Gather round ladies. It's story time... Waiter, could we get a Zen tea, an Advaita straight-up, and I think I'll have a Mystic Mocha shake... And if the guy over in the shadow box would like to join us that's fine too...
Today I spent the day with my mother... I will spare you the details of my relationship with my mother, only to say that our "story" together still hooks me. It is a challenging and often frustrating relationship. I think at least one of you out there can identify with that :) And the older my mother gets (she's 81) the more she seems to be steeped in her stories. Conversations with her now have become one story after another (and often repeated) of how she has been victimized, of how she thinks people are out to get her, how others are not doing things right - translated, not her way. The me vs them stories, and other assorted tales which always seem to be a criticism of others. My mother is not the reflective type, so there has not been much awareness around all this. And I find I am getting irritated with her stories and storytelling of victimization and martyrdom. And this takes me to where I really want to go, which is that *I* am still caught in my stories. And so I’ve been steeping on this lately.
Most of the spiritual teachers say that when we "wake up" to who we really are, the stories dissolve, and we no longer *participate* in the story. That has not been *exactly* my experience. I know who "I" am - the pure Knowing Awake Aware Spaciousness, some call Presence, Beingness, etc. There has been some dissolution of old stories, but there are still stories - which my husband does a real good job of pointing out to me, by the way. I guess that's what husbands are good at - story detectors - probably because they do such a good job of telling them too! :)
On August 1 I wrote in my journal:
"I realize that I am still creating stories! And I realize how I get caught up in other's stories too... It's still about a "me" when I *know* it is not about me... hmmm. A story is about a "me" needing, wanting, grasping after something and not getting it and telling a story about that. It's a "me" and an "other" who is preventing the "me" from getting what it *thinks* it deserves - whether it's material possessions, validation, approval, acceptance, gratification, a relationship, etc. It's still the "me" seeking for something as proof of its existence, even if the story is about me achieving enlightenment. There has to be a *belief* in a separate self, a me, in order for a story to be told, to be believed, in order to be impacted or effected *by* "others, or events or circumstances." oooo - now we're cooking.
It seems we connect through our stories. In my family it's complaining *about* others and life. We've done it as a way of connecting with each other for years.
"So what happens," I pondered in my journal, "when I don't engage in another's story - or my own? The story dissolves, loses its power, impact, becomes a non-issue. AND - there is the risk that the relationship will dissolve as well. That there won't be anything to talk about - no connection." And maybe that's why it's hard letting go of story, because we use story to connect to others, to get a sense of self in relationship. So what if, there were no stories - where would we meet? How would we relate? Can we meet without our stories...?
A new insight also emerged in this steeping... "It seems it's really all just a story, no matter which one we're *believing* or telling - mundane or 'spiritual.' Once the 'Storyteller' wakes up, you realize it's all just a story. And it appears that the dream story continues. The only difference, it seems, is that you *know* it is just a story arising *in* Awareness. From the space of Pure Seeing - one *sees* the story for what it is - Awareness experiencing Itself *as* the story..."
One of my favorite teachers, Scott Kiloby, says: "Stories are not independent of Awareness, but you no longer *identify* with the story. Awareness *appears as* story. We can entertain the story without identifying with it."
And a blog I read recently, called Just Rest, put it this way: "It is a myth to believe that stories will no longer coalesce. It is just that as it is seen that these stories have no existence independent of Awareness, there is less and less identification with any of them, and a greater experience of Spaciousness.... Practice resting in that which is aware of it all."
My experience is that when I am resting in that space of Aware Presence there are still stories, but they don't matter anymore. I'm not *invested* in them, reacting to them, believing in them. And when I find myself hooked *in* a story again, it's like being consciously unconscious. Sounds strange I know. It's like being *in* the story, but aware that I'm in a story. Very interesting experience by the way :)
And so I wonder, can I meet others in that space of Pure Awareness, the place of no-story, no me, just Awareness, just Life expressing Itself, purely and simply without the need for a story of "me"? Or does it matter? Does that also mean no reading the tea leaves, no cock-tales or messy mystic meanderings?!
Heart Smiles - MeANderi