Good Stories and Bad Stories
|Written by Gina Lake
|The egoic mind is obsessed with its story about how life is going for me. Have you noticed? It’s always checking to see how things are going for me and adjusting its story about my life accordingly. When something “good” happens, the story is a good one; when something “bad” happens, the story turns bad. On some days the story of me is going great, while on others it takes a terrible turn! This telling of stories turns life into a rollercoaster: One minute you’re up (happy), and one minute you’re down (unhappy), depending on how your story is going or on what specifics in your story you are focusing on.
When the moment is stripped of any story about how your life is going, then life is pretty simple and uncomplicated. Things are arising in the moment—sensations, thoughts, sights, sounds, intuitions, inspirations, urges to act, desires, and feelings. All of those things are life happening. We respond or not respond to these things, and that is part of life happening as well. Part of what shows up in most moments is also some kind of thought about how things are going. Often it’s a story about not having something, wanting something, or not wanting to do or experience something. Even when the story is a good one—“Things are going great,” “I’m making lots of money,” “I’m feeling wonderful,” “I have everything I want”—there is still only real life, showing up the way it does, as sensations, thoughts, sights, sounds, intuitions, inspirations, urges to act, desires, and feelings. The same things need to get done (e.g., take a shower, do the laundry, go to the store, walk the dog, do your work, etc.) whether your story about how life is going is a good one or a bad one.
Most would agree that a good story is preferable to a bad one. Good stories make us feel good, and bad ones make us feel bad. Stories color our experience of real life: When our story is good, we don’t mind taking a shower, doing the laundry, going to the store, and doing all the other things that are part of real life, part of the moment. We feel happier and act more loving when our story about how our life is going is a good one. When our story is a bad one, whatever is showing up in life tends to feel like a burden and a problem, even things that might not ordinarily be. We resist life. We feel bad, and we are likely to behave badly toward others. More...