Beliefs and identities. Who is free of them?
Human thinking, deceptions, self illusions, who is free of it?
Arriving at truth results not in a definition so much as an honesty of communication.
The mind at war within itself is compulsive in its thinking and believes its experience is real.
The mind of a private self-interest seeks to gain a manipulative power over others (outsiders) via shaping their thinking, and application of positive and negative incentives. It can use whatever is in your mind to shape you and its finesse is when it can do so and leave you feeling free. It can use even the highest truths in such a way as to validate Itself - over and against the others or outsiders.
Now am I describing the devil?, Religious organisations? Corporations? Politicians? Local communities? Families? Your own mind?
Fear manipulates. It may be 'unconscious' by virtue of its self justification system - whether that calls on religious or any other set of beliefs, shared definitions and accepted values.
It can manipulate by living a mask and masks can interact and enter contracts of relationship to make a cult of two - and keep the outsider our and the presentation intact. But in the process, masks disintegrate.
The disintegration of identity is not something one can get a handle on and manipulate (for that is merely rebranding or shifting 'toxic elements' into a new wrapping. We might label it as a breakdown, it may have mental, emotional and physical symptoms. But it is an experiential learning - not of mere ideas or techniques - but of an integrative process of wholeness. If anyone who is no longer able to keep up with maintaining their mask to the world - or even to themself, then they are in need of a new basis and direction of self - because the old one was a very ingenious mask by which to evade a true intimacy yet appear to connect and relate in limited - and limiting ways.
Until there is some awakening beneath and beyond the mask, defence is fully active almost all the time. Coping in a lovelessness is not our natural being, it has to be coped with by making a self - a mask. And in times when the mask is weak, we are eager to strengthen it - and so are open to suggestion as well as to inspiration.
Religion can offer a framework that reflects the pattern and the process of our mind, which is not what we think - though we use our thought to defend our will against all comers. A will to prevail. But there is also within us a desire to know and be known; a desire to feel and share love.
The belief in the mind as an independent authoritative power reflects in attitudes of control, manipulation and deception. One might smile to disarm and actually believe one was being kind rather than fearful.
So what is the basis of real relationship? Of an integrity of thought word and deed, and an honouring of the other as oneself?
What is the nature of awareness itself - that feels like a field in which all that is felt or thought, sensed or experienced arises and passes away. I am 56 and it has never changed one jot - though the dramas of the world have often covered it so as to 'live' in a virtual life that never touches the ground of simply here and now.
What is the term religion originally signified might be 'reconnect', what tends to happen is making identity of external association, in which true connection is replaced by forms (or ritual or belief or observance etc).
This is as much a reflection of human consciousness as anything to do with religion as such.
As with many things in the world, there are tares among the wheat - and to pull out the tares will damage the crop. But in a life lived consciously, there is a natural sorting out of what is undermining of our fulfilment and what is truly fulfilling.
A relationship in which trust can be grown and sharing life in ways that are love rather than attempts to 'do' love is a gift to our children. For it is not what we say that teaches, but what we demonstrate or embody.
If the world mask (mind) is disintegrating as I feel it is - then the Soil is changing and the old plants (ideas and beliefs) will wither. To discern the new means paying attention in trust and willingness - why? because fear distorts vision and wilfulness reacts instead of listening first.
Listening in its deeper sense, is passing by reaction and discerning truth in ourself in relation to whatever situation we are in. That doesn't mean we can define what we find - but it does mean we can move from a sense that resonates as truly helpful, and willing to stay listening while we relate or act.
Whatever transpires for the couple and their child, I trust they find a better - more honouring communication in their separation and that their child feels listened to and valued by them both.
In war, truth is the first casualty. A true innocence of being is not in the mask - but the spontaneity of an unselfconscious awareness.
You cant buy or sell this or attain it by will - but it can be made welcome - by any name or no name. It isn't for using in the world of the mask - but you can let it use that to grow and communicate itself in a shared welcome - such as is freely willing.
Everything is up for change and what draws me is the opportunity for a wholly integrated culture of heart and mind; something that comes from being honest with ourselves in a deeper way than we yet imagine - and the bonds of love and trust that are found in such a commitment (across seeming differences of culture and background).
A manipulative intent doesn't work - whatever the system that hosts it.