A day without stories

Stories

A couple of years ago I attended a dhamma talk by the Bhikkhuni Venerable Madika. And one of the things she talked about the really left a lasting impression on me was how she spoke about dropping the stories we have, stating that if you drop the stories you eliminate most of the suffering.
Ever since then, I have become much more skillful in doing this, but have also become increasingly aware of how much other people cling to these stories, and spin them out of control. Often making a mountain out of a mole hill, simply by letting their minds get carried away by these stories.
I have observed that, for many people, the stories seem to add foundation and substance to their difficulties. But in reality, it is the fear and lack of confidence which create these. And not once have I seen anyone feel better or more peaceful because of this development. Instead I can see the stress, worry, fear and uncertainty become the most powerful force in their lives.

Can any of us look back at these stories and see if they were ever truly beneficial to our state-of-mind, or offered us any peace and well-being? Because I highly doubt that a single one of you would agree with that statement.
So with a clear awareness of this truth, what if you were to try to drop the stories? Just for one day, be extremely mindful of your thoughts, and as soon as you see a story developing, just drop it. Let it go!
Think of that story as a poison, and be aware that it is not good for you, not healthy and not wholesome. A story is not something you want or need, and will certainly harm you.

While knowing that this can be a real challenge for most of us, you must also know that none of us are too old to change. And by seeing that this is destructive behavior, you can find the motivation to cultivate your presence. Without the stories or drama, just being fully alive and aware.
Remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And this can be your first step toward peace, liberation and a life free of stories.

May you be well, happy and peaceful.

  • jekail

    What is interesting about this area is that we humans tend more toward negative internal stories which, as you say above, cause all kinds of mental suffering.  Why do we do this?  Are we masochists?  There is a saying in the newspaper trade that if it bleeds, it reads.  This means that readers are more attracted to negative news – murders, fires, and other catastrophes – than positive news – achievements, births, parties.  One explanation that makes sense to me is that attention to the negative can save your life  while attention to the positive does not.  Taking note of bad things and avoiding them helps in your survival more than the good things.  So thinking along these lines, it makes sense that we are more apt to simulate events in the future as being negative.  Going overboard makes us miserable but I really think that our brains (the unconscious part which is 95%) don’t care – they only care about keeping us alive.

  • wpankey57

    David,
    Spot on observations! Though I still get caught up in my stories, and the stories of others, I have found that by following and practicing the Buddha’s teachings I’m not caught up so often or for so long.