Several days ago, I injured my shoulder causing a moderate level of discomfort particularly when getting in and out of bed. When we are identified with a “self”, that pain is experienced as a story and not just as a pain. For example we might say to ourselves, “oh, I’ll never be able to get to sleep tonight” or “why do I always do this to myself” or “I’ve had this pain before. I know it can get really bad.” or “God, my shoulder is killing me.”
But from the awakened perspective the same experience manifests differently. There is only what is without any “me” attached to the sensation in the form of a story. Thus there is simply, “oh pain” and the body will make whatever adjustments it needs to make. No story, just what is. It might take medicine for the pain or not. It does what it does. Even the doing is just a “happening” within ongoing consciousness.
This is just a microscopic example of the difference between the habitual self and the awakened self. Note that they are simultaneous. The awakened self is always there, beneath the story making of the habitual self. Now imagine going through your day without the powerful pulling tendency to invent stories where you are always the lead character. See how we do that. See it as you’re reading this post. See it now.
If you can see it while you’re reading this post, feel just the thoughts and images happen just as they are without the unnecessary attachment of an illusory me grasping at the experience, trying to get something from it or working to find meaning. Can you feel the difference? It should be vivid.
Waking up means waking up to the falseness of the attached stories. These stories might seem reasonable in the moment, but they are monotonous and, inevitably, deadening. Once awake to their innate falseness, we are still always free to invent stories, but we know they are stories and the weight they once possessed is now gone. We are weightless. Ah, the incredible lightness of being – even in the dark storms of life.