As I mentioned last week, we are here, in the present, as a result of our collected experiences. They have influenced us, and it is easy to see them as the only Truth of our existence. But our stories can become heavy and fixed, keeping an overlay of suffering in our lives. As we begin to become more aware of ourselves and our thoughts, we can ask:
Are we more than our stories? When we begin to drop our stories, who do we become?
We are our bodies.
Whenever our stories become activated, whether it is by our own telling or outside circumstance, there is a somatic sensation. And when we drop the story, we feel what our bodies are saying. We tune into what it needs, and what it is trying to resolve. We become present and listen. And when the activation softens, we feel the life and hum of our cells.
We are our souls.
While our bodies are imperative to our liberation, we are more than this. Our souls are beyond earth-time, and have lifetimes of wisdom and purpose that is available to us when we are able to listen into the silence. We are here in this human experience to learn and grow and expand our beings. Our stories help us grow, unless we build a monument to them.
We are something intangible.
Years ago, when I was deeply immersed in Buddhist practice, I spent a month on the side of a mountain practicing something called Mahamudra. It's a practice that is difficult to put into words (and deserves a much longer explanation). It is looking directly into the space beyond silence, into the clarity of our awareness. It is a space beyond the stories of our bodies and beyond the stories of our soul. This pristine space, when we catch glimpses of it, helps us understand the emptiness and transitory nature of our lives and each moment. It helps us see the emptiness of ourselves, not in a nothing sort of way, but in non-fixed way. We are ever arising.
We are all of these things combined. And more.
While separating out these various layers can help us for understanding, we are all of these things continuously. During this life, our bodies and souls are intermingled and dependent on one another. We have our cells and the emptiness in between. Knowing we are simultaneously all and none of these things. And as we begin to heal from our stories, we can use our tendency towards creating them to empower. We can choose new stories to tell.
What do I want my story to be?
One of resilience and courage? Of grace and softness?
While we cannot always decide the particular way our growth will unfold, we can decide which stories we give our attention to. Healing always requires engagement, but only you can know when that engagement turns to gripping. Decide the stories you want to tell.