Monday, December 31, 2012

Opening the Door

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me--the last line of an amazing bit of wisdom carved into the stone above a door of an ancient church in Iran. So now we have the whole quote:

    Where Jesus Is, the Great-Hearted Gather.
    We are a door that's never locked.
    If you are suffering any kind of pain, stay near this door.
    Open it.

Is it that simple--Open it?

Remember in the Lord of the Rings when the nine companions get to the door of the Mines of Moria? Where's the entrance? They can't find the entrance.

Then the moon peeks out from behind a cloud and the intricate mithril silver design etched in the door is revealed on the great cliff face. Written in elfin are the words, "Speak Friend and Enter."

Gandalf is thinking, 'Piece of cake.' So, knowing that he is a friend of both elves and dwarves, he confidently begins to speak every arcane incantation for 'Openings' he knows. All of them.

The mountain is unmoved.

Tired, baffled he sits down, exasperated.

Then...he laughs.

Ah! He's realized the door will open of itself when he simply says the word 'friend.' He says, Friend. The door opens.

Following the advice carved above the church door in Iran is like that. It's so simple. Yet it's never something to take for granted. It's a process that we can absolutely trust, but it's never a process we control or command.

Not that we don't try to open the door.

How long can we sustain being baffled? How long can we sustain deep trust? How long can we hold trust and bafflement in our hearts? How long will we stay near a door we can't seem to open?

Well, maybe not that long--at first. Yet holding frustration and trust in the same heart enlarges that heart. And it is the Great Hearted who are gathering here. It is in the company of the Great-Hearted we want to be.

How do we open the door?

The inscription doesn't tell us 'how.' It tells us 'to.' Nobody can tell us exactly how.

Yet I think we can trust that the inscription is telling us everything we need to know.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Stay Near This Door

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me--the next line of an amazing bit of wisdom carved into the stone above a door of an ancient church in Iran. So now we have three lines:

    Where Jesus Is, the Great-Hearted Gather.
    We are a door that's never locked.
    If you are suffering any kind of pain, stay near this door.

This is the sixth day of Christmas--are you still here near this door?

If you are, something better than 6 geese seems to be promised.

If you are suffering....



Who is not suffering in one way or another? And if we're not suffering surely it's impossible to be among the Great-Hearted. Anybody whose door is never locked suffers.

The old King James Version of Jesus' quip to those who would shield him from the annoyance of children comes to mind: "Suffer the little children to come unto me." Modern version: "What? You think I can't tolerate the chaos of kids? Kids are a window into the realm of God!"

Jesus can tolerate a lot--even us: "Come to me all you who are weary and weighed down and I'll give you rest." This invitation can only come from a heart that has been stretched a lot.

I'm pretty sure the only way hearts grow is by being stretched. And being stretched always causes suffering. New wine bursts old wine-skins.

And (this may be the greatest most ironic majestic heart enlarging laughing out loud truth of this life) not being stretched causes the most profound suffering of all.

So, here we are, reading these three lines, pondering what they may have to do with us. And then we realize the reading and the pondering have actually allowed us to fulfill the first bit of advice the inscription has:

Stay near this door.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Door that is Never Locked

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me--the next line of an amazing bit of wisdom carved into the stone above a door of an ancient church in Iran. So now we have two lines:

    Where Jesus Is, the Great-Hearted Gather.
    We are a door that's never locked.

The immediate thing I want to know about this second line is, who is the WE?

Who do you suppose is the WE?

Is it the congregation of the church that bears the inscription?

Is it the Great-Hearted?

Is it potentially anybody who happens to stumble into places where Jesus Is--Jesus, God, Buddha, Sophia, Creator, Mystery, Ground of Being?

As I imagine myself wandering through an unfamiliar town and winding up standing in front of this inscription, I recognize how I've always wanted to be among the Great-Hearted. And I recognize how very often I have not felt I belonged.

So I see myself reading these words and feeling two things--smallness and longing.

In the smallness part, I recognize the many ways my heart has been locked, protecting itself from what it fears.

In the longing part, I recall people I've recognized as great-hearted and realize there's nothing I want more than to be among them, welcomed, recognized myself, un-locked myself.

I can imagine other things, too. Other people coming up to the door, a small throng standing in front of these words, curious, intrigued, having their own experience of the inscription.

I can imagine conversations springing up--and an eagerness both to speak and to listen.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Great-Hearted (re-post)

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me--the first line of an amazing bit of wisdom carved into the stone above a door of an ancient church in Iran:

    Where Jesus Is, the Great-Hearted Gather.

I've noticed over the years that people who gather in Christian churches, myself included, are often not particularly great-hearted.

Maybe the first line carved in stone above this church door is a prophecy, something about our potential?

What does it mean to be great-hearted? Or maybe it's better to ask, what does it take to be great-hearted?

Perhaps it's about having hearts that continue to keep pace with our lives. To grow so that there's room in us to hold life's circumstances wisely--maybe even with a sense of humor.

