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The Stories That Stop Us From Being Present & Taking Action

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The Stories That Stop Us From Being Present & Taking Action
Most of us have spent our lives caught up in plans, expectations, ambitions for the future; in regrets, guilt or shame about the past. To come into the present is to stop the war."

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Jack Kornfield
"Most of us have spent our lives caught up in plans, expectations, ambitions for the future; in regrets, guilt or shame about the past. To come into the present...

Jack Kornfield

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Our blockages

The things stopping us from being present or taking the action we want to take are:
  • The stories we have in our heads about other people, what’s hap...

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The narrative machine

The narrative machine
Our minds are wired to come up with narratives (about the world, other people and about ourselves). And these narratives are stopping us from being present and tak...

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Dropping the stories

We can’t stop the mind from producing stories but we don't have to cling to them let them occupy our heads.
  • Notice when you’re stuck in a story.

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Taking action

The stories in our heads also stop us from taking the action we want to take in our lives. For example: I don’t know how to tackle this big project, it’s too co...

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Anxiety vs. Fear

  • Fear is what you feel in the moment when someone comes at you with a knife. 
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Trying to push the worries out of your head is inherently problematic because to be vigilant about not thinking about something, your brain needs to keep it in mind. 

Mindfulness does the opposite by making you aware of your state of anxiousness.

Build the Mindfulness muscles

  • Acceptance: accept that the worries are here and stop trying to make them go away.
  • Attention: get out of your thoughts and focus on the world around you.
  • Labeling: When a worry pops up, label it as “a worrying thought.” It’s not you. Do not identify with it and don't let it overtake you.

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The perception of time

Although some physicists would argue against the existence of time, we all do have a perception of time that reflects the reality of our lives on Earth.

False pasts

Most of us forget more than we remember. We change memories to make sense of what has happened in our lives. When we then recall a memory, we reconstruct the events in our minds and even shape them to fit in with any new information.

Understand the future

Many of us think of our past as a kind of a video library where we can look at records of our lives. If memories were fixed like videotapes, you would find it difficult to imagine a new situation.

It is our past memories that help us imagine a future, and to preview future events. This skill of using the past to predict the future helps us try out different hypothetical scenarios before we commit.

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