Go beneath the story ... meditation is the tool for that

I like to listen to audiobooks when I drive around the country, and on my last drive back and forth to New Mexico I listened to the Pema Chodron audiobook, When Pain is the Doorway.

At some point in the book she talks about the storylines that constantly run around in our heads. I can’t remember if she was talking about a specific painful experience or just about storylines in general, but when I got to my hotel I made these notes about what she said: “Go beneath the story ... that takes a while, and meditation is the tool for that, to let go of inner dialog and come back to the direct experience.”

That reminded me of something else I read in another book, which is probably Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now. In that book (or whatever other book I’m remembering), the author said that 99.99999% of everything in life is a dream, because everything you are thinking about at this moment has either happened in the past, or it’s something that you want to happen in the future (or fear will happen in the future). The only thing that is not a dream is what’s really happening in the present moment, and of course the present moment lasts for only an instant.

If you haven’t experienced it already, once you really experience “the present moment” you’ll find that the last paragraph is correct. (As an anti-pattern of this, earlier this morning I was shaving and thought, “Oh, I should post that story I read a little while ago on Facebook. So and so would like that.” If you are ever thinking like that, you are clearly not in the present moment.)

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