Practice Day–“Telling Stories”

The practice on page 289 of KTS suggests that we:

“Look for those (stories) that consistently repeat themselves.  Can you touch the energy bound up in those stories?  Can you release it?’

I’m sure I have a lot of stories.  Like the layers of an onion, my sense of self may be only stories.  But there is one particular story that has been my dark companion for more than a year.  It comes up whenever something has happened at work that stimulates the feeling that I am not appreciated.  This is actually a tendency from as far back as I can remember, but after studying “Skillful Means” and “Mastering Successful Work”, this tendency seemed to go away for many years, but has now returned.  The story goes something like the following:  I will quit, write a killer letter of resignation, and everyone will be very sorry.  Excuse me if this sounds a lot like “If you don’t let me play, I’ll take my ball and go home”?  It’s clearly a gesture of childish petulance, but it’s part of my psychic mix.  It’s strange how this little fantasy feels comfortable, like slipping into comfortable shoes  after a day of wearing heavy steel-toed work boots.  Some mornings, everything is going just fine, no problems, but the fantasy will slip into my mind and I’ll entertain it like a mindless video that I choose to watch instead of doing something that might provide a sense of accomplishment.  I’ve noticed that if I push it away, my mind becomes more energetic, focused, and then I remember that I actually enjoy my work, am glad to have the opportunity to engage with others toward common goals, and that the challenges of learning new things brings me  fulfillment.  In contrast, when I allow resentment to spawn fantasies in which I imagine myself being recognized and appreciated, I actually lose an opportunity to employ my full energy and awareness toward achieving something worthwhile.  For me this is a powerful illustration of how some stories pose an alternative to being present in the stream of time.  They sap the energy that being present allows.  They also prevent me from knowing the fellow humanity of  others with whom I share this time and space. — Michael

About Michael Gray

I first started studying TSK in the mid 1980's and have since attended a number of retreats and workshops at the Nyingma Institute, in both TSK and Buddhist themes. I participated in the life-changing Human Development Training Program in 1991, and upon returning to Albuquerque co-founded an organization, Friends in Time (with a friend who has Lou Gehrig's Disease), which continues to serve people with similiar disabilities. I contributed an essay to "A New Way of Being"--the last one in the book--in which I describe how learning to honor who I have been has broadened and deepened my openness to present experience. I live in New Mexico with my wife and two sons.
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1 Response to Practice Day–“Telling Stories”

  1. Yes, I enjoyed this crisp description. I burrow into the stuff of this story all too often. There is so much more when I realize I can choose to come out of that hole into a more open perspective. :-)

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