I heard a woman talking about building her whole life as an homage to her deceased husband. She bought a house in the town where, before he died unexpectedly, he was planning for them to move. She has regularly spent time there with her children throughout their lives, “to build memories,” she said.
She spoke about these things always with grief, never with happiness.
This is a person who created a framework out of a past experience. She used it to shape her entire life and the lives of other people as well.
I would say that she is captivated by her life story. But that is not unusual. Many people are.
Of course, not all stories are mournful. There are a lot of them that are happy and uplifting. When people tell stories about their lives, the stories can have any kind of energy.
The point is not which kind of energy resonates in a life story. The point is that people often mistake their life story for their identity.
In the article, “Enlightenment: Why Bother?” on this website, I wrote about “the essential issue of enlightenment: a realignment of identity. Instead of being aligned to the story of your life, you align with eternal being.”
Your life story is not who you are. In essence, who you are is pure timeless consciousness.
The enlightened experience is consciousness established in timelessness. When you experience this, you won’t have the urge to repeat and re-live the story of some past event that made you feel vividly alive in either a positive or negative way.
It’s timelessness that spoils the life story party. Stories are about the past. Because the past is an aspect of time, it can’t mix with timelessness.
And there is something more beyond that.
The enlightened experience is that your life is not yours.
When your life is not yours, there is just life.
And then your life story also is not yours. It is just a story.
A stone falls into a pond. On the water’s surface, ripples spread out in circles, echoing, echoing, echoing, repeating, repeating, repeating.
Be the falling stone, not the ripples. Be the cause, not the effect. Dive to the depths. Leave your story behind you.
When you are captivated by memories, you forget the rememberer.