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Crumbling away of untruth.

I was walking on this overcast and humid Monday morning, when I caught the sight of a little girl, likely not more than five years old, playing in her front yard.  She had arranged almost six of her stuffed pig animals on her circular swing, as she swayed them back and forth.  Joy instantaneously flooded my heart and body, as I began to smile and wave at her somewhat enthusiastically.  Though unintentional, she seemed more concerned than amused, as she looked back for her mother.  I stopped waving, but I continued to smile for the rest of my walk.

I had no idea where this girl’s imagination was transporting her, but I wondered, was her imagination any less or more real than the imaginations that I carry all day long.  In fact, I often find that any single belief or perception that I assume is only one side of something far more multifaceted.  Labeling people or circumstances in a singular way is too simplistic.

Beliefs are not good or bad by nature.  They actually allow us to be efficient in our day.  I don’t have to reassess everything as if it were the first encounter.  When I enter my classroom space at noon, I don’t have to wonder what I am doing and why.  I know that the space is for meditation and I serve as the one who holds the experience.  However, some beliefs, when held strongly, can be self limiting and, at times, are simply not that accurate.  Being willing to acknowledge the inaccuracy of our beliefs is a beautifully humbling process.  Tara Brach often reminds her students that “our stories are real, but not always true”.

One of the reasons why I sit most everyday is so that I can see and feel through the veil of my own stories and emotions.  Without denying my experience, I can remember that there is often more than what meets the eyes or even the heart.  It widens the doorway through which I meet life.  Is the process easy?  Unequivocally no.  The sense of who we are is built upon our beliefs, so it can feel uncomfortable and unsettling to let them fall away.  I wonder though, what is more uncomfortable in the long run, carrying the beliefs that unnecessarily limit me or allowing those beliefs to soften periodically so that I can become available to something new?  The good news is that along with this discomfort comes the great freedom to continually envision ourselves into our potential.  The little girl I saw today reminded me of this, to keep softening and reimagining what is possible.

Letting there be room for the not knowing is the most important thing of all.  

Pema Chodron

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