation. So there is a strong desire for appreciation that is playing itself out in your life.
Now everything that is born has a certain stickiness to it. The degree of stickiness can vary enormously, but once something is born there is a finite period of time for which it is sustained. And then it dies.
Some things that are born have a great stickiness and they are greatly self-sustaining. The kind of belief that we have been discussing is an example of this. It is by nature very sticky and wants to live.
So the strong desire for appreciation is very sticky. It uses every trick in the book to stay alive.
Let's say that this desire for appreciation were fulfilled and you experienced great appreciation. What would this mean for the desire for appreciation? What is a fulfilled desire? Is it a desire anymore? No - A fulfilled desire is a dead desire. Right?
The strong desire for appreciation which is very sticky does not want to die and so it does not want to be fulfilled. Of course this sounds completely counter-intuitive and contradictory. But don't go by the analysis of this, go by your experience of how the belief plays out for you.
So the strong desire for appreciation, in order to stay alive, avoids total fulfillment. However it is very skillful and it will accept partial fulfillment. So you will surely feel appreciated sometimes. But then that goes away and the old hunger arises again and is even stronger! Right?
Sometimes this strong desire for appreciation may even use a subtle and totally contradictory pattern to sustain itself. It may actually and very subtly seek rejection. Perhaps this is the point where you may completely dismiss what I am saying here as rubbish and so be it. :)
What happens to you when you have a strong desire for appreciation, and then you feel rejected? You immediately want appreciation oh so much more, right?
Everytime there is an experience of rejection, the desire for appreciation gains a new lease of life as it kicks back in with greater force. The desire for appreciation is so sticky that it can even use a totally opposite thing like rejection to further its goal of survival.
If you know what I am talking about then you know how this feels - like being pulled in opposite directions, so that the end result is one of stagnation.
This contradictory push and pull is what makes it so confusing. You may be aware of your need for appreciation and then you become aware of your being drawn to rejection in your life experience. And you wonder what is really going on! Right?
So you can check in your experience if the rejection bit is simply a mechanism of survival for your strong need for appreciation. And then if it is the case and you can see it for what it is, you may experience a clearing of the confusion.
What is true for a desire for appreciation can also be true for other strong patterns.
I have witnessed a case of great aversion to life. The experience of it for the most part was an apathy towards life in general and even a casual nonchalance towards death. But then a grave illness came about, and gave rise to a terror of dying. And now life became about illness and fear and so the aversion to such a life became even stronger.
At the same time confusion was being experienced in this push-pull of I don't want to live but I don't want to die!
Until it was seen in perspective.
When we see our core belief patterns in perspective, it is not that they immediately dissolve but they get conscious space around them. And instead of being lived out unconsciously they play out their momentum in the light of consciousness. And we are not yanked around by them so much anymore.
This releases blocked energy within us and something new and more free has space to be born.