Posts Tagged With: meditation
A student asked me: “I see my stories… So am I done?”
Un-Storying is not ultimately an intellectual process. The first stages can be seen that way, though, as we step back and see the constructed reality we’ve been living, and strive to understand how we’ve created it. That’s not to say necessarily, why things have happened TO you, but your perception of and interpretation of what it means. This part of the work can be rough, as we use the mind to look at the mind. But once this work has taken hold, and becomes the natural ongoing process, the next part begins.
If I am not my stories, then who, or what, am I really? If I am not a person with struggles, or a fortunate person, or a person who is happy/unhappy/victim/hero/etc, then how do I define myself.
THIS is the bigger work. Is it okay that you don’t have to know who or what you are? Must you have a definition in order to keep control over your experience of life? Can you sit still in silence with yourself and simply live? How does that feel? Is there resistance? If there is, then that points to the next underlying mind story to see and be with. Can you feel a deep compassion for yourself and for others, ALL others, even if your mind tells you otherwise? At this stage, the work focused on seeing that everyone and everything is made of that same stuff. What is THE STUFF? Well, that would once again cause us to intellectualize and label. Thereby separating ourselves from “the stuff”… Or that which simply is. This is not about anti-intellectualism, but about accessing a different type of wisdom. In this space, compassion fuels decision making, though it may not seem like a decision, as it simply becomes the natural response. It is jot about protection or fighting, it becomes about seeing,connecting, and feeling compassion.
This is not a hippy dippy, run through a field of flowers process. It is a rough road inward. One that does away with our beloved projections of ourselves and the world around us. It is at once brutal and liberating. There is no longer anyone to blame or rail against. There is only being alive. There is only the stuff of life daring itself to experience itself. THAT is the ultimate “goal” of un-storying. The goal to see that there is no goal. We are uncovering the reality within.
What would it feel like to feel complete within yourself? Is there something that has been holding you back? A fear? An old wound?
What if…you were able to dive into that fear, down into the belly of that whale, and then re-emerge again safe, whole, and healed?
In the silence between the thoughts, anything becomes possible. Take the chance…Try sitting in silence for 5 minutes today and see what happens.
If thoughts intrude, don’t be discouraged! That’s what brains do. They create thoughts. Good news! You’re human! Simply acknowledge that your brain has a thought and return your attention to the silence in between.
Even if you are only able to do this for seconds at a time, it is still a few seconds of peace. Peace from thoughts of fears and projections. Peace from any interpretations of who you are.
Just wanted to share this wonderful mythic example of nonduality with my blogsters!
Experiencing the world from a Non-Dual perspective, or in other words, through the understanding that nothing is actually happening other than the manifestations of mind, does not exempt one from “falling back into the drama again.”
In order to explain to “others” how a shift in perspective can reveal a change to the storyline of their lives, words and dialogue are often used to bring about an understanding. There is usually wonderment that these friends/students/colleagues can’t see how simple the shift is, and seem to cling to these stories of problems and people doing them harm. In real detachment, it is possible to see one’s/the Self as everything, and the stories the mind conjures to interpret the world and its phenomenon, merely phantoms and silliness.
But…when one is in that place of story and of identifying themselves as a person in conflict with another, it is quite amazing how the ego mind creeps back in and grabs a hold of us once more!
Recently, I had this experience. Old dynamics at play with a family member triggered an emotional reactive response. I spent days trying to figure out how to respond to possible verbal/emotional attacks and how to express to this person how they made me feel. I was exhausted and wary and defensive and annoyed. I began to think about how I could “fix” it or avoid it…whichever proved easiest and most permanent, but to no avail, because the emotions wouldn’t leave me. It was then that I remembered what my teacher had once said to me,”Feel the emotional story of your conflict, not the details of the story itself. It is never about the ‘other’ person.” It is the same teaching I now offer to others. But it is easy to forget when our own mind’s triggers arise. Once the emotional story is connected to, we can realize that the “other person” is nothing but an actor in the play of your life, offering the opportunity to experience any old unmet emotions, long since repressed deeply into your psyche. It is an embrace of the difficulty, so that old energy can be healed. And even in that, there is no need to heal anything, as it is consciousness itself causing it and sustaining us simultaneously.
