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Melli O'Brien



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When Our Stories Hold Us Back

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness.

Today, I'm going to talk about

when our stories can hold us

back and how we can change that.

So an often overlooked fact about

the human mind is that it often

misrepresents the truth or as my best

friend's little girl likes to say, it

can be a liar, liar, pants on fire.

Our minds like to convince us that

they are just objectively observing

the world and reporting it back to us.

But the reality is is that

our minds are not very good

objective observers of the world.

In fact, they're actually

constantly interpreting the world.

The mind is making up stories

about everything that's going

on around you all the time.

So it takes in the information

perceived with your senses and

then your mind decides what to tell

you about what you're perceiving.

So example, you know, you, you see

your boss walk by and your boss

looks at you briefly without smiling.

And your mind says, your boss

secretly thinks you're an idiot.

He's probably waiting to fire you.

You wake up one morning and you

feel a little bit lower on energy

than you did the day before.

And your mind says, oh my

gosh, you probably have cancer.

You know what this is like, right?

You see the mind has been programmed

by evolution to be constantly on

the lookout for threats, food,

opportunities to reproduce.

And part of your mind's job is that

it's constantly making all these

snap judgements about what things

are and what they mean, and also

what you should do in response.

That's why it's always analyzing,

judging, making up stories, commentating,

reacting, jumping to conclusions.

Now, this was great for surviving

in the world for our ancestors.

Not so good for keeping you

a happy, objective, contented

human being in the modern world.

The problem is, is that our minds

do not interpret these things

with perfect logic, wisdom.

And self-compassion.

You might've noticed.

You know, how many times, for

instance, have you judged someone and

found out later you were completely

wrong about them or the situation.

So listening to and just believing in

all the stories your mind is telling you

can leave you feeling unworthy, negative,

angry, reactive, or anxious, depending

on what it's getting up to in there.

Our stories can hold us back and pull us

into suffering, but they don't have to.

Here's my simple invitation for you today.

It's really just to contemplate the

fact that your thoughts are not reality.

They're not the truth.

And therefore you don't have to believe

in them, obey them or play them out.

You can decide whether to stay

with a thought and engage with it

if it's helpful or useful, or to

let go of the thought if it's not.

Now, how do you do that?

How do you let go of a thought?

One way is just to have a sense of

smiling at the mind and saying, thanks

mind, thanks for sharing your story.

And then just let the thought go and bring

your attention to the present moment.

You have the power to choose whether

to buy into your mind's narrative.

Your stories don't have to hold you back.

As Eckhart Tolle said, "Observe your

thoughts, but don't believe them."

And in that you'll find

more inner freedom.

As always, thank you for your practice

and your presence here with us.

And now inviting you to begin to

settle in for today's meditation.

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