I’ve been cleaning out my bookshelves, getting rid of books I no longer have any interest in. And in the process, I’ve been building a little stack of books I want to re-read. Some of these cherished volumes I’ve read several times, but I still want to read them again. They’re deep, multi-layered texts that reveal more with each reading.
Then there are books I’m getting rid of.
I’m done with them and don’t have any interest in cracking their covers again. They’re stacked inside Trader Joe’s paper bags on their way to the Friends of the Library bookstore.
Letting go of books is one thing—letting go of “stories” is another.
By stories I mean all of our ideas, values, assumptions, and emotions that weave together to create our sense of self. When we look deeply at our sense of self, we see that it is just that—a tapestry of stories.
We’ve woven our identities with strands of personal history, and tied it all together with knots of memory. This sense of self is like a well-worn shawl. Familiar. Comforting. Until it isn’t.
When we see how the knots of memory limit us, the impulse toward freedom arises.
This is a huge revelation: we don’t have to be defined by the patterns of our past. We can untie the knots of memory and recreate our lives afresh. But we can’t do this with the fumbling fingers of our everyday minds.
It takes a meditative mind to untie the knots of memory.
The meditative mind does not identify with the patterns of personal history. The meditative mind is able, therefore, to enter into the knots of memory with loving kindness and wisdom.
As the meditative mind infuses the knots of memory with loving kindness and wisdom, they relax.
The meditative mind is able to witness and feel the untying process completely. We see directly how identifying with memories causes the knots-in-consciousness that constrict us. And this motivates us to go deeper. To allow the natural healing power of the meditative mind to untie the hidden knots in the heart, where the most primal doubts and fears reside.
As the knots loosen, our freedom increases.
An uncontrived sense of self blossoms. This self isn’t a story. It’s not woven of memory or personal history. It’s beyond words—but not beyond knowing.
Author: Eric Klein
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Emily Bartran