I recognize that this post may resonate with some and be disturbing to others. It is not for me to convince anyone of anything. But on this Thanksgiving week, I am grateful for these teachings, as they offer me the tools to navigate life; a chance to awaken further, to peel away yet one more layer of the onion to reveal the Self in all its glory.
“This being human is a guest house. Every morning is a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor…Welcome and entertain them all. Treat each guest honorably. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”
The mind is an extraordinary tool for your remembrance of who you truly are…if you are willing to embrace the possibility that what you think is real undisputed truth, is but a dream. As Rumi wisely pointed to, if every experience felt in the body (whether joyful or heart-wrenching, ecstatic or rage-provoking) is an opportunity to see the illusion of the mind’s stories, then we get multiple opportunities every day to see through them to what is really there. For one moment, ponder what your response would be if every experience, no matter the emotional story that arises in you, is experienced as Love. Even the nasty painful stuff. What if that love took the form of suffering? If everything is one, and everything is that consciousness, or God, then how could anything not be Love?
This blog is called “Beyond the Story.” Beyond what story? Well, everything is story. The narratives and myths of history, and our many belief systems, are indicative of the ways which human beings communicate within themselves and with others.
Symbols and stories are told and experienced in varying degrees of “real.” The stories we tell when we introduce ourselves to someone new, the stories we tell our loved ones to comfort or to stir them to action, and the stories we tell ourselves about what is safe, what is possible, what we believe in…are all narratives conjured up by the mind based on our beliefs, and based once again on the symbols we’ve interpreted and experienced. As my teacher might say, the five senses and the mind create the story of an experience. But what lies beyond the story? What exists when there is no story left? When the sensory experiences no longer grab a hold of us?
There is more love out there than anyone can imagine. More love than I would have even dared to dream was possible. It’s there. It IS. And we’re it.
When I work with others to “see through” their stories, I am often forced to confront my own narratives as well. It is, after all, due to the lack of true separation between us. But what do I mean about narratives?
Narratives are the lifeblood of the mind’s existence. Everyday, every second in fact, stories are being created and told, ingested and identified with, and we, as humans, are clinging to every morsel. Why are stories so important to the mind? They create who we think ourselves to be. They create identifications with the body and the world that revolves around the body. Without the constant stream of thoughts, and the subsequent running narrative of our lives, there would be no meaning at all. In terms of the “story of one’s life,” your own mind is in fact creating meaning moment by moment.
Ever retell an anecdote about your life? It is created through the initial experience, consisting of thoughts and sensory experiences, which in turn are informed by past thoughts and experiences – judgments, wounds, lessons learned- and then filtered through memory, which consists of more thoughts, and then retold in a manner that best expresses the point you are trying to make to effect a response in the “other” on the listening end. Yet more thoughts. Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts. If enough thoughts gel together closely enough, they create a construct. A matrix of identifications which form into the concept of a person and their personality, personal history, and “lifepath.” There becomes a sense of individuality, of personhood, created by this string of thoughts, judgments, actions, and reactions. All begun by a thought. But what would have happened if the thought hadn’t occurred. What happens before the thought? Nothing. Nothing happens. Everything that “happens,” happens because of a thought. The thought creates the “reality.” The reality becomes the narrative that you live by. It creates the construct that makes up the structure of the “person” and of the entire world.
These constructs then behave like lovers and gladiators. They are constantly interacting with one another. Alternating between gentle soothing touches and fiercely battling to the death. Whose death? And who is watching it all? Aware of the supposed battle. Lending life force to the appearances. Knowing that they are only wisps of nothing in a Don Quixote battle against themselves. Existing out of time, in a world only they have created. Thinking they are affecting everything or anything, thinking they are restricted by barriers, thinking they are thinking. The stories and characters are images on a screen…but who or what is the screen? Explore your stories and you may just see for yourself…