“The greater part of human pain is unnecessary.It is self-created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life.” ~Eckhart Tolle
Several years ago, I ran into a friend who had just finished a month-long silent meditation retreat.
I asked her how it was, and as she pointed to an imaginary banner across her forehead, she said, “If there’s one thing I learned, it’s ‘the story is extra.’”
Have you ever been caught in a story? Here’s what it looks like:
- Worrying about what might or might not happen;
- Thinking about what other people should or shouldn’t do;
- Believing our own internal voices that criticize, doubt, shame, and judge;
- Gossiping to friends about other people’s stories.
Did you ever consider that these stories are extra?
When we’re attached to stories, things feel complicated.
What if we didn’t refer to stories to define our reality…
Who would you be if you didn’t worry constantly? What would you do if you didn’t listen to the contents of your mind?
If you look closely enough, you will notice an effortless unfolding of life that is happening. Your body walks into the kitchen to make a snack. You get into the car, turn on one of your favorite podcasts, then drive to wherever you’re going. You get dressed, breathe, move, chew, sit down, stand up, blink…
Whether or not you’re consciously aware of it, life is happening—without any stories whatsoever. It doesn’t need anything extra to unfold.
Can you look outside your mind to tap into this effortless flow?
I had a conversation with someone recently who was filled with doubt. She was trying to make a decision about whether or not to accept an invitation, and she went back and forth in her thoughts, terrified that she would make the wrong decision and miss out on something seemingly important.
It was clear to me from the get-go what she really wanted to do, but she took the long, circuitous route through the stories in her mind to get there.
There is a simplicity to life if we let ourselves see it…it’s beautiful…and perfect. We become aware of it when we don’t listen to the mental noise in our minds.
We stop thinking we know the answers and instead take a breath and open to the truth of the moment. We stop grasping for control. We start taking our preferences—and even our fears—lightly. Because when we attach to them, we suffer.
We trust that the only way to peace is to put the personal stories aside and surrender fully to this flow…as it is…
If the story is extra, then where does that leave you? What do you notice?
You’re here, present and alive, available to what’s happening now—the actual felt experience of this now moment. You’re open, receptive, quiet…and peaceful.
Can you feel it?