In my limited awareness bubble, what is true is also what is right. I interpret every manifestation according to what I intend to be right of me. The first thing I intend to be right about is my survival. I then work to prove that interpretation right, which I present as invulnerability to death. My fear of death makes me defend against vulnerability!
I hide my vulnerability to control my presentations of what I intend others to believe is right about me – that I’m invulnerable! I look for feedback to confirm whether my presentation is convincing or not.
Manifestation provides feedback I can use to validate my beliefs. Yet, when need requires belief to outweigh facts, interpretation of manifestation can be a powerful convincer.
“A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest.” (The Boxer, Simon and Garfunkel)
Because I can imagine a scenario in which even the most benign thing might hurt me, I live in a world of fear. That fear affects my interpretations, which affects my experiences!
Intention + Perception = Interpretation of Manifestation
Fearful intentions affect perceptions that affect interpretations of manifestations to prove rightness of fearful intentions. Because I live in a world of fear, here’s how I do this:
- I set a fearful intention to prove right my first intention, to survive.
- My perceptions make me aware of my symbolic representations of fear.
- I compare those symbols with my fearful intention.
- I interpret manifestations according to those symbols to fit my fearful intention.
- This interpretation proves that my fearful intention is right.
- I defend my rightness against the appearance of threat.
- Thus, I’m successful in fulfilling my first intention – to survive.
Since I tend to judge based on my sense of sight, my perceptual interpretation of visual appearance can affect the accuracy of my experience. For example, I might distrust a person dressed as a clown based on a scary experience I had of a clown. It doesn’t have to be a threat to present a threat. It’s in my interpretation of the presentation.
When I see someone else’s vulnerability exposed, I may feel relief that it wasn’t me exposed! On the other hand, their exposure confirms the possibility of my exposure. Thus, strengthening my fear of exposure and my need to defend against it.
Eventually, it becomes less about defending myself against real threats and more about defending myself against the appearance of threat. And what is the greatest threat? That which challenges my first intention – rightness!
What About Self-Inquiry?
How can I inquire about the true nature of Self when such inquiry may challenge my rightness and/or expose my inquiry to attack? How do I make a challenge without provoking a defense against it? What happens when I see myself as a threat?
As long as a question appears as a threat that invokes the very mechanism we described above to defend against it, how do I even begin to ask?