How do we collapse our story in that moment of mounting friction, hostility, and contraction around a perceivedÂ so monumental difference?
We can start by recognizing that whatever narrative, whatever story we cleave to is but a narrative; one among billions. We can bring our awareness toÂ observe thoughts come and go the way clouds cross the sky. Have trouble identifying what a thought is?
Two main forms: mental image, and mental talk. We most often animate painful experiences by calling to mind mental images and thoughts of that past moment, often long past moment, which is not this present one. See how we get stuck in stories and our often facile conclusions of what went down?
When an image or inner talk occur; we can just notice that they are occurring.
Whether a thought’s content/meaning is worth your time can be determined on the basis of whether that meaning furthers habitual knee jerk reactivity or a meta-perspective.
We can recognize the limitation in believing everything we think; this is so clichÃ© but think about it. What kind of thoughts do you expect an angry state of mind to give rise to? Happy, stable, safe, sane, kind ones? No. And yet we actually give cred to thoughts that come out of miserable and destructive emotional states. Does this strike you as odd and misguided? Does this mean we dispense with thinking? Of course not. We simply dispense with being identified with our thoughts, particularly when we are in the grips of reactivity, because there beyond thoughts in the space that holds them is a dimension of deepest healing.
Doing that, watching thoughts instead of being identified with them, is the start of developing a meta-perspective, or a perspective that encompasses but is not limited to a narrative. Â Narratives have no form, color, shape. Yet my how we relate to them as if they do.
One way to collapse the story and our identification with it is to notice in a regular way the sensations that arise within our body in given scenarios, and, for example, notice what occurs in the interpersonal dynamic in which each person is cleaving to their position. We can notice that the storyline is not me. I am not the story. Likewise, this person is not their story. Their story is not them. Then notice what happens through maintaining this awareness. Breathe and be present and watch the walls come tumbling down.
We listen to the story, because we all at some stage need our stories to be heard, held, validated, honored. There is a crucial phase that requires us to hear and share stories and be heard. The validity of the story is not what is being denied. What is being denied is that staying stuck in stories can ever yield sustained freedom and inner peace. What does the lifeline out of our own story look like? The methods for developing a meta-perspective.
The moment we become reactive: from tacitly civil, to annoyed to angry to rageful to destructive, we have already lost, or never really had, the freedom we think we have. We are forced to react through misunderstanding the mechanisms that drive our personal and collective misery.
Reactivity is the consummate absence of true freedom, if we equate true freedom with inner peace.
However, note well that becoming non-reactive is not a sign of true mastery over reactivity. We might well mistake unresponsiveness for non-reactivity all the while repressing and denying hostile emotions within ourselves.
Relaxing into the alert bright awareness of noticing the current of thoughts instead of buying into them as real, substantial, or true, we can feel ourselves lighten, expand, and open. And that invites others around us to do the same. In that grand ballroom, real joy can manifest along with the playful gentle dance of those mysterious delights called healing, growth, or breakthrough to a deeper level of awareness.
Your feedback, comment, questions always welcome.