you are your story; You are not your story
It is running a familiar, repetitious play called your Life.
It is beautiful, painful, richly textured, adventurous, known and unknown, and so, so dear to you, closer than your skin and blood.
It is not You.
As a seemingly-separate identity, as a human here on Earth, we all seem to be living out a very real, very individual life. From the moment we wake up to the moment we return to sleep, we are engaged in our thoughts, feelings, desires, challenges, ups and downs, highs and lows. Looking even cursorily, we can see that the story is often redundant. We always feel ourselves to be the same person, with our thoughts, feelings and desires proceeding pretty much along the same track every day. We go through similar motions and actions as we did yesterday. Sure, we sometimes have pivotal experiences and epiphanies that temporarily make us feel we are a “changed” person. Still, we experience ourselves as this particular story with its regularly-repeated patterns and consistent sense of self, the story of ‘who we are,’ or who we think we are.
Because of its repetitiousness, its vividness and the way everything is felt through ‘my-perspective,’ it is a powerful narcotic, a thoroughly insidious and convincing disguise. It’s virtually irresistible to not get caught in thinking, “This is who I am. This story is me.” It can feel so hard, so futile, to continuously assert and realize our True Nature behind that, to sense our true non-story as Pure Awareness, pure Beingness.
Especially when Awakening has begun to dawn, and glimpses of the Truth come daily, weekly, it can form the most daunting, frustrating conundrum. You catch yourself acting out a certain pattern – a well-known ego desire, a habitual worry, a familiar way you pass judgment, and you’re in your identity. Or worse, you catch a deeply-ingrained pattern acting out you – an irresistible impulse or a chronic symptom or illness, that seems to overtake you, no matter how much you protest you are not that story, and try to assert your True Essence. Surely, you think, this must be the “eye of the needle” Jesus said we must pass through to see Heaven.
There is nothing to do about our story. Your particular story is magnificent, it is Awareness playfully discovering and inventing itself through this particular body-mind location. It is to be lived, savored, played to the hilt. It must be Awareness’ ‘desire’ that you play out this story, because it’s what’s happening! Otherwise, you’d have a different story to play out, or no story at all.
The key is in playing it but not over-identifying with it. Watch yourself going through the motions of your daily wants, thoughts, judgments, pains, etc. and oscillate between diving deep down into the mire of embodying this theater play, and being the audience watching yourself do it. Notice yourself cycling it, over and over again, with a sense of delight, dispassion and the clear sense that this is just a story running on automatic, like a wound-up clock that keeps running whether or not you’re looking at it. Think of your entire body-mind-identity, and its story, as a separate entity, cycling through a certain script or role, for the duration of it’s ‘time’ here on Earth.
We can even call out our every thought, feeling, judgement and action, as “That’s just my ego,” or “That’s just the story I’m living out,” to help us remain in the awakened perspective. This is not to generate a schizophrenic feeling, but rather, to continually enter into and out of the awareness that all these rich stories full of happiness and horror, triumph and tragedy, are just stories.
It’s as if you are a young child whose Grandfather is sitting at your bedside, reading you a vivid bedtime story. As he recreates the tale, his storytelling skills are so captivating that you are literally transported into the forest, the sea, the scenes of action, living out the roles of the characters. For a moment (that seems like a lifetime,) you are not a child laying in bed, you are in that story. Then, something seems to go “pop” inside your being, and you realize it’s just a story you’re experiencing, separate from yourself. Then, you notice that you are actually the Grandfather holding the story. You “pop” to another level, and see that you are the room holding your Grandfather. A final opening “pops” you to the realization that you are Everything, every story ever told, and, simultaneously you are the Nothing that holds that Everything! From here you observe all stories, including your own, with delight and infinite compassion, so beautiful and adventurous, yet so illusory and insignificant.
Even that delighted, dispassionate Observer is not who you really Are; you are the empty Awareness in which nothing is taking place. And, becoming acutely conscious of that Observer is the doorway to That which is beyond even consciousness. And the doorway to staying in that Observer perspective, the key to that ability to consistently oscillate between your life-story and Your Pure Existence No-Story, is surrender. Time to let go. (see next post, Let Go.)