The Universe is made up of stories, not of atoms. -Muriel Rukeyser
What lies just beyond your story and how do you awaken to it?
Your story, the one about who you are, who youre supposed to be, and why things are happening the way they are in your life, has a tremendous power to influence your life experience.
Byron Katie, author of Who Would You Be Without Your Story, writes, I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but when I didnt believe them, I didnt suffer, and this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional.”
Katie discovered that if youre not experiencing joy, its because your story about whats supposed to be happening is not matching your experience of whats happening. You are believing that your own thoughts are real,” an illusion that spiritual teachers have pointed out throughout history.
Stories are the way we relate to the world. Stories give context and meaning to our experience. Stories are so imbedded in our nervous systems, that they influence the way we live on every level.
How to Get Beyond Your Story: The 5 Practices That Lead to Awakening
If your story is that youve been wronged in life, someone else is the cause of your pain, and youre too far gone to heal, then youll spend a lot of time suffering.
If your story is that everything happens for a reason, youre always in the right place at the right time, and every experience no matter how painful at the time, contains a gift, then youll spend a lot of time in joy.
If you want more joy in your life, then adopting a new and improved story about who you are and why youre here on this planet can help you experience it. But how do you do you actually do it? How do you get a peek at what exists beyond your thoughts, so that you can actually choose which thoughts to believe?
The right conditions for awakening can be created in your body and mind through tools, processes, and practices derived from virtually every culture of the world. The Dalai Lama calls them technologies of transformation and they consist of:
- Physical Practices such as Yoga, and diets free of animal products have been used for thousands of years to create an optimal environment within the body for awakening.
- Energetic Practices such as Tai Chi, Chi Kung/Qi Gong and Tantra have long been used to induce expanded consciousness states.
- Emotional Practices such as dance and expressive arts have historically been a path that can pave the way to awakened states.
- Mental Practices such as mindfulness practice, studying sacred texts, or contemplating paradoxical Zen Koans have long cultivated the mind to allow for awakening.
- Spiritual Practices such as meditation and prayer have traditionally been a route to self-less states of consciousness which transcend the rattle of the cognitive mind.
Every tradition has combined these various practices in some way throughout the ages. The timing, sequence and combination of these practices varies but the objective to awaken beyond the self, beyond the identity, beyond the story remains the same.