July 20, 2020 at 9:49 AM #8414
Stories are collections of meanings tied together in various ways. If all the elements of a story retain their original meaning, then ignoring the story would be ignoring now hidden implications that still exist.
The meaning of each thing is defined in terms of the meaning given to every other thing. The meaning of the whole seems to be adjustable by rearranging the parts, bringing some things closer and pushing other things further away. But the definition of each thing is unaffected by this rearrangement.
The challenge of this world isn’t addressed by rearranging the external parts, but redefining the meanings that have already been given. To decide to live peacefully without redefining what everything is leaves us still in a story world that will seem to never leave us alone. It is against our own definitions that we are really fighting and until we change our understanding, the battle can never end.
How can we ever win when we are really fighting against definitions? There must be a way to achieve a different understanding, but that’s the same as admitting that it is me that is completely wrong about everything, which is my ego’s worst nightmare.July 20, 2020 at 11:04 AM #8415
Yes, Aaron, it is the ego’s worst nightmare, or almost worst, to admit that everything it believes is untrue. Its worst nightmare is that it does not exist.
There is enormous freedom in realizing that not a single thought I have ever or will ever have is true. In Zen, we call this “Not Knowing Mind”. It is a mind that is completely free of all conditioning, of all attachment to thoughts and beliefs. There are no stories here or no stories that are believed in or important. With this free mind, we simply perceive life as it is without interpreting or making a story about it. We are then fully present for life in each moment.
Imagine a newborn infant seeing the world for the very first time. It is like this. Everything is a miracle. At the same time, because we have already gone through the process of conditioning and learning, we have all of these thoughts as tools. We know the names of everything and can communicate through a common language. So we both have the conditioning as a useful tool, necessary for living in society, and the complete freedom from it at the same time. In the center of this, the point where the conditioning and the freedom from conditioning converge is where we live in the world as awake consciousness.
And stories are part of this too. It’s just that we no longer believe them. We are no longer attached to them. We perceive a world of name and form and stories and also a world that is completely free of them at the same time.
It’s a wonderful life.
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