Saturday, August 11, 2007

All Stories All

I have noticed that even when meditating I'm telling myself stories. We're always telling ourselves a story. That's the autobiography of Samsara. Telling ourselves a story: Where I've been and where I'm going and what it means and what I'm getting out of it and every variation on that theme. Even when we're sitting, we're telling ourselves some story: "Oh, this is a good one." Or, more often, "This is not a good one!" They're equal, those two stories, regardless of the content. Or, "This would be a good one if the person in front of me would stop moving or if my knee didn't hurt." Or whatever it is this hour. Always telling ourselves a story. Awareness is curative. The more we are aware of it, we might get tired of the story-telling. It can be amusing and we can enjoy it, but we don't have to be so invested in it as if without the story nothing would be real. Actually, it's quite the opposite: With the story, we lose the reality that is there. The story is obscuring it. The story is covering it up. So we're all telling ourselves the story of who and what we are. Every moment, if we check - and I was looking into my own mind - we are always telling a story through concepts, which are not the reality itself, they're just overlaid on reality, like maps that outline the territory but are not the real territory. Telling ourselves stories endlessly. I think it would be interesting to look into the practice of everyday life, into what story we're telling ourselves now. Like, "Oh, I've come a long way so I can just indulge in this now." As if there is some real meaning in that. If you want to indulge, just go ahead. We don't have to make a big story out of it. That's just extra energy wasted, when you could just be indulging straightahead! Telling our story and then inevitably telling others' stories, and if they don't buy into our stories having fights and ending up with wars about them. We can really settle back, I think, and look into what we are really getting out of telling these stories. See if it isn't just as rewarding, or even more so, to just tune into the actual story, which doesn't depend on us to tell. Just tune in and listen to the real story. Buddhism always says nothing and empty and no-self, that everything's like a dream, unreal, and all, but the positive side is what we would call reality. In Buddhism we don't hear so much about reality, we emphasize unreality because it's a deconstructive approach. The positive side is freedom, openness, loving-kindness, mastery, impeccability, genuine living, altruism. That's the reality. And we're missing that story because we're telling our own story constantly and then trying to pass it to others to reinforce our own story-telling."

- excerpt from Dancing with Life, Dharma Talks, by Lama Surya Das

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