Whenever we as individuals or societies find ourselves in a double bind, which is another name for quagmire, the only way out is through a shift in consciousness. It is common experience that the mind that gets us into a double bind cannot get us out because problems that appear to have no exits are problems only in the context of the way we perceive the world, or our story.
We all have layers of stories piled up in our consciousness, but most are like sediment that lies beneath the surface of awareness. A story’s strength to shape us lies in how much of the story is beneath the surface of consciousness. We are only aware of the tiny tip of our stories, which float in our consciousness like huge icebergs. When our ship sinks, it’s because we ran into a sharp edge of our story that was below the surface of our perceived world.
Our top story is, of course, our personal story, and that is always about how we perceive ourselves, such as am I a controller or a victim, aggressive or passive, happy or sad, guilty or innocent, and this personal story will frame the way we interpret situations that happen to us.
Going deeper we have our gender story, our regional story, our national story, and racial story, our religious story, and our human story. Wow, what a layer cake. The world each of us experiences is cooked in this recipe, so that the same facts will have a different taste to people with different stories.
Is it possible, one would ask, to taste the world as it is and not as it is cooked up in our limited perspectives? Experience filtered through a story is like eating a gourmet meal with a cold. Stories are veils of the mind, or shaded glasses for the eyes.
So how does yoga contribute to these observations? Active meditation, where one practices continuous watchful awareness of the thinking mind, begins to slowly uncover the stories buried in our perception, and as these veils are discovered the act of seeing them are the hands that lift the veil.
Like a groom lifting the veil from the face of his bride, when we remove the veils of our hidden stories we see ourselves in the brilliant light of an innocent consciousness. No longer do we need to shape the world to support our separate identities and perspectives. No longer do we have to carry the burden of our opinions and beliefs, always having to defend them and feeling crushed when they are not respected.
No, when our storybook is shut, we are awake and aware and every perception we experience is a guide to our essential ground of being. When the story is over, we are no longer imprisoned in the past/future of thought. We are at home in the present moment. The function of the story is to give us a dream from which we can awake.
Posted under General Observations
This post was written by ed on February 28, 2007