Not Sticking to My Story

When we sit to meditate, thoughts happen. That’s the nature of the mind and, as Joseph Goldstein says, “The mind has no shame”. A lot of the time in our engaged life, we may not notice that a thought has arisen and that we’ve let it start running the show. The beauty - and, sometimes, the torment - of meditation, is that we can become more aware of when we’re thinking. When we become aware of a thought in meditation, we often think that we have failed somehow at meditation. In reality, by being aware of the thought, we can step outside of it, gain a bit of distance from it, and decide what to do with it. For example, thoughts that start with “I am…” are often great indicators of stories that we tell ourselves. These stories run in the background and can affect the way we live our lives, like the pernicious malware that slows down our laptop and jams up its processing capacity.

Luckily, meditation helps us notice these stories and even gives us the option to Force Quit if we choose. 

For example, the other day I was driving home from the grocery store, replaying scenes from the day, and I became aware of having the thought, “I am an introvert”. I became aware of the thinking, aware of the thought, and then aware that it had the makings of a story, given the “I am” beginning. In that moment of awareness, it stopped running the show, and I became choiceful. I decided to poke at the story a bit to test it out. I had “always” “known” I was an “introvert”, right? But what does that actually mean, I wondered. As Tara Brach would say, “It feels real, but is it true?” Digging deeper, I realized that at the end of long days with lots of meetings, I can feel depleted and I crave stillness and alone time for a bit. Aha! Suddenly, the limiting belief of my introvertedness had become a useful set of information. Armed with this information, I decided that in busy days with meetings, I would try to build in small pockets of time to ground myself, even if it means just using the walk from the car to the meeting to look at the sky, feel the wind on my face, or notice the motion of walking, rather than waiting until the end of the day to use stillness to soothe my overloaded system. There were other observations, too, none of which would have been made if I hadn’t been able to see the story, step outside of it, and poke at it a bit.

We hope that you will join us this week as we bring attention to our breath, and celebrate when we notice ourselves thinking.

May all beings everywhere, regain the power to step outside their stories and into their present moment,
Your friends at CMP

Community Sits This Week
Monday 6:30 PM Ridgefield Library, 472 Main Street, Ridgefield
Monday 7:30 PM Sama Yoga 45 Grove Street New Canaan
Tuesday 1:00 PM Ferguson Library, 1 Public Library Plaza, Stamford 
Wednesday 12:00 PM New Canaan Library, 151 Main Street, New Canaan

Upcoming Events:
Darien Library Thursday Night Sessions @ 7 PM starting May 2nd! 
Spring Silent Retreat! Saturday May 4th. First Congregational Church of Stamford. Click here for details and registration.
Copper Beech Institute’s Brandon Nappi will be leading an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction class at Grace Farms. We are not involved in this program, but we and many others have found the MBSR program to be really healthful. Click here for details.