And with more kindness--both for ourselves and everybody else who wanders in and out of our hearts' neighborhoods.

Any chance you'll eat more than you can hold over the holidays? There's something in that feeling that's parallel to not being great-hearted, for not having room for what we're taking in.

But then the metaphor breaks down. We don't need bigger stomachs.

But having hearts that grow to hold what life brings--that's another thing.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Silent Watcher (re-post)

I often wish that mindfulness would just get installed in my brain. I understood the basic premise years ago. I've had a bunch of 'enlightening' experiences where I saw things with startling clarity.

But we don't seem to get mindfulness 'once and for all.' It only seems to come 'now and on purpose.'

I've quoted my young friend Jason before. I love what he said. We'd been on a long hike and when we got back his mother asked him if he'd had a good time. He said, "Hiking's okay. Except you have to walk."

Mindfulness is okay too--except we have to pay attention. 

Despite my kvetching, it's worth the effort, this ever so slowly turning lead into gold.

Here's a very helpful mindful 'to do' list from Eckhart Tolle. I've made a couple of small changes and formatted his one paragraph into a poem so that it scans more slowly--inviting our brains to take it in point by point, step by step, breath by breath.


The Silent Watcher

Be present as the watcher.
Be at least as interested
in your reactions
as in the situation
or person
that causes you
to react.

Notice how often
your attention
is in the past
or future.

Don’t judge
or analyze
what you observe.

Watch the thought,
feel the emotion,
observe the reaction.

Don’t make a personal problem
out of any of them.

You will then
feel something
more powerful
than any of those things
you observe:
   the still,
   presence itself
   behind the content…
the Silent Watcher.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

When Life Says No (get a second opinion)

One of the lousiest feelings we have in life is when we get totally stuck. Or thwarted, confused, rebuffed, turned down, ignored, abandoned.

One of the most hopeful and helpful things we get in life is a growing realization that, somehow, deep down life, being stuck is optional.

A great example is that woman in the Bible with the really sick child. She comes to Jesus for help. She's not a Jew, she's more like an enemy of the Jews. But her daughter's serious illness trumps reticence and social norms.

At least for her--though strangely not for Jesus.

When she asks Jesus for help he says, "It's not right to take the children's bread and throw it to dogs."

Whoa. What?

People speculate a lot about what Jesus was up to when he said that. Some say he was trying to teach his disciples how wrong discrimination was by this shocking response. Some say it was a teaching moment not from Jesus but for Jesus.

Anyway, it's the woman I'm thinking about today. Trying to put myself in her shoes. Trying to slow down and feel the sting of Jesus's words. Being called a dog. Being sick with worry about my child. Being consumed by hope and fear.

Most of us know that kind of insistent, jangly, obsessive drivenness we have when we're facing such real life terror and longing.

What a remarkable confluence for this woman. Her daughter's achingly sick, and a renowned Healer, some say Messiah, has ventured into her territory. She get's 'an audience' with him. And then...?

Hard to imagine a more painful kind of "NO" than the one she gets.

We're not told what's going through her mind. But whatever it is, I want some of that.

She literally does not take "NO" for an answer. She begs. She begs to differ. "Even dogs gets scraps."

And Jesus says, Wow. What strong faith. When you get home you'll find your daughter is whole again.

We're never told the woman's name. Maybe we should call her Saint Chutzpah. Or maybe St. Second Opinion.

As long as we breathe and are conscious, we never are finally stuck or totally thwarted. Not that we always or even usually get exactly what we want--like St Chutzpah did.

The trick is to keep negotiating. Like a mountain climber negotiates a mountain. Or a mathematician a sticky equation.

Our usual focus is on the path we want and have envisioned. This imagined path is often blocked. When that happens we feel blocked.

There are many doors that do not open. And the more important they seem to us the more we will we feel thwarted, rebuffed, turned down, ignored, abandoned. And STUCK.

But we're not walking on a ready-made path anyway. The only part of our path that is fixed is the part behind us. The path ahead is negotiable. Always.

This is where mindfulness can be so helpful. It trains us to slow down. To suspend our fixed notions for a few moments. To stay patient and to be curious about what our fixed notions actually are. Are they wise? Accurate? Are they fixed?

Then, slowly, we usually find we can remove our gaze from the path that might have been--and discover the delicious possibility of being able to open our minds and hearts to Something Else, the path that may be.

Then, in the Presence of this Something Else, we can look around. Listen. Consider. Reconsider--imaginatively, even playfully. All these small actions can be part of larger discernment and prayer. Little bits adding up to bigger life.

The main trick is to be able to remember and to trust, right there in the middle of a fog of stuckness, that this kind of negotiating, this kind of navigating, is always possible.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Love the Frustrations (re-post)

We often come across Rilke's quote, "Love the questions."

I've usually enjoyed exploring the kinds of questions Rilke seemed to have in mind--questions of the heart and of the soul. At least I've enjoyed them when I've been able to glimpse the answers, or at least glimpse the regions up ahead where the answers might be found--like hiking and seeing the next ridge or two on the path you're on.

