The Mind Is A Story Telling Machine


On my bicycle ride this morning, I had a further insight into the workings of our mind.  The mind is a story-telling machine.  These stories are most often fiction and we have to be aware of that or we actually believe them to be true.  As we go through the day the mind buzzes along making things up, repeating things, interpreting, obsessing about the past or future and in general is teetering on the edge of mental chaos.  On occasion the mind has insights or moments of awareness but those are often brief. 

As I watched my mind today, I was aware of looking around and tell myself different stories of what I was seeing.  At work I saw a possible concern and told myself the story of what to do and how to better handle this issue.  That was a story, whether it was true or not wasn't important.  Early I saw a mother and her two children and a story popped up in my head about their lives.  This was definitely a fiction since I did not know them.  Then I had a story come up about a client that will be in my class and the scenarios that might surface in these new roles we both will take on.  One story after another popped up throughout the day.

Where are the stories in our life?  There certainly are stories about our relationships mostly based on the one sided viewpoint we have; so we know there is fiction in these stories of our projections on those we are involved with.  There are the people we work with and the unknown of their lives away from work; so we know there is more fiction going on in us about their private lives. Then there are the stories about incidents and events throughout the day that we try to make sense out of; so we know these thoughts are often pure speculation as we try to figure how to cope, or change or find our way to something less painful or more enjoyable.  Also there are many stories in our minds about what happened in the past and hopes for the future: these stories are based on memories, which are often just stories we hold on to, and hopes for tomorrow, which are filled with images of what we desire.

Basically the mind is trying to makes sense constantly of what is going on in our lives so if it isn't sure what is, it makes things up.  These stories fill our live as if they are reality.  So we live within the stories of our mind even though they often have no basis in reality.  Knowing this about our mind and its story writing ability, it becomes very important to realize that our thoughts cannot be trusted.  Most thoughts we have are not based on truth, they are not real, they are just words we give meaning to act as if they are true.  They are not true they are just words, thoughts, ideas that are we made up and give meaning to.

Instead of living the thought novel of our life, we would do better to become mindful to what we are thinking or we fall into the false reality of our stories.  Mindfulness allows us: to be present to what is; to watching the story making in action; to separate out reality from fiction; to watch self-talk arise and not get caught up in its fictionalization of life.  We are not our thought, we are not our stories, we are alive beings living in the moment, existing as we breath in and out, sensing the world around us, feeling the flow of emotions, aware of the parade of thoughts and enjoy the joys of the now.  

Much personal freedom can be realized if we live in the reality of mindful thoughts and observations instead of the myth of our storied mind. 

The following video from is about a guy who lives bigger than any limiting stories his mind may have.