I used to believe that whatever I believed was true. I was very small when I first started thinking this way. “I think it, therefore it is.” This gave life meaning, my meaning, which was the best kind. Then, somewhere along the line, I slowly began to grow up and learn about presumptions, assumptions and cognitive distortions — the Trifecta of an Anxious Mind.
Making assumptions is a reflex, not unlike when the doctor takes the rubber mallet and makes my knee kick out. The birth of the assumption is completely unconscious. I am uncomfortable, so I make something up. I tell myself a story about what I know to end the awkwardness of the awful and un-American “I Don’t Know.” There was no thought that went into these assumptions and the comedy is that I Thought there was.
Why make assumptions? Author Miquel Ruiz says in The Four Agreements: “If others tell us something we make assumptions, and if they don’t tell us something we make assumptions to fulfill our need to know and to replace the need to communicate. Even if we hear something and we don’t understand we make assumptions about what it means and then believe the assumptions. We make all sorts of assumptions because we don’t have the courage to ask questions.”
I remember sitting in school and being scared to ask a dumb question or to ask a teacher to repeat something that I did not understand. So, in place of whatever was being taught, I created several complicated arrangements of assumptions, running from “I am dumb at math” to “I am sure I know what I know” (even if there was no basis for actually knowing).
It took the slowing down of meditation and yoga to begin to see. I lived in a Cognitive Box. Lots of what was in there was just fine. Some of it was not serving me. I made things up if I did not have answers. Sometimes it was not that I was afraid to ask questions, but rather that I did not know where to begin or what questions to start asking.
Questioning our assumptions is hard to do while we are going fast and it is even harder to do alone.
In JizoTherapy the goal is to slow down enough to feel the ground beneath your feet: both physically and metaphorically. Sit still. Listen to your thoughts. We are much clearer when we practice grounding ourselves in the present moment and become aware of our automatic thoughts, the conclusions we jump to, the judgements we make, and the myths we may cling to.