Me and my story Print E-mail
News - Final Word
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 00:43
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“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
So saidFrench novelist, critic, and essayist Marcel Proust about a century ago. All we need to do to find these new landscapes is to let go of the notion that we need to seek it outside of ourselves.

Any conventional search is usually defined as a journey with a goal at the end. You start searching for something you do not have, and then find it and live happily ever after. But we know that once you find ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ might be, you already want something new. “When you get there, there’s no there there,” someone once said.

Author Eckhart Tolle writes that this applies not only to a location in space, but also to time: when you get to the future, you find yourself in the present moment. So the future never comes.

Most people are constantly telling themselves stories of how they’ll be happy at some point in the future when they reach some sort of goal they’ve set or get something they didn’t have previously.

Sometimes the story is about how they’ll never be happy due to something that happened in the past. According to Eckhart you have to let go of your story so that you can return to the present moment.

The million dollar question is, of course, how to do that. Eckhart’s advice is that you need to start paying attention to your thoughts and then realise that you are not those thoughts. If you never realise this, you won’t be using thought; it would be using you.

“Can you feel that there is something in you that . . . needs the drama in order to assert its identity as the victorious character within that theatrical production? Can you feel there is something in you that would rather be right than at peace?”

Eckhart says that by listening to the voice-that-wants-to-be-right without judging it you’ll realise that there is the voice and “here I am listening to it”. It is only then that you become aware of the stories you’re constantly telling yourself. Actually you reduce your entire sense of identity to a story you keep telling yourself.

American self-help writer, Guy Finley says that everyone tells themselves a story – believing that their suffering somehow benefits them. However, it is never in your best interest to suffer, no matter how inwardly convincing it may feel that you will be betraying yourself or someone else if you don't.

Guy says that suffering proves nothing. It doesn’t prove that you are right, responsible, important, that the world is against you or that someone else is wrong. Neither does it prove that you know what it means to care about yourself or others.

What it does prove is that you haven’t seen through your own ideas about caring or you wouldn’t be so careless with yourself. It also proves that you will go to any lengths, including self-destruction, to prove that you are right in getting sucked up in the drama of “me and my story”.

According to Guy you can only stop doing this once you know what you have been doing; once you realise that the drama of what you resent about someone or resist about some event is so exhausting simply because it is very hard work to keep making something so big out of what really amounts to nothing.

Eckhart writes that after two ducks get into a fight they separate and float off in opposite directions. Then they flap their wings vigorously a few times to get rid of the surplus energy that built up during the fight and float on peacefully, as if nothing had happened.

However, if the duck had a human mind, it would probably tell itself: “I can’t believe he just did that. Who does he think he is? The nerve . . . he has absolutely no consideration of others. He thinks he owns this pond. I’m sure he’s already plotting some new way to annoy me. He’s not getting away with it; I’ll show him.”

The lesson we can learn from the ducks is this: flap your wings. Let go of the stories you’re telling yourself and return to the present moment. Then ask yourself, if I let go of my story, what am I now free to be that I couldn’t be before?




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