We recognize the location of the story in our flesh and emotions. From this recognition choice is born. We have most often either chosen to continue the given story or to rebel against that story. Naturally we have been thrilled to realize that we can choose to live a different story, one we feel more in alignment with. There is yet another choice. We have the capacity to take a moment and release all stories. We can experience what it means to be nobody, uncovered even by our primary identity.
Underneath all the stories, we can experience that deep core of ourselves that is historyless, genderless, and parentless. Naked. That presence is unencumbered by relationships and has no past and no future. In the core of our beingness we are free of definitions. Unencumbered by our definitions we experience ourselves as conscious intelligence aware of itself as open, endless space. This instant of being storyless is an instant of freedom. For even if our story is filled with light and beauty, to the degree that we define ourselves through that story, we are less free.
After such a moment, stories are never the same. They can be present, as they most likely will be, but they no longer have the inherent power to define our reality. The inner wealth that is available to us is no longer limited or augmented by particular inner or outer events. While the personality or the “creatureness” of each individual continues just as stories continue, the underlying awareness, the true “I” has come home to itself.
After such a moment, choice is present where before we were blindly choiceless. When we are not blinded by the stories that have been created for us, or the stories we create, we can appreciate the mysterious vastness that is holographically present in each moment of any story. We can discover what is and has always been here, throughout whatever rendition of story was being lived or believed. Each of us can take any story from our past, and we can discover the treasure that was hidden only through unquestioning belief in narrowly focused assumptions of the time. Stories can then be profoundly appreciated as displays of multidimensional life expressing itself in all forms.
What is the frame or context of your life? You don’t know how your story will end, but at this point you can discover what your story is about. You can ask yourself how your inner sense of self is expressed, or has gone unexpressed, in the structure and message of your life story.
How does a particular success or failure fit into the whole of your life story? We tend to focus on and magnify particular events, but if we see them as part of a continuum, we can see the trajectory of the arc of our life story. Seeing in this way does not mean attempting to take control of the story. Instead, this is an invitation to tell the truth about what your story has been teaching so far. It is an invitation to recognize how your story fits into the larger context of what is important now to you as a human being. It is an invitation to discover how awareness and inquiry naturally broaden, deepen, and expand your own story so that it demonstrates precisely what needs to be learned. Since stories both archetypical and banal ultimately teach us something, investigate what your story teaches. Regardless of where you are in your story—still at the beginning, the hopefully long middle, or near the end—what bigger story does your life story contribute to?
Just becoming more aware of the stories we live, along with their infinite plotlines and subplots, begins to wake us up. In lucid dreaming, we become aware of ourselves as both in the dream story and outside it. In lucid living, as in lucid dreaming, we are no longer tyrannized by the stories circulating around and inside us. The demon in the nightmare can be faced directly; the flying dream can be enjoyed in its ecstatic moment. As we face ourselves in our stories, we have space for perspective. We can stand back and see our personal story as part of a bigger whole.
What is your story? You discover your story by noticing what you are telling yourself over and over. Notice what you tell yourself about your past, your present, and your future. In order to have any lasting impact, our stories have to be told and retold. All stories have a narrative. Your narrative is what you tell yourself through thoughts and images with accompanying emotions. What is your narrative? You can check right now. It is bound to be familiar. It is natural as human animals with developed cognitive abilities to generate and follow the narrative of our stories. It certainly is not wrong to do so. But it is limiting. It limits attention to events that are forever changing. To discover how your attention is being spent, discover what you habitually say to yourself. Listen to your narrative while suspending belief in it.
There is great and mysterious power in knowing the potential gift of your life as a teaching story. This book is not written to teach you skills to create your version of reality. You are already doing that with your internal narrative. It is an invitation to be quiet and unidentified in the events that are appearing in and around your consciousness. In this quiet, there is a revelation impossible to discern if your attention is caught by the noise of identification. The revelation does not bestow greater power to create a better story. It is bigger than that. Revelatory power can take the events of your life as they are and show them as essential to your own awakening as well as your contribution to the awakening of all humanity.
It is a power that shifts the story line from one limited to “about me” to one about all. With that shift there is both a profound surrender and a closer attention to how all is unfolding. There is paradoxically a disidentification from any character and a truer welcoming of all aspects of each character.
In profound, redemptive stories there is a moment of surrender to a deep command of being. This is not esoteric. It is concretely grounded in all who live fulfilled lives, however their fulfillment may be described. Whether it be religious, artistic, scientific, or ordinarily personal, there is recognition of something unarticulated by intellect. Surrender to this is surrender to the consciousness of being rather than to the conditioned structure of thought. With this deep and true surrender, stories shift in their perspective. With this shift you are no longer veiled from yourself. You are no longer bound by whatever inner or outer definitions may appear in your life story. All definitions and stories arise from the silent core, and in surrender all are then pointers to where they come from and where they return at their end. In surrender all is transparent from the luminosity of your naked self.
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