From Chapter Two, End Your Story, Begin Your Life

I was working with a client the other day, on the phone, who said that he had fewer commitments in life now and less that he had to “do,” to busy himself with, yet still his mind was often on overdrive.
At some point he would notice when he was in his head, being run by his thoughts, and then he would be more present, maybe counting his steps, or his breath. A short while later, though, he would find himself swept up in his thoughts again. They usually had to do with thinking he needed to be more productive.
Then he would judge himself for not doing more, and sometimes a feeling of anxiety would arise. He admitted that from boyhood, he had been programmed to believe that men were the providers, and they should be productive. I encouraged him welcome the fact that he noticed when he was in his head, because it was showing him where he was not yet free. Be easy on yourself, I said, especially when the tendency to fall into thoughts of self-judgment arise.

“That’s your story,” I told him. “You’ve been conditioned to think you need to be productive your whole life, and when you take some time for meditation and contemplation, you feel guilty. The story you tell yourself creates the emotional contraction that you call ‘guilt.’”

I paused. “Then, after the welcoming, when you have identified the story that is making you feel guilty, let it go. See that you are not the story. You are what sees. So, relax into the seeing, the awareness that is your true nature. Breathe. Be very present, with the feeling or emotion, but without going into your head, without telling yourself any new story. Then just wait patiently, as you continue to be present. The energy will soon shift, and so long as you don’t go into your head, you’ll experience a new sense of well-being. Then you can think about being productive, but in a new and creative way.”