Topic 8 – It’s My Story and I’m Sticking to It

Posted by on October 21, 2012 in Series-The View from Here | 18 comments

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Episode 8Unknown to many of us is the fact that our lives are the product of a story, one we began creating as soon as we had words. We came into a world that bore no resemblance to our prior existence, and we found ourselves ensconced in a fleshy container called a body. Initially, we were preoccupied with learning how to operate in the silly thing— move our arms and legs, test out facial expressions, then learn to walk and talk. Meanwhile, all around us were the comings and goings of other humans and their interactions with us. Sometimes those interactions were pleasant, sometimes frustrating, and sometimes downright frightening. We had no idea what people were on about, but given that we were being forced to develop our intellect, with that came a desire to understand. The problem was, however, we couldn’t. So each time we found ourselves in yet another confusing situation, we indulged in a version of “let’s pretend,” and we began to tell ourselves a story about what had just happened and what that meant about us and them. It then felt like we knew something, and we began to develop a loyalty to this story because we like to understand, and this story we were creating allowed us to believe we did.

A Simple Example: You have a mother who is very controlling (for reasons she believes, rightly or wrongly, are correct and helpful). Every time you, as a child, attempted to asset yourself, a natural part of growing up, you saw yourself as thwarted. You may ultimately dislike your mother for her actions, but the real damage resulted from the belief you developed about life and you in it; a belief that said you were powerless in the world. That then became your story-line  that you were helpless and powerless. It determined the attitude you brought to each new situation, the default you went to as soon as something appeared out of your reach. Once you had established your story-line  you then began to collect evidence to support that plot, because the last thing we want once again to experience is the confusion and chaos of not understanding. In a very short time you and your story were synonymous in your mind, and the die was cast.

Don’t take my word for it. Go see for yourself. What’s the lament you most commonly make about your life? What do you see happening over and over? Someone looking for love who always ends up with the most wretched mate? Someone who’s kind and helpful who feels perpetually unappreciated or used? Someone who tries so hard but inevitably ends up defeated? Start with a familiar pattern and ask yourself, “What is this truly all about?” If you sincerely want to know, your intuitive wisdom, a reliable source of truth, will bring it to you to see and understand.

For all intents, everyone is living a story with no idea that is so. If you believe your true identity is that of Charlie Jones or Susie Watts or whatever you are called, you are living that story. There is a way to get a tiny bit of distance between you and your story, to raise some healthy doubt, sort of like pulling sticky paper off its backing so you can see this phenomenon for yourself. Begin to notice how many times you hear yourself say one thing, while watching yourself act completely opposite. You might say you believe in open, honest communication and yet see yourself rarely saying what you feel. You may say you desire what is best for your children, but see yourself directing them toward what feels best for you. That contradiction speaks to the clash between your story and your true nature, and that is the fatal flaw in ego, the one that can show you the door to freedom. Each time you nail one of these contradictions, you inform yourself of what is false about your nature and what is true. That is the beginning of enlightenment. It’s a lot of work, but it’s a great deal more work to live from the illusion of your story, to be Don Quixote fighting the demons of your childhood imagination.

Since you “wrote” the story, you can re-write it. And this edit involves using the erasure end of your pencil. To know what to edit out and what to leave in, it helps to have some idea about the truth of human nature, however. So Topic 9 – Expanding the Playing Field will begin to show you what that looks like.

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18 Comments

  1. Wow, this post came at a great time for me. I get this concept and have actually been working through one of my stories. I learned about the desire to hold on to our stories about ten years ago, but hadn’t drilled down past the most obvious of those stories for myself. Your examples are great because they show just how pervasive this dynamic is – existing in almost everything. This perspective will make my untangling of my interwoven stories easier. Thanks, Christina.

    • You’re a brave lady. Don’t tell yourself differently. We either operate from our story, or we are present(in the moment) and exist beyond it. The point to unraveling the stories is to see that they indeed are made-up, meaning, are not representative of the moment in which we are playing them out. They are like elaborate fantasizing, so elaborate that they look truly credible. By unraveling them, we prove to ourselves what a hoax they are, until we reach a point where they cannot fool us anymore. Each time we take one and dig down to the place where we see it as a product of our basic “story-line”, we have begun that which will ultimately lead to that story’s demise. When a story becomes no longer real to us, we stop talking about it in our head, giving us a chance to notice that where we exist, always have existed, always will exist, is in the moment. That is a significant part of how we transition back to our real home – the moment.

      • I really understand and desire the status of no longer talking about any number of things in my head. I have been able to put few things to rest bu there are legions more to quiet. I’m lucky in that I’m naturally introspective – it’s not painful for me, but rather freeing. I get so much out of your posts, Christina. Thank you.

        • I am merely a resource. The real beauty is that you are able to use it, and for that I am delighted. You see clearly. They are legion, but we start by working on the familiar ones and that makes holes in the heretofore well-honed story. The more holes, the weaker it gets. And the way I look at it, what else is there to do on planet earth but that which returns us to wholeness. It is our task here. Getting done is not our goal; being is.

  2. I had never thought of it before, but our story is written by everything we see, touch, feel, and read. And most of the story is carved by our experiences, our memories, and our emotions. And thank God we can re-write from time to time. I’ve worn down a lot of erasers and prayed that a lot of people had short memories.

    • This is going to sound like your editor go hold of this. Our story is written FROM everything we have experienced. And ALL of the story is carved by our experiences, our memories and our emotions. There truly is no Caleb as you think you know him. There is only a compilation of stories. When we finally write ourselves out of those stories and write everyone else out of them as well, they collapse like the ghost at the gate, and we are free to come from a sense of ourselves that is true. Thanks, Caleb for engaging with this blog in a way that helps us all.

