Archive for October, 2014


How much time do you spend in Storyland?

That is what I call the mental realm that contains our hopes and our dreams and our fears. Storyland is where we play back our internal movies over and over again. We can even give them cinematic titles: “The Monster in the Next Cubicle”, “The Golden Dream of Tomorrow”, or how about “Terror in the Household Chores”?

Some are silly, some are deadly serious; all are fantasies. Yet we treat these stories we tell ourselves as if they were true, and can even get physically ill over them.

The first step on the path to mental and emotional freedom is to recognize when you are in Storyland, and to mentally step back from it. Storyland is where you add values and judgments to things, and one of the lynchpins of mindfulness is to detach from those judgments. The technique in the 3-step zen method is to imagine that all those values and judgments are on a transparent overlay that you have projected onto reality, then peel that overlay back. You now find yourself in the open, in-this-moment mental realm I call Orientation. No longer floating in the haze of Storyland, you are clearly aware of your immediate surroundings without any judgment of them.

There’s nothing wrong with Storyland! But when you realize you are there, do you think it might be time to leave?


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Right now my cat is asleep on my lap. The sun is brilliant on the bougainvilleas hanging off the garage roof. Two birds are singing out in the garden.

Then I think, “remember to be mindful!”. I adjust my legs and back so I’m sitting upright, then rearrange my mental state. Mindful! Mindful!

What happened to the cat, the flowers and the birds? No more awareness of them, just of trying to be mindful. Once again, too much mind!

So once again I let go of that mind. Now my cat is purring, the bougainvilleas are swaying in a slight breeze, and there is silence in the garden.

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No Idea

Here’s a link to a nice collection of photos and quotes: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.266761626750503.60273.265946723498660&type=1

I especially like the cartoon in which one person asks another, “Why are you so happy?” The other throws his hands in the air and with a big grin exclaims, “I have no idea!”

You can quickly see the two meanings of this reply – “I don’t know why I’m so happy, I just am!” or “I am happy because I’m not holding on to any ideas!”

Both of these are fine – it’s great to happy, no matter how we get here! But the first “just happens”, while the second is the result of cultivation. When you pay attention, you find that the first case of happiness results from getting what you want. And further, when you lose that treasured thing, or get tired of it, the happiness goes away. But the second case happens when you are free of ideas of wants and needs. “I have no ideas, so I’m free!” This is a buoyant kind of joy rather than an “everything is going my way” kind of happiness.

This isn’t ignorance. Those who are blissfully ignorant are quite happy – until Reality sets in and they get crushed. This “no idea” means being free to deal with Reality exactly as it is right now – be 100% involved in taking care of business so that when you are finished with any task you can let it go.

I’m now done with my blog post so I can let it go and be happy!

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