The story was regarded as fact; that was my reality. The clearest proof of this is that when I wrote my story as the first chapter in my book, The Self in No Self, it was titled “Life Before Buddhism - A Child Lost.”
The impact on my life of this perspective has been unfortunate to say the least. As I have often written, I’m aware that I walk around most of the time with a frown on my face. The ambience of my life is in general one of “blahness.” It’s like walking around with a gray cloud hanging over my head. This despite the fact that my practice has brought me to the point where I am truly at peace virtually all the time; nothing agitates me; nothing pushes my buttons.
But while I’m at peace, I feel no joy, no happiness for the most part. Unless I mindfully connect with my true Buddha nature, my smiling toddler, and say to everything around me, “hello,” and send out the positive energy of loving kindness. Unless I mindfully take pleasure in the passing moment. Unless I am fully engaged, present, in whatever I’m doing. Or unless someone takes me outside my ego-self. But as soon as I’m distracted from that mindfulness practice, I revert to my habitual frown.
Recently, I read in a book why bad memories are so much more powerful, more prevalent, then good memories. The reason is that from an evolutionary standpoint, the mind was programmed to alert us to things that could harm us, to protect us. As with many things, what had an evolutionary function has morphed into something which today is a nightmare that causes us suffering.
After reading that, I decided to sit with my inner child and go back to various traumatic events of my childhood. To my surprise, I found that my inner child did not cry after these various events. He was impacted, saddened but rather stoic. And while his ego-mind developed the negative narrative from these events that governed his life and my adult life, he was aware of the dichotomy of the bad events in his life and the good ones.
As I walked through my childhood I was reminded of all the love and joy, friendship and laughter that I experienced, at the same time as I experienced negativity. The story of my life was not on balance that I was unloved and unwanted; rather it was that I was loved and wanted. It was a good life. But I was never able to grasp that, either as a child or an adult, as noted above.
Even this awareness did not change the habitual frown on my face, so powerful was the hold of this story of my life; the core false belief of my life. Then the other morning while meditating, sitting with how I can get past this point, it suddenly came to me that I need to reclaim my story by literally rewriting it. Taking that version that I wrote about a child lost, and editing it to reflect the reality of my life.
I have recently done that. The process has been empowering and heartwarming. I feel a change within me. Whether it lasts, whether I have freed myself from this aspect of the control of my ego-mind remains to be seen. But I am hopeful.