If you’ve done any self-work to any depth, you’ve undoubtedly run into our story-telling nature. We love a good story. But sadly, we also like lousy stories, stories that bring us pain and sadness. People have different names for this inner story telling. Things like core beliefs, the shadow story, unforgiven hurts, basic fears, and so forth.
With inner work, we discover our lives are running largely on the basis of old unquestioned beliefs that inform our reactions and responses to life. And more, they define our choices and self-defeating behaviours.
Some of those stories are obvious to our perceptive friends because we tend to tell our stories to anyone who will listen. This helps us justify ourselves. But more importantly, this telling also makes it more true for us, more real. If we stop once in a while and listen to what’s coming out of our mouth, it can be surprising what we don’t even realize we believe.
This is not to say we shouldn’t tell our story or that our story is wrong – only that we should be aware of what stories we’re telling ourselves and others. Some may be fine. Others, less so. By our middle years, we can build a pretty big pile. How much does the pile stink? That’s where stuff like The Work and Sedona and mindfulness gets us into asking the truth of our beliefs.
Coming to terms with our unforgivenesses and fears can be profoundly healing. Life altering even. I’ve seen people overcome life-threatening diseases by healing some of their wounds. Some healers can suggest the nature of the wound simply by where the disease is manifesting. It’s not always easy to face your seeming demons but without that, they will haunt you.
For example, in The Barn Dance, Jimmy lives decades with the pain of having failed his wife. He spends years looking for a solution, not realizing the key issue is forgiving himself. Forgiving ourselves can be the most difficult of all. Much more than forgiving those we feel have wronged us. Yet profoundly easy if we are simply willing to openly see what we hold within.
In the depths of time, when the value of consciousness we’re able to reflect takes an apparent fall, it can be deeply disturbing to a psyche used to bathing in the light of wholeness. Many feel cut asunder and, like a young child misunderstanding their parents upset, blame in some way.
With the lower awareness, this unforgiveness becomes subconscious, creating secondary and tertiary levels of stories and beliefs to explain this shadow feeling. Perhaps we carry a deep unresolved anger that we point at our parents or society or ourselves. Or we carry a sense of blame or judgment. Or perhaps we carry a burden of shame or grief. These can be found to come back to that core wound of yore.
Such feelings play out in all sorts of stories of abandonment, unworthiness, or distrust that get layered into events in our lives. We point to events in our past as proof of the truth of our beliefs, not recognizing they only prove our pain.
As we go deep enough to find the core identity under the ego self, (post waking) we discover the framework of our core story. The core drivers of this life.
In one of lifes little ironies, at the bottom of our pain is a person and a story that defines who we are. And why we’re here. The project is not to end the story. It is to clear all the noise that has built up on top of it. Then we find the story of our dharma or purpose, the one that doesn’t end until everything does.
We live in a story within a story within a story. When we get a better sense of this, we can play the game much more easily and stop stepping on our own toes. A dance is supposed to be fun, after all.