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Personal Story

A common practice recommended for spiritual seekers is to explore the questions "Who are you?" or "What are you?" This inquiry reveals that our ordinary sense of self is primarily an autobiographical construct that fails to penetrate into the depth of what it means to be a human being. In other words, we tend to describe ourselves as consisting of the history of our physical circumstances, talents and shortcomings, experiences, etc., that collectively become ‘My personal story.’ We constantly refer to this egoic sense of self as “I”

I find Gail Brenner’s definition of ego is helpful: “The ego is another word for the separate self. It’s the psychological sense of ourselves as a person in the world with a given identity. This identity is a collection of stories, memories, beliefs, desires, fears, judgments, and feelings that we believe to be true about ourselves.”

From birth, our identity is shaped by a combination of genetic predispositions, cultural influences, and various external factors that gradually weave into the fabric of our self-narrative. Once ingrained, these thought patterns are continuously reinforced through the repetition of our personal stories. However, many of these stories are inherently limiting and often inaccurate. As Jac O’Keeffe reminds us, "You are not who you think you are." There exists the potential to transcend your personal story and discover your true Self.











The biggest challenge for most spiritual seekers is
to surrender their self-importance and
see the emptiness of their own personal story.
It is your personal story that you need to awaken from in order to be free.
~ Adyashanti

The revelation of Being Here while residing in a human body is infinite. The dimensions and textures of ‘here’ only seem to expand with each breath and deepen with each day.  Every moment of being alive is truly a miracle: An opportunity to open and receive the blessing of discovering the most intimate relationship we will ever have.
But unfortunately for most of us, no one told us this. No one could show us how to receive and celebrate the blessing of being truly alive. Rather, most of us inherited the DNA that carries the tragic cultural narrative: life is just something you are here to suffer, conquer and survive.
Add to that the fact that developmental trauma is a given for most of us, by virtue of where we are in evolution. No matter which way this narrative has played out in your personal, cultural and ancestral story line; the crux of it lands in each of as an unconscious core wound of separation from the Source of who we are.  When our native innocence is not met, seen or affirmed in early life, a core misperception of our true identity ensues.
~ Ajaya Sommers

We are trained to know who we are and what reality is through our definitions, through others' definitions, through cultural parameters, religious parameters, and even spiritual parameters. We limit ourselves when we rely on knowing ourselves indirectly, through predetermined thought.
When I met Papaji, he told me to stop. When I let that stop in, I recognized that he meant to stop every habit of defining myself. He meant to stop creating and recreating myself. What a monumental task that is, and yet it is absolutely immediate and simple. The truth of who we are is freshly revealed when we take responsibility for its direct discovery.
~ Gangaji

Whatever mind presents is just story. Seeing it as story is one thing but really to recognize it as story removes its life-force. When you recognize a scenario as story, honor your own spiritual path by always dropping it. When we chose a story knowingly, having seen it is a story, and we still find it entertaining/interesting then we are turning our back on the truth.
~ Jac O'Keeffe

The world is nothing but my perception of it. I see only through myself. I hear only through the filter of my story.
~ Byron Katie

When you are present in this moment,
you break the continuity of your story, of past and future.
Then true intelligence arises, and also love.
~ Eckhart Tolle

Life will always touch you in some way .. but who you really are cannot be touched.
Opening wide to allow the paradox of this means you become vaster than who you think you are. And in this vastness, you live from the space within which everything happens.
Now you are free of your story.
~ Amoda Maa Jeevan

In the story of you, you believe you are going somewhere, to some future moment of awakening. But you are not going anywhere. More precisely, there is no "you" to go anywhere. There is only thought happening.
That thought paints a picture of past that you call, "Who you are." It paints a picture of future that you call, "Who you are going to become." But you are not thought. You are not the past or the future. Because you are not thought, you cannot find yourself through seeking, which is a dream of thought.
In seeing that the spiritual search is happening all on its own, there is the possibility that awareness will start to see it for what it really is -- a dream of thought. When awareness sees the dream of thought known as "you and your spiritual search" and sees that it is happening spontaneously and involuntarily, all of the mental and emotional effort drops out of the search. There is a natural resting into what is.
~ Scott Kiloby

Oftentimes when we are caught in the story it's very hard to come to the simplicity of the sensory present moment experience. But it is important because in the noticing of what is here, the mind can have a moment of rest. And that very moment can be a gateway to presence.
~ Neelam

First we recognize awareness. Once we get used to that, quite naturally if we're willing, we'll put less emphasis on story and we'll start to enjoy the soothing presence of aware-being. When we get used to that, we fall in love with it (ourselves/essence) and there is non-referential, yet crystal-clear bliss.
~ Bentinho Massaro

You need to hear the truth about yourself as frequently as possible, because your mind is so preoccupied with false self-images.
~ A Course In Miracles

Language helps us interpret the world in story. We tell ourselves stories all the time. The categorizing of information in terms of opposites: do or don’t, win or lose, good or bad, like or dislike, and so on. These dichotomies lend themselves to value judgments. Every belief, every value, is another story. See that language is a tool. Pick it up and set it down. It’s an interpretation of the world, of you, of life. It’s limited and inaccurate.
~ Jac O' Keeffe

The ego sustains its separation from life by telling itself stories about whether life is or is not trustworthy, or whether life is essentially good or bad. All these conclusions comprise our personal myth about life, and they are the prism through which we experience life. They perpetuate the ultimate myth, which is who I think I am—the imagined ego. So can life be experienced without any conclusion, any judgment, any story? What is life then? Dare we experience life with such directness and simplicity? Who are we without our personal myth about ourselves and life in general?
Do not answer this question in your mind. Do not say ‘consciousness’ or ‘awareness’ or even ‘love,’ because these are stories too. Just live in the questions. Let the questions reveal reality beyond all descriptions.
~ Adyashanti


Satsang is not an invitation to get more for "me." There are many opportunities in the world for that. Satsang is about the ending of the preoccupation with "me-ness." Mysteriously, in the ending of the personal story, you experience completion and fulfillment.

~ Gangaji

Because you see thoughts, feelings and sensations as inside you, you identify with them. . . .Take a deep interest in your own story. Face your reactions. Every time you face your reaction you cease to be an accomplice with it and without fuel it fades away.
When you live free from all reaction you find yourself in a new dimension that is always interesting. In life you must make a choice and the choice should be to live in beauty. So become more acquainted with beauty.
Consciousness is not divided, it is the timeless source from which the waking, dreaming and sleeping states emanate and into which they are reabsorbed. It is the background to the thinking state. Consciousness always is.
~ Jean Klein

You can't make a decision. You can only experience a story about how you made it. Decisions make themselves; they are happenings; they come when the time is right. Who would you be without the story that you need to make a decision?
~ Byron Katie

Individual differences are not better or worse, merely different. If we forgo judging, we come to understand that each of us has a unique predicament that requires a unique journey. While we share the overall journey, everyone’s particular experiences are his or her own. No set of experiences is a prerequisite for enlightenment. People have become enlightened in all ways. Just be what you are.

The experiences along the way are not enlightenment. So if you don’t see lights or meet remarkable beings on other planes, or if your body doesn’t shake, or if you don’t feel the greatest peace, or even if nothing seems to happen in meditation, don’t compare or judge. Just keep going. To compare yourself with others is to forget the uniqueness of your own journey."

~ Ram Dass 

see also Your Stories


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