  3. I study history because I believe that my story began long before I was born or even conceived. Living without studying history is like walking in on the middle of a movie. How can you know what is going on if you don’t know what happened before you arrived?

    • The analogy is well taken, Jack. The history we stumble onto as we explore our own stories, is the personal history of those with whom we were interacting, especially as a child, to start with. We come to understand what drove them and realize they too were merely a product of their story. When we understand their story, which is possible to do if we are willing to be honest with ourselves, we can grasp why they did what they did. That puts us in a position to re-write our history and make it a true accounting, rather than just another story. You are right, Jack, understanding history as it truly happened, gives us are only chance to alter our story.

  4. I’ve long thought we needed a new story, Christina. Thank you for giving us the tools to see where it fell apart and be able to write it properly!! Wonderful thoughts here…

    • Hi dear friend. So good to have you stop by. In fact, the true story is already written. It exists as I write and you read. All it needs is for us to highlight the present story and hit delete. But it’s not quite that simple. Instead, we take them apart starting with the major ones, because we must be convinced they are not true. Since these stories feel like life itself to us, we are loathe to pull them down. But if we tease them apart, and see they are in no way a true representation of what happened, we eventually lose interest in them. Since they have no life force of their own, purely a fabrication of our minds, once they are no longer fed by the energy of our attention, they become mist in the wind. Then what shines through for us is what it FEELS like to be of our true nature, and we’ll begin to talk about that more in upcoming topics.

  5. Thank you, Christina and *everyone* who has been leaving such great comments. I’m really enjoying this discussion. And this part is sooooo awesome: “Each time you nail one of these contradictions, you inform yourself of what is false about your nature and what is true. That is the beginning of enlightenment.”

    Keep up the good work, Christina, and here’s to keeping up the hard work on all of our paths to enlightenment. It is *not* just a cliche, and we *can* get there.

    • Welcome and thanks from us all for your lovely comments. Yes, it is possible.We can free ourselves from this state of conditioning called ego and all the pain it brings us. It is not an idle hope. It is just not yet a widespread conversation in North America.

      • I love the way you bring up these points, Christina, and all the comments on this thread. I’ll just add yet another dimension to your “inherited story” concept: not only are we influenced and shaped by our childhood experiences and by our interaction with our parents – and them before us with their own parents – we are actually the prisoners of our DNA! I’m not joking! The latest findings in epigenetics are very striking indeed and suggest that our DNA not only ogverns the color of our hair but our temperament, the way we approach problems and challenges, in short who we are.

        This opens up the fundamental question of freedom. When we make a decision, are we making it with what we’ve learned in ourlife, with our logical mind informed by experience? Or are conditioned by our DNA?

        • Hi Claude. Good to have you visit. Epigenetics is a new branch of genetic science, but it is not talking about new aspects of the body. They have always been there functioning as ordained. So it doesn’t change what we’re up against, it only describes what is happening. It doesn’t make up less free than we were before epigenetics arrived on the scene nor make us any less responsible for what is ours to do in the name of change. Since we don’t have a seeming direct line to our genetic makeup, we have to find the approach that we can effect. And individuals have been doing that for millennia. If anything, epigenetics just makes it clear how very sensitive we are to the world around us and how quickly change can be created.

          • If I understand you right, you’re saying that even if science has decoded it for us, the situation remains the same, it’s in our hands to handle. I’d love to believe that. Because that implies freedom of choice. But I think that this is precisely what we may not have. I’m not saying we don’t for sure. I’m saying we MAY not have it! I guess you’re much more of an optimist than I am, you’re a CAN DO person, that’s great!

  6. I used to concern myself with the notion of free will or free choice, but as I’ve gone down the road called my Life, it’s no longer an issue, because I have a greater understanding now as to our real nature, than I did earlier on. I have been walking gently toward this topic in this series and will get there in a few more. But what is true for me is that “we” are not our bodies. “We” operate in that form. “We” are a manifestation of All That Is and thus we have choice. What is there to stop us? Our problem is that we’re still at the fiddling stage of becoming aware of how to operate in this rather complex form called human being. I certainly don’t ask you to accept any of that. I arrived here after years of tearing down that which obstructs us from knowing Reality. And I’m still a mere beginner. So it is not my optimism nor my can do nature that has me say what I’m saying. It is a lifetime of exploration into the cosmology of Life. And I’m delighted you’re willing to take this walk with me now, especially now that I’m alluding to such things as this. Come on, give me your hand and let’s keep going.

  7. Very informative post Christina. Unlike traditional Shamanic traditions of storytelling, the personal “I or my” story is ultimately an illusion created by our mind. This filtered perception of reality is a sort of fiction created to adapt to life’s circumstances for the benefit of the small i/ our ego. A village elder or shaman’s storytelling encompasses the collective consciousness of their entire people’s history, values, beliefs and actions which are directly rooted in their reality, manifesting their way of life. They actually know who they really are… imagine that! Just wanted to distinguish the two, so we can get down to the one. A reality check: ask yourself how you are different from a pre-programmed robot? When was the last time you stopped thinking, referencing everything from your past conditioning? When was the last time you had an original thought? Who are we really, as a people?

    • Hello again. Great to have you back. Yes, those who live as truth, speak truth. It can’t be otherwise. Those who live in the illusory story of life, tell tall tales. There is no moving forward, however, without pulling that story apart sufficiently to see that it is an illusion, otherwise we continue to believe it is true. It is our most deeply entrenched habit.

Thoughtful comments are always welcome!

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