The other story

I’ve been watching and listening to the presentations from the Mindfulness Summit, which is happening over October. Well worth the time if you have any interest in awareness or consciousness.

On Friday, there was a presentation by Tara Brach. One story she told caught my attention, not for the actual content of the story but the message it held.

I’ve touched on the topic of the stories we tell ourselves before, but within the context of the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves.

Tara was reminding us that we tell stories to ourselves about others.

Mindfulness is one way of becoming aware that we are listening to our stories about people and not seeing the people in our lives.

If you’re not quite sure what I mean, think of the labels you use to describe others. Try a couple of good ones like Muslim or Infidel; Christian or Atheist; Republican or Democrat.

There is always a person underneath the label – a person just like you.

There is only one source and we all come from that source. Using different names for source does not change the nature of source or our relationship with it or each other.

Something to think about the next time you catch yourself labelling another.

Thanks for dropping by, Peter.

Who do you think you are?

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‘Who do you think you are? is a popular BBC TV genealogy program that has spread to other countries, including Australia, Canada, Ireland and the United States.

In Australia, its screening is sponsored by Ancestry where you can explore your own family history.

It seems we’re all interested in finding out about the family histories of so called famous people, going by the popularity of the program.

The success of family history sites like Ancestry suggests we’re interested in our own family histories as well. The question is – why?

Is who you are determined by your position in your family tree? 

If you know the stories of the families you belong to – does that actually tell you who you are?

Or does it merely give you the context into which you were born?

After all, you are not your grandfather – no matter what amazing things he did in his lifetime.

Maybe you’ve benefited from the material success of the people who make up your bloodline – maybe you haven’t.

What difference does it make to know that your great-great-grandmother was a slave? Look back far enough, if the records exist, and we all have a slave or two in our genealogies – that was the lot of most people in most parts of the world at one time or another. Rome might have been ruled by Caesar but it was built and operated by slaves.

Delving into your family history is entertaining, and it can reveal glimpses of the lives people lived in previous eras. We can all learn something about the story of life on earth from such research. If you have the time, the inclination and the cash, go ahead and have fun.

While you’re enjoying yourself, keep in mind that you are no more defined by your genealogy than you are by your nationality – they are both just stories.

You can choose to believe that you are defined by the stories of other people – your choice – by why limit yourself?

Thanks for dropping by, Peter.

Time to wake up

As much as we must wake up to the stories we have told ourselves about ourselves, we must also wake up to the stories we have been told by those in positions of power and influence in society.

We have been told, or should I say sold, a lot of stories to keep us subservient, to persuade us that complying and blending in with the way things are is the way to go.

  • Keep your head down.
  • Don’t make waves.
  • Work hard.
  • Play it safe.
  • Follow the rules.
  • Keep between the lines.

The Hindus in India had this down pat with their caste system, where you were born into privilege or poverty or any of the spots in between, and you were meant to stay there for life. Worth and opportunity were dictated by caste. Better luck next lifetime!

Industrialised societies of the West operate under the spell of the same story, despite all the bullshit we hear about the American dream, the land of opportunity or the lucky country where anybody can make it to the top.

Look closely. The whole system is rigged to make sure the wealthy keep their wealth and the rest of us stay out in the suburbs or the tenement blocks doing what we’re told, and being good little consumers so that we can give them back the little money they have given us in exchange for our servitude.

Time to take a look behind the curtain.

Time to ask questions.

Time to start thinking for yourself – instead of swallowing the corporate or government or religious line.

Time to take back your power and give yourself permission – instead of believing you have to have somebody else’s permission to be or do anything.

Time to stand up and be one of the players in the arena – instead of staying safely up in the stands with the multitude of the herd.

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You have to be in the arena – to be a player.

 

That’s what waking up means.

Takes courage. Are you up for it? Or will you read this and go back to sleep because it’s safer there?

Instead of going back to sleep, I suggest you read The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin. He puts it a lot more articulately than I have.

Thanks for dropping by. Feel free to leave a comment before you go.

Peter