Let’s start off with a simple quiz: describe what you ate for breakfast this morning. Did you list the items as though you were looking at a shopping list? Did you mention how delicious or not one particular dish was? Did you include mentioning where you were sitting while you ate or something you saw while chomping down on that piece of rye toast?
Coffee or Tea, Anyone?
Everything you mentioned about your breakfast gets rolled up into the breakfast burrito of a story about that meal, and it starts to inform your experience of eating, not just that meal but the next one and particularly the next breakfast you have. It might even start to set up how much or little you enjoy that next meal. If you didn’t like this breakfast so much you may start hoping that the next one will be better. Or if you really enjoyed it you might feel more disappointment when the next meal doesn’t live up to your expectations and remembrances of the past one.
Meals are simple things right? Now think about how many other aspects of our lives we often make up stories about, that we then act upon. We buy into our own tall-tales as though they, and we, are infallible recorders of events. As though our minds never embellished or overlooked aspects of events as they occur.
“FREEDOM BEGINS FOR US WHEN WE START TO SEE THE STORIES FOR WHAT THEY REALLY ARE, SIMPLY STORIES THAT WE’VE TOLD OURSELVES AS A WAY TO MAKE SENSE OF THE WORLD. ONCE WE WILLINGLY BECOME AWARE OF OUR STORIES WE HAVE THE CHOICE TO ACCEPT, CHANGE OR REJECT ANY PARTICULAR FAIRYTALE.”
I don’t know about you, but I love having choices and when I can understand that the thing I am telling myself is only a story I’ve made up, I get the choice to discard part or all of it in an attempt to see the reality in front of me.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes the reality isn’t as pretty as the story we’ve made up, but when we really see what’s story and what’s not, we get to choose what we want to be guided by, and choice always allows change to occur. So in acknowledging the stories we tell, we create spaces for ourselves to step into reality, and in doing so we practice peeling away another layer of illusion that keeps us from being in the world in a real and fully present manner.
So the next time you find yourself eating breakfast, try a little experiment. See if you can describe it without judging it or interpreting any part of that event. Notice what might change for you not only in how you react to the meal itself but also what happens the next time you sit down to enjoy a meal.
And don’t forget to have the occasional cookie just for fun.