One of the most limiting beliefs people can have is that they actually exist.
You see, we’re always telling a story about our lives. Needing to create a personal narrative to help make sense of the world is a very human thing.
“Who am I?”
“What’s my place here?”
“Where do I belong?”
The problem is that oftentimes our story—“the story of me”—becomes so distorted and detached from the truth of our experience that it creates suffering.
It is our emphasis on the ego, which comes from a deep-seated identification with our mind, that makes life such an uphill battle for us. When we believe that we exist, that our story is absolutely real and true, we are implicitly assuming that there is some kind of separation between us and our existence.
But we don’t exist—we are the existence. We don’t experience—we are the experience.
I had a strange realization a couple of days ago. I was thinking about all of the different stories I’ve told to myself throughout my life, and how many of them were completely crumbled by later events. I thought I wanted to do this, and then this other thing happened that threw me in a completely different direction. I thought I was this one kind of person, and then something happened that revealed to me something entirely different.
I thought to myself, “Maybe there was never really a story to begin with.”
The stories we tell ourselves are meant to act as a medium between our fragile egos and the chaotic flux of the universe. There will always be a story—what we should try and remember is that the story isn’t really real; its only purpose is to connect us with the eternal vibrancy of life. We are a part of life, and the more importance we place on the story, the less we’ll be able to get in touch with the innate power of the universe.
There was never a real “me.” The truth is, I am existence and I am experience. There was never any separation between what I am and the raw energy of life. I am an expression of that energy, and my story is just a lens that allows me to tolerate the vibrant light of my own being.
We should allow ourselves the emotional space to discard our story, as well as our ego, when it stops serving us and move onto the next one with grace. This is life: moving from story to story. When we identify with our story too much, it becomes progressively harder to let it go. This just reinforces the separation we feel between ourselves and our immediate experience.
I’ve found that there is only one way to let go of our old story and dissolve the barrier between self and other: find ways to stop thinking so much! The hidden problem of modern society is that we’re all addicted to thinking. Don’t deny it. If you’re not addicted to thinking, try stopping for a few moments. You can’t? Of course not.
So few of us have any control over how much we think because it has become so ingrained in modern life. We think because we have to, not because we want to. Many of us would do almost anything to escape the chaos of our own minds.
The more modalities we have in our daily lives that connect us with the present moment, the better we’ll feel. Maybe this is meditation, some form of breath work, reading, making art, or journaling. The goal is to engage in any activities that work against our conditioning and allow us to step outside our ego.
Let’s bring our attention to what is, to how we feel in the moment, and to what our deepest, heartfelt longings really are. The more awareness we bring to our thoughts, feelings, and actions, the more freedom we’ll feel.
At the end of the day, there’s nothing more important than feeling free. Maybe we’ll move our bodies around a little bit, dancing in our living room. Maybe a bird will fly outside and we’ll take a few moments to truly notice it. Who knows what will happen when we go beyond our personal story and move into the realm of pure experience.
The possibilities are endless.