Thursday, 16 December 2010

The Triple Liberators

After months of silence, it is appropriate to discuss the three liberators, as I call them, or the three liberating emotions. These are not anything like the usual suspects like love or compassion or faith. Rather, these three liberators have to do with the baser suffering instinct.

They are outlined here as an idea, but it is highly encouraged that any work with these be done with supervision of appropriate professionals. I do not bear any responsibility for anything arising from their use or misue.

They are:

1.) Hopelessness/weariness - The weariness of experiencing the pain of daily life. This also includes the weariness of holding onto thoughts that create suffering and pain in our minds through unfulfilled wants and desires. This creates tension and desire and ultimately suffering.

2.) Anger/retaliation - Sometimes the ego reacts to suffering not with weariness but with anger and a sense of having being done an injustice. This energy, although apparently opposite (and in some ways it is) to the energy of hopelessness, can also be applied when channelled to good use.

3.) Jadedness/cynicism/pessimism - This happens when the ego goes neither into victim mode in hopelessness or revenge mode in anger, but instead steels and covers itself with an air of indifference, or protects itself with lower expectations. This lowers sensitivity, and is trickier to deal with in some ways than the other two, but it is still workable.

The trick with these three emotions is to temper them with the appropriate insight. When mixed with wisdom, they can create the motivation to surrender to God, or to release a belief or thought that is creating pain. The key wisdom insight is to realise that there is really nothing to fight against, or to hold onto. That reality just is. Byron Katie's work is a good starting point for this. Whereas my favoured path is to work the emotions, she works the wisdom directly. This approach is a mix of both.

When Katie asks someone to write a painful thought down in her Judge Thy Neighbour worksheet, it is accessing a thought of pain. Then she asks, "Is that true?" and "Can you absolutely know that that is true?" These are questions pointing to the flimsiness of thoughts and belief. They create the wisdom insight that everything is really depending on which side you take, which point of view you are persuaded by.

Then she asks, "How do you feel when you think that thought?" and "Who would you be without that thought?" These questions point to another wisdom insight - that really it is the thought which is creating the pain, not reality itself. It is like green glass held before a light. Put it in front of it - pain. Take the glass away - no pain. It has nothing to do with the light of reality itself. It is the glass filter of thought that does it.

This bears an extreme connection with the triple liberators, for the answer to "How do you feel when you that thought?" is precisely the suffering which leads to the ego reactions. If one were awakened, just becoming aware of that thought would prompt one to release it. However, more often, then is a determination to cling on. The Work of Byron Katie then goes on to change the perspective using a turnaround. There is another way.

We can take the wisdom insight derived from the Inquiry Process, or indeed any other insight-based process or even spiritual principles such as Buddha's Four Noble Truths (1. Life sucks. 2. Life sucks because you want things. 3. So stop wanting things. 4. Deal with it.) and apply it to the emotions, transforming them into liberation. We turn them into a burning determination to be free of the pain, to release the limiting and painful thought, come what may.

So, weariness and hopelessness becomes a determination to find peace. To reside in peace, even if it means giving up all perception of how the ego thinks the world is battering it. The energy of anger is even more useful - it is already looking to strike. We simply guide it to the right target - the offending thought, not the world. In cynicism, expectations are low. The way to deal with it is to recognise that since one doesn't really expect much, there really isn't much to lose anyway, and to play along just in case something spectacular happens.

By confronting and sitting in the emotions this way, and constantly applying the wisdom insight that the pain is arising because of a thought, one gains the determination to be courageous, to open one's mind to the acceptance of what is, of reality. The alternative is suffering. Why is there determination? Because initially fear and uncertainty buffers us as we enter the unfamiliar territory of being open minded. As we do, we hold onto the forged determination to enter into the flame, and our dual minds die into peace.

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