“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.” ~Eckhart Tolle
We all have a story. Or two or five or 50. Stories we've accumulated in our lifetime, limiting untruths that we have held onto, let define us, limit us, betray us, protect us. These are often things you were told as a child by a teacher or a trusted adult.
"You will never get a job in......you are just not academic."
or maybe "you did not get the legs in the family"
Then there are the stories we tell ourselves
"Things never work out for me" or "That's just how I am" or "I can't do that" or "I am always unlucky"
I have taken on many great limiting stories. During my mid 20s many men I loved died. My first serious love committed suicide, another died in a car crash when a drunken driver mounted the pavement, another died in a shooting accident. "Poor me. Every man I love, leaves me." I lived that story for five years. It took the Africa Yoga Project teacher training to highlight for me that it was a story that I had let define me. There were more. Stories I had held onto, resentments, labels. I was encouraged to look deeper to see if there was a sneaky back hander involved. What was I getting out of keeping this story. When we can identify this back hander for not letting go, for allowing the problem and for not moving on we are on the road to freedom.
Attachments themselves aren’t much of a problem, as long as we are free from the relationships we form with them. When we identify with objects and experiences so strongly, we fall into the illusion that they are a fundamental part of our being. They are not.
There is so much we can learn from nature and wildlife. Sitting in the bush watching animals, feeling the sun on my skin, standing on my verandah listening to the bird song and walking bare foot in the garden. Nature lives in the moment. The tress don't forget how to grow based on a bad experience they had when they lost a limb. An antelope drinking at a water hole sees its friend get taken by a lion, it does not avoid all water holes for life. My cat just recovering from a sprained shoulder and an incredible amount of pain still jumps up on the fence. We can approach our experiences similarly, remembering each moment is an experience and not a defining pattern to be continued and carried throughout our life.
What we really are has never been accumulated, it’s not an acquired self or developed habit. We are more than our stories.The question then changes from Who we should be? to What remains when our story ends and before it began?
Who was there before the experiences, concepts and identities that we let define us? What happens when we let go of every perception of who we are? What remains is eternal and spacious, a formless identity free from the limitation of time. What remains is freedom.