As with many people, I go through times
of sleeping well and other times of tossing and turning throughout
the night. I’m
into one of those tossing and turning times, for whatever reason. As
I sit this morning and prepare to meditate, I’m aware of the
opportunity to be present to my experience without having to judge
it as better or worse. It’s just what it is. I’m
tired and yet I don’t have to make up a dramatic story “about” being
The old me would have begun internally moaning and groaning
about how hard the day would be, or how beleaguered I felt about not
having slept. In this moment, as I sit here with the morning
the way it is, I find that I can notice I’m sleepy and yet not
add anything more to the story. For sure, I have a preference
this morning! I would much rather be my usual, wide-eyed-and-bushy-tailed
self. But, I find that, beyond the preference, I’m not
giving much energy to not having slept.
The reason I mention all this is that
the experience is quite different from how I would have been
a number of years ago, and offers me an example of how practicing
being with what is as it is creates a new muscle, a greater equanimity,
a psychological response that I didn’t
used to have. I’m aware, this morning, of the power of
not dropping off into any kind of additional thoughts *about* what’s
happening and, instead, just encountering the moment as it is and
For this week’s experiment, I invite you to pay attention
to the kinds of stories you create in response to the experiences
that come your way. On the most mundane level, for example,
when you stub your toe, do you go into a story that says something
like, “Oh, I’m so stupid. I can’t even walk
across the room without hurting myself!”, or “Why do these
things always happen to me?” Or, do you stub your toe
and tell yourself, “Oh, I just stubbed my toe. Ouch!”,
and that’s the end of it?
Give yourself an opportunity to play
with the difference between having experience that just moves
through as it is and having experience that then becomes the beginning
of a whole train of internal thoughts and reactions.
The first kind of experience happens, leaves
its mark or impact, and then moves on into the next experience, or
into doing whatever has to be done to cope with what occurred.
second kind of experience becomes an emotional drama that tends to
validate limiting beliefs we hold about ourselves and the world – generally
beliefs that we picked up along the way in childhood and that we took
in without awareness, as we learn language. It’s this
second kind of experience that tends to keep us stuck in old responses
and reactions. Awareness of this process is a constant invitation
to drop into the present moment and let go of the drama we create
with our thoughts.
As with all experiments, allow yourself
to play with this one. We
are trained to create stories about, and feed, the experiences, thoughts,
and feelings that come our way. The point of this week’s experiment
is to strengthen your awareness of the ways in which you feed internal
experiences that actually make you feel worse, rather than better.
an opportunity to drop into the present moment and notice what you experience
when you allow yourself to notice just what is, and then to notice how
the experience moves on when you don’t latch onto it and add more.