2022-07-11 Stories (1 of 5) Source Stories
3:19PM Jul 11, 2022
Welcome to this Monday morning, dharma talk, beginning of the week. And as usual, there'll be a five part series. And today, I'm inspired to have the week be about story. And to have a five part talk, using the word story as a kind of a
each letter just stand for some aspect of story. So today, it'll be source source story. And then trapping stories, stories that trap us opening stories, the stories that release us from the drop, and then his re releasing the stories. And then there is for why I like to to use the word yes. And what that means we'll have to wait until Friday to understand the yes in relationship to this theme of stories. And the Buddhism this insight Vipassana tradition, historically, has put a lot of emphasis on the fourth theme of the week, releasing stories, letting go of stories, learning how not to live in stories as we meditate. Now to live in this storytelling mind, discursive mind that's talking to itself and thinking and, and, and learning to release. And that's certainly a very important part of this path of mindfulness practice, and something that we learn. But sometimes it gets overdone, and such a way that we overlook, really understanding deeply the nature of how stories work in our lives, and their centrality and their importance. That not a few people have pointed out that stories are really crucial to human society and human beings. It's how we understand ourselves, how we form identities. The stories we tell our children are not just stories, they're often passing values and understanding of self and understanding of the cultural self, how we fit into society, and how we are. And the stories are what conveys all kinds of cultural values and identity identities of how we fit into this world. And, and religions have been pointed out that as much as we might focus on religions as being a set of doctrines, that for most people, what is most of animating and engaging with people around religion is a stories of a religion, that somehow we identify with the stories or there's a narrative there in which maybe people feel they can participate in or they enter into or inspires them for how they live or that their lives. Because life is a narrative life is, in a sense, could be something we explained through a story of what happened. And if a friend asks you, how did it go today, then you tell them the story of parts of the day. And, and they have a bit better sense of how you are perhaps it's much clearer. So stories are quite important. And the some of the stories that we carry inside of ourselves, that influence us are somewhat subconscious. We don't always know think of it in terms of a story. And so I call this a source story. And, and maybe it's a bit dramatic, to use this as an example. But it speaks, I think, to how central stories can be or events, narratives that really shape a person is that. For many years, I've been going to San Quentin State Prison, and haven't done it now next last few years because of the pandemic. But a visit a particular program, a year long, kind of mindfulness based program.
anti violence program, helping certain prisoners deal with their violent past deal with their own past and their difficulties and really confront themselves in a very deep way. And the group of prisoners about 30, who do the program every year, are really are becoming each other's challengers and each other's best friends supporting each other them to really take a deep look at their lives, at the origins, the source of the violent life that they lived. And most of the men in the group of 30, have killed someone. So it's pretty bad what they've done. But what's remarkable is to be there and discover that each of them had a source story. And original event that happened, that became the primary pain that they carried with them, that became was the was the the pain from which they they acted violently in the world, unresolved festering pain from some events in their life, a story, often having to do with a parent often having for these men having to do with a father who was violent at home, who was violent to them violent to their mother, or a father who was killed. And then just, you know, the trauma that a young child that they went through, it was so difficult, no, no, and then supported them, no one helped them, they were left with their pain, and started acting out. And to get away from the painter, to somehow try to feel better. And this this very dysfunctional way. And without these prisoners, taking a deep look at the source story, the source event, and really coming to terms with it, the transformation out of their violent life can't really happen. And it's remarkable to go there and watch to see them grapple and struggle with this and, and come out to the other end. And some of these men that I've met the you know, that they become deeply transformed and changed, it's inspiring to see. So each of us probably have some source story, maybe, maybe a series of stories that have created an A attitude, and orientation, a belief about this world that we live in. And, and those stories, it's kind of a story that let that conditioned us and we carry that with us. So the source story is something like the we, when we see the world and go outside, we might see everyone is dangerous. There's danger everywhere. And no matter who we meet, the first instinct is to be afraid of them to be mistrustful on them. Certainly, it's wise to have some distrust of some people and be afraid of some people. But to have that as the policy, the de facto orientation probably was something that happened in our youth, that some event that conditioned us that led us to believe that something may be dangerous happened to us. Other people might have a story of hope, that they've somehow taken in a story that's been told over and over again. And they have idea that there's a hope of getting somewhere of attaining something. Sometimes the hope is unrealistic, the hope of becoming rich, the hope of becoming famous, the hope of becoming a movie star. And so the so what's a story we've been told? So what's the source story of your life? What have you what kind of orientation story attitude policy do you carry with you about other people about yourself? Are those stories? Happy stories? Are they debilitating stories? And people who investigate the narratives that people live their lives by, sometimes have divided narratives into three types, the narrative that there's some kind of normal life to come back to that's been disrupted. And the story is how do we get back to what we had. The other story is that the world is dangerous and chaotic, and it's not going to get any better. And it's just going to get worse. And so we have to do the best we can to protect ourselves and to keep the world at bay or keep others at bay or
and it's all about our own protection. And third story is that of the quest that yes, The world is maybe dangerous, it's chaotic, it's things change all the time. And there's no normal to, to go back to. But there is a possibility of, of engaging in a journey to freedom to peace, to transformation to wisdom, to make the best out of the situation, and be personally transformed, to become a better person that's independent of the situation that we're in. And so the quest is the one that I think is most empowering. And the most realistic, the idea of returning to some pristine state is never going to happen when life is always changing. The idea that it's all going downhill from here that it's a world is chaotic, and a terrible place, we just have to do our best to protect ourselves or, or be afraid or be angry or that everything is also not necessary. So it's it's very debilitating. The idea that I'm chaotic, that I'm a mess, that I'm somehow incapable or a terrible person, that's a story that, that has no hope and no possibility in it. And, and then there's the quest, and that we don't get bogged down by the stories. But we're the story beyond stories of story out of the debilitating stories. It's a story to discover how to be free. So, the source story, this brief words that I've met, I've said today, I don't know if they, you know, speak well enough for your particular situation. But you might spend some time thinking about what is the source story? What's the what what stories, what events, narratives, situations in your life? Either a particular one or some kind of pervasive kind of ongoing way of how you're raised something? What kind of worldview to Southside provided you, what kind of philosophy what kind of story about what this life is about? Have you learned? And is there something that is deeper than maybe you're fully conscious of, and it might not be a big story, it might just be an attitude, or a belief and approach to how we are emotionally as we go through the world. But to see the source or story. And maybe there's a source story that that is the the origin for so much of how you live your life, understand yourself, who you are. And so, story, and I'm doing this theme, partly, I think, inspired by a continuation over the last little while talking about emotions and anger and grief. And it's maybe a continuation of this emotion theme. Because the chronic emotions of our life, most likely are connected to some story. What is that story? And how do you tell that story? And is it the right story? Does the story change over time? What's the source of story for the story you tell of your life? So thank you, and tomorrow we'll do trapping stories how some stories trap us in their, in their grip in their, their in their web. So thank you