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Nondual Highlights: Issue #2898, Saturday, August 11, 2007

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, posted to The_Now2

Emptiness from a Theravada view:

Say for instance, that you're meditating, and a feeling of anger toward your mother appears. Immediately, the mind's reaction is to identify the anger as "my" anger, or to say that "I'm" angry. It then elaborates on the feeling, either working it into the story of your relationship to your mother, or to your general views about when and where anger toward one's mother can be justified. The problem with all this, from the Buddha's perspective, is that these stories and views entail a lot of suffering. The more you get involved in them, the more you get distracted from seeing the actual cause of the suffering: the labels of "I" and "mine" that set the whole process in motion. As a result, you can't find the way to unravel that cause and bring the suffering to an end.

If, however, you can adopt the emptiness mode - by not acting on or reacting to the anger, but simply watching it as a series of events, in and of themselves - you can see that the anger is empty of anything worth identifying with or possessing. As you master the emptiness mode more consistently, you see that this truth holds not only for such gross emotions as anger, but also for even the most subtle events in the realm of experience. This is the sense in which all things are empty. When you see this, you realize that labels of "I" and "mine" are inappropriate, unnecessary, and cause nothing but stress and pain. You can then drop them. When you drop them totally, you discover a mode of experience that lies deeper still, one that's totally free.

- Thanissaro Bhikkhu, posted to DailyDharma

Ramana's great question was, "Who am I?"

Nowadays it's easy to see that we are this formless intelligence inside. Yet so many of us, in our innocence, still think that thought is thought, and that it's an object, and that it's going to be there for eternity, yacking away about nothing, bothering us.

Now, if we are not who we are, how come everything else is who they are? Wouldn't it make more sense to say, "Well, if I'm not my role, maybe nothing else is its role."

And rather than wondering what that role is, just ask it directly, "Who are you?" It's so much faster than trying to figure it out.

You don't ask it, "Who am I?"

One of thought's functions is to project onto you, because you have no form. It has to come up with projection after projection, and just in case you relax out of your role it has to create an diversion, quickly.

So ask it, "Who are you?"

Curiosity is the way wisdom gets revealed inside. It is the forerunner of wisdom. Curiosity arises and, if you sit with it, connected right underneath is the wisdom. They are not two.

Each one of these servants inside, from the most irritating of emotions, can reveal an incredible amount of wisdom when you interview it. First of all they show you their functions, and if you have ever had curiosity about how creation was created, or how bodies function, or what the nature of emotion is, or the nature of thought, or the nature of wisdom, all of it is there. These are amazing biocomputers, and you can ask and they will reveal anything you want to know.

Be really tender with thought. The pressure we put on it is extraordinary. It's only because thought is also the great mystery that it is able to function with all that pressure of disapproval and dislike and aversion and "I wish you would be quiet" - and all our rude projections: that you are not spiritual and you are the only thing keeping me from my freedom, and would you please just shut up!

That is why in all the great spiritual traditions, at their heart is tenderness - just to be kind inside, and then everything rights itself. Fear rests. Confusion rests. Everything that was perturbing the system rests. Because they know that when you are tender inside you no longer need their services, because you have returned to your true nature.

- excerpt from a Pamela Wilson satsang, posted to adyashantigroup

as a buddha's head
each ego petal opens
in surrender

- Kimly West

So far as past errors are concerned, forget
them and start afresh, as if it were your first
day in this body; but so far as your present
contacts are concerned, be kind to them, as
if it were your last day in this body.

- Paul Brunton, posted to AlongTheWay

Start walking
Towards the Light

Who gets up early to discover
The moment light begins?

Who finds us here
Circling bewildered - like atoms?

Who comes to a spring thirsty
And finds the moon reflected in it? Chase a deer

And end up everywhere!

An oyster opens his mouth to swallow
One drop - now there's a pearl

A Vagrant wanders through empty ruins
Suddenly - he's wealthy

But don't be satisfied
With poems and stories

Of how things have gone with others

Unfold your own mythos
Without complicated explanation

So everyone will understand
The passage,

We have opened you
Now - start walking...

Towards the Light

Your legs will get heavy and tired.
Then comes a moment of feeling...

The wings you've grown
Lifting you

- Rumi, posted to Mystic_Spirit

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