The storytelling mind

22 Mar

An author, Arnie Kozak, of a book “Wild Chickens and Petty Tyrants” lives in Vermont and he had a story to share about storytelling. Not the kind of story like “Once upon a time…” but rather the stories that play through our mind that erode our self-confidence and distract us from what is actually happening. The conversations in our head that form larger stories and patterns for our behavior.

The author was offering a meditation retreat one weekend. On Saturday he felt there was a lot of resistance to what he had to teach but a few people were starting to open up and understand. Sun morning, he arrives early, does his own meditation and prepares the room for the 8:00 start.  It is 7:50 and he notices that no one has there yet. He thinks to himself “maybe I should have had a later start time or there was traffic”…then at 8:00 he is really worried… “Did I push the group too much and no one was coming back? Were they so upset that no one even bothered to call me to say they were not coming?”  And on and on the mind goes, weaving a story of how deficient we are. Then a few minutes after 8:00 this question popped into his head…”Did you unlock the door?” He goes to the front of the building and sure enough, the main door was locked.  He opens it to see everyone sitting on the porch enjoying the morning sun, chatting and  a few have begun their meditation in the garden nearby.

We can have thoughts that are deliberate and intentional which are based in reality of what is happening based on what we can observe.  This is different than the storytelling mind.  The storytelling mind jumps to conclusions, which often are incorrect and self-sabotaging. Storytelling pulls you out of the present. Stop the cycle of storytelling and allow a greater connection to what is happening around you instead. This allows us to be more present, more aware, and a better teacher.  Just unlock the door.

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