The important characteristic of the Mind is that it permanently produces stories. These stories often have a disastrous end. For instance, I suddenly try to remember whether I locked the door of my home or not. The Mind immediately fabricates a whole story around the idea: I did leave it open, a burglar came, my valuables have been stolen, and the police, instead of chasing the thief, will harass me with their questions. We often experience the ends and emotional consequences of these stories. Another type of story deals with us, who are we, what are we like, what we should do or should have done. The entirety of these stories comprises our personal history.
Everybody has their own personal history. Our parents began to weave our personal history; first they told us who we were, they relayed the rules of living in a community, together with other people within a specific society. Then the little Ego was born in us, and we started to listen to the voice of the Ego that began to tell us our personal history. The inner voice told us a story about who we were and which way our life was heading. We found the story so convincing that it never even occured to us to question its truth. But is this story really true, or is this just the Ego, babbling away and leading us into the cobweb of thoughts hopelessly?
The Anatomy of the Personal History
Every waking moment of our life fits a personal history with our own Self in its focus. Our life can only be interpreted within the framework of that history. The reason for that is that we identify with the voice of the Ego, the narrator of our own story, so closely that our personal history becomes the foundation of our entire life. But is this story really true, or is this just the Ego, babbling away and leading us into the cobweb of thoughts hopelessly?
A closer look at that personal history will reveal that our internal story consists of a fabric of experiences and thoughts. Thoughts that explain our experiences, thoughts that we believe and with which we identified, thoughts that will thus provide the foundations of our self-determination.
Our personal history keeps us under its spell, in a hypnotic state in which all our attention is devoted to the inner voice and story it tells. In this way we give up our alertness, the world passes by us, because we only concentrate on the elements of reality that appear to confirm our personal history. We therefore lose our grip on the deeper dimensions of life. The deeper dimensions are present in our life, but we lose contact with them because of our lack of Alertness.
Beyond the Personal History
The question may arise in us whether we are really identical with our own personal history, or perhaps we are more than that? Everybody has some vague suspicion that our personal history does not reflect reality, we are in fact at a deeper level than that.
When everything is apparently all right in our personal history, we achieve our goals, we are happy, and the vague suspicion vanishes entirely in us, and our identification with our personal history becomes more powerful. There are, however, moments in our life when nothing appears to succeed, so we are unhappy and we suffer. The suspicion then reinforces in us, and we tend to believe that we are more than the cluster of thoughts that constitute our personal history. We realize that we are more than mere thoughts.
As long as we insist on our personal history, and on the storyteller, the deeper dimensions of our existence remain unaccessible for us. Not because these deeper dimensions are not present in our life, but because weaving the web of our personal history engages all our attention.