We could say that all we know about ourselves cognitively are stories we tell ourselves. These are not necessarily obvious to us because they play so constantly. We respond to the universe through the stories that filter our experience. How do we work with this since we can’t think ourselves out of this box? Transparency hints at a different way of relating to stories. Many stories we identify with are cultural views. Stories in and of themselves are not a problem; they are a feature of what it is to be human. It’s when we hold onto stories that they capture our energy and attention so we don’t come back to the present and to the next event gifted to us by the universe. Transparency involves listening, seeing, generosity of spirit to others and ourselves, without reactivity to a story. This is not trivial work and a tool we have is self-observation, which is an energetic and not an analytical act. One feature of mature practice is relaxation of the tense form of attention we compulsively hold. This can allow for humor and for different kinds of spaces or chambers to be created. Belief is an emotional relationship with a lie. When a story turns into a belief, we can’t put it down. Resistance manifests differently in the three centers that are discussed in the Gurdjieff work. It is a rich vein to mine to reclaim energy of attention we’ve invested in story. Conscious suffering is the willingness to be present with resistance. Practice can be seen as an offering rather than as a story with an agenda to wake up. Creativity is an end in itself, the universe doing what it most wants to do. When not bound by our stories, we can accept the universe’s invitations to engage in higher work. Rob and Stuart run Tayu Meditation Center and founded Many Rivers Books and Tea in Sebastopol, CA. They invite spiritual teachers, practitioners, and authors to articulate their stories on The Mystical Positivist podcast.
Western Baul Podcast Series
Cultivating Transparency: Realizing the Emptiness of the Stories You Tell Yourself and Others (Rob Schmidt and Stuart Goodnick)
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