Imagine you’re in a limited awareness bubble participating in a win-or-lose game based on simple thinking errors. You may assume that you are unwhole, a premise based on satisfying perceived needs by cooperating with an external reality. When you take in and let go of what is needful to satisfy your requirements in the bubble you then may feel like a winner. You may also assume wholeness is the ultimate game prize.
That assumption is an artifact of life perceived within the bubble of limited awareness – a conclusion based on questionable premises and false equations. From that perspective, even “reasonable” equations result in unreasonable yet apparently logical conclusions – that appear as my life story.
From a perspective beyond bubble awareness, wholeness takes on an entirely different understanding. To get to that understanding, let’s start with an investigation of our premise that wholeness can and must be won or earned.
How Do I Support Questionable Premises?
Questionable premises are those that invite inquiry and scrutiny – question-able. Let’s look at the structure of some questionable premises and how they create false equations in the thinking process:
- Premise: I must be right to be whole
- False equations:
- Anything less than right = wrong = unwhole
- Success = right = whole = life
- Wrong = failure = death
- Premise: I can earn/achieve wholeness
- False equations:
- Success = achievement of wholeness
- Sufficient education = success
- Sufficient rightness = success
- Premise: Wholeness is a prize
- False equations:
- Anything less than wholeness = failure = loss/lose
- I am less than whole = I am a failure = I am a loser
- Given enough time, energy, work, meditation, etc. => I WILL become whole (a future that never arrives)
Within my bubble awareness, I create a body-mind competition developed around relationships. When I fashion an internal sense of self that compares my truths to the misunderstandings of others – who, in turn, compare my understanding to their completely unreasonable standards based on their questionable premises.
Example of how my false equations support my questionable premises:
“Because I haven’t yet become whole, I must be unwhole.”
“I am unwhole, so I must be a loser.”
“Because I need to win to live, I must not lose.”
“Because winning equates to wholeness, I must achieve wholeness.”
“Wholeness is the ultimate prize that I must win, yet, can’t win.”
Some reasoning errors that sustain my false or questionable premises:
- Logic levels errors (also known as the non-sequitur fallacy) – This refers to logic leaps between BEING, DOING, and HAVING. Logic level leaps take the cause-effect form: if one logic level, then another logic level. For example: IF I DO something good then I AM good, I AM what I DO.
Example: “Because I can’t stop smoking, I must be weak-willed.”
Just because you can’t DO something, it does not follow that you ARE unwhole.
- Cherry picking – “A man sees what he wants to see, and disregards the rest.”
Example: “The boss shot down my idea at the meeting today. I’m such a loser!”
Never mind the times when your boss accepted your ideas.
- Circular reasoning – in which the conclusion supports the premises which supports the conclusion.
Example: “I’m a loser because I know what a winner looks like and that’s not how I look.”
Note how I’m the authority that proves the authority.
The key to resolving questionable premises is to question them with intent to receive answers and to understand. An unquestioned premise will most likely remain intact and active as it is. Sometimes simply questioning a premise will resolve it – resulting in a new and possibly more useful state of mind.
How to Question a Premise
Get into a meditative, relaxed state. With an intent to understand, let go of your need for understanding and how answers to these questions must appear to you. Once the body is completely comfortable and relaxed, it’s in a baseline condition. Any sensation that pops up can be considered an “answer” to the question. With this awareness, ask, listen to the body, and acknowledge responses from Self.
Elicit the Premise:
- Who: (premise)
- do I believe I am that needs to manifest in this way?
- do I think I am that needs to feel this way?
- ex: “I’m a failure!” “I’m unworthy.” “I’m unwhole.” “I’m angry!”
- else sees me in this way?
- Why: (defense)
- do I need to think, feel, and behave in this way?
- must I express myself this way?
- do I care what others think, feel, and express about me?
- How: (expression)
- do I express that belief?
- does this behavior affect this experience?
- do others see me?
- do I want others to see me?
- What: (judgement)
- do I believe about me in this situation?
- am I trying to express?
- am I seeking from my expression?
- do I need from others?
- does my expression tell others about me?
Question the Premise:
- What must I assume in order for me to judge myself and others as I have? (Questioning the judgment of my premise)
- How would my life appear without that assumption? (Questioning the expression of my premise)
- Why do I assume this? Why do I need to feel this way? (Questioning my defense of my premise)
- Who would I be without this premise? (Questioning the validity of my premise)
Again – LISTEN with openness. Pay attention to your body – which may “speak” your answers to you in the language of sensation and movement. You might notice a sensation or movement and note its intensity:
- What sensation do I feel? (hot, cold, tense, itchy, etc.)
- Where do I feel it? (as precise as you can without pointing or touching it – just describe it in you mind)
- How intensely do I feel it? (maybe on a scale of 0 to 10 with 10 being completely unbearable)
Note: sensations are not questions – they are responses/answers to questions. Resist the temptation to ask a sensation for its meaning. In this case, meaning is another mind game that can result in circular reasoning – “I feel tight in the jaw because I’m angry, which makes my jaw tight…”. Just “listen” and “acknowledge” – maybe express gratitude – then accept the information.
At some point, such questioning may result in an AHA moment that leads to a Third Degree of Illumination choice.