I’m finding that there’s nothing quite like blogging to make me more aware of, and accountable for, my thoughts and behaviors. Writing something on the Internet, particularly when it concerns my so-called ‘flaws’, functions as my own personal self-magnifying glass.
After a recent post touching on judgment, I found myself more closely examining my inner judge. I began to really pay attention to the various people I encountered on my daily walks. And I noticed that, if left unchecked, my mind could fabricate a story about each and every one of them.
My mood + my memories + my projections + my fears + their appearance instantaneously combined to formulate a complex (and often unconscious) narrative about who ‘they’ were, and how I would or would not relate to them.
Judgment and story often go hand-in-hand, and stem from the ego – from fear and separation. The ego constantly seeks to maintain control over a fragile and tenuous ‘reality’ it has created for itself through memories, beliefs, wounds, opinions, and external messages (to name a few).
Our personal narratives form our identity, and define our sense of ‘place’ – or not – in this world. The ego is terrified of letting these stories go. Without them, what is left? Who are we? What do we hold on to? The ego is constantly on the lookout for whatever does not conform to its worldview, and seeks to protect itself from any perceived threat. (Enter the story.)
The heart, conversely, comes from a position of implicit trust (love). Not blind trust in everyone and everything we encounter – discernment is essential – but a quiet knowing that we are safe on a much deeper level than any fictional imaginings can provide. Where my ego views a possible enemy, my heart sees a potential friend or ally.
I know that underneath all my stories, there is a deep longing for human connection. A genuine desire to release all the opinions, thoughts, and judgments I carry around. I know this because my heart immediately perks up, expands, warms, opens, and brightens when I receive an unexpected smile from a stranger. In that instant, story doesn’t matter.
It’s amazing, really, how simple yet profound a smile can be. It neutralizes. Erases poisonous thoughts and judgments just like that [snap]. It’s magic.
On my morning walks I often look around and think, Each one of us woke up today, ready to do it all over again. None of us is done yet. We’re all still supposed to be here.
I want to nurture this vision of you as a kindred journeyer in the experience of life, navigating the mystery in their own unique and appropriate way. A divine being, masquerading as a human for a little while.
When I let go of my fixed notions of what ‘reality’ is, and how things ‘should’ be within it, I can approach you with an unclouded heart. I can drop my armor, meeting you with receptivity and openness. In my friend Sadee’s words, with boundaries instead of barricades.
When I release my own stories, perhaps I won’t need to project any onto you. We can each choose to be whomever we want. And we both walk a little freer.