We know that stories and story-telling have long been a central focus of human experience. It began with our ancestral forebears. The evolving consciousness of Homo sapiens set us apart from the other animals of pre-history and gave rise to, among other things, cognitive abilities, spoken language and the capacity to imagine.
With the capacity to imagine came questions: Who are we? Where did we come from? What is this life about? Small groups of early humans would probably gather around the evening fire as the tribal shaman told stories of many things including archetypal origin stories that imagined the distant beginnings of the tribe. Each shaman, each tribe and later, each culture, had its own unique stories that sought to answer those seminal questions.
Similarly, as individuals, we each have our own stories. These are the stories about our life and our experiences. Some of these stories are wondrous re-tellings of adventures, triumphs, and loving connections. Other stories tell about our short-comings, disappointments, failures and our wounds. It is generally important to each of us that we have opportunities to tell these stories. Especially to tell the stories of our emotional and psychic wounds and to have our stories authentically received by others. That is one of the ways healing occurs.
But in awakening meditation, we relate to the stories of the mind in a radically different way. In awakening meditation, we realize that our egoic mind is continually weaving stories. These stories seek to assign egoically-oriented meaning to what we perceive and experience. In awakening meditation, we are not interested in these endless stories. What we are interested in is what truly IS.
The focus of awakening meditation is to move beyond the limited realm of the mind to an awareness of awareness itself. To rest in the emergent NOW as it continually arises and morphs and reveals itself over and over, moment to moment.
Our intention in awakening meditation is to not become distracted by the stories of the mind. We seek to acknowledge, but not to listen to the ever-present voice in our mind. Sometimes we may think that the voice is our real self … but it is not. Our focus is to allow the unending stories to be just as they are while not getting caught in their never-ending siren’s song that tends to lull us back asleep.
Our purpose is to awaken to the awareness that is beyond cognition, beyond words, beyond imaginings. Stories still have their place in the world. After all, what would we do on a given evening without our dinner conversations, our books, our movies, or our Internet?
But in awakening meditation we pause. We briefly take a respite from the stories that otherwise fill our lives. We rest in the silence and in the truth of what IS.