It's a different thing to love questions when you can't glimpse answers, when you're not sure there are answers, when you're not sure you have the ability to find some answers even if they do exist.

Rilke's advice then becomes more like, "Love the frustrations."

Raise your hand if this could be one of your favorite quotes.

Frustration is the feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of not being able to change or achieve something. Frustration is also the prevention of our progress, success, or fulfillment of something.

Alas, frustration is also the thing that convinces us, by its persistent uncomfortableness, to stop trying to get to where it's so damn hard to go--even when it's the place deep down we want most to go.

What would happen if we actually could grow to "Love the frustrations?" What would that be like?

What would a moment in life be like if Frustration was scratching at our door and we opened the door laughing and invited it in--treating it honorably, trusting (at least a little) that even Frustration is sent as a guide from beyond?

The way to hear what Frustration (as a Guide from Beyond) has to tell us is to find time to be still. To consciously slow down, take a few deep breaths, and listen to and feel what Frustration is bringing to the party.

First, simply feel what frustration is doing in your body. Maybe it's sitting on your chest!

But that's okay. Frustration is never really as heavy as advertised.

Just keep some attention on your breathing, in and out, and a little attention on Frustration's great big butt on your chest--or tightness in your throat--or droopiness in your posture. Wherever Frustration is, just breathe into that place for a few minutes with no other intention but to treat it honorably.

Then keep doing the same thing with a little wider awareness. Listen to whatever is speaking. Try not to argue or be defensive. Breathe. Feel. Listen. Treat each thought and feeling honorably.

Welcoming whoever comes, as Rumi recommends, is always just as simple as this and at the same time almost never just as simple as this. As with everything else in life, the only way to explore this kind of welcoming is to give it a try yourself.

Love the frustrations. Opening our doors to them in a playful, welcoming way sometimes is the same thing as having a door opened for us along those very ways that have seemed, so far, so very closed.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mindfulness for Couples

Below is an article about couple relationships by therapist and mindfulness person, Christopher Germer. It comes from Tricycle. It's good stuff. 
The one 'clinical' example is maybe a little dramatic for most of you 'happy couples' out there, but the underlying theory and practical advice is worth the price of admission!
OVER THE YEARS I’ve come to a conclusion: Human beings are basically incompatible. Think about it. We live in different bodies, we’ve had different childhoods, and at any given moment our thoughts and feelings are likely to differ from anybody else’s, even those of our nearest and dearest. Given the disparities in our genetic makeup, conditioning, and life circumstances, it’s a miracle we get along at all.
Yet we yearn to feel connected to others. At the deepest level, connectedness is our natural state—what Thich Nhat Hanh calls “interbeing.” We are inextricably related, yet somehow our day-to-day experience tells us otherwise. We suffer bumps and bruises in relationships. This poses an existential dilemma: “How can I have an authentic voice and still feel close to my friends and loved ones? How can I satisfy my personal needs within the constraints of my family and my culture?”
In my experience as a couples therapist, I’ve found that most of the suffering in relationships comes from disconnections. A disconnection is a break in the feeling of mutuality; as the psychologist Janet Surrey describes it, “we” becomes “I” and “you.” Some disconnections are obvious, such as the sense of betrayal we feel upon discovering a partner’s infidelity. Others may be harder to identify. A subtle disconnection may occur, for example, if a conversation is interrupted by one person answering a cell phone, or a new haircut goes unnoticed, or when one partner falls asleep in bed first, leaving the other alone in the darkness. It’s almost certain that there’s been a disconnection when two people find themselves talking endlessly about “the relationship” and how it’s going.
The Buddha prescribed equanimity in the face of suffering. In relationships, this means accepting the inevitability of painful disconnections and using them as an opportunity to work through difficult emotions. We instinctively avoid unpleasantness, often without our awareness. When we touch something unlovely in ourselves—fear, anger, jealousy, shame, disgust—we tend to withdraw emotionally and direct our attention elsewhere. But denying how we feel, or projecting our fears and faults onto others, only drives a wedge between us and the people we yearn to be close to.
Mindfulness practice—a profound method for engaging life’s unpleasant moments—is a powerful tool for removing obstacles and rediscovering happiness in relationships. Mindfulness involves both awareness and acceptance of present experience. Some psychologists, among them Tara Brach and Marsha Linehan, talk about radical acceptance—radical meaning “root”—to emphasize our deep, innate capacity to embrace both negative and positive emotions. Acceptance in this context does not mean tolerating or condoning abusive behavior. Rather, acceptance often means fully acknowledging just how much pain we may be feeling at a given moment, which inevitably leads to greater empowerment and creative change.
One of the trickiest challenges for a psychotherapist, and for a mindfulness-oriented therapist in particular, is to impress on clients the need to turn toward their emotional discomfort and address it directly instead of looking for ways to avoid it. If we move into pain mindfully and compassionately, the pain will shift naturally. Consider what happened to one couple I worked with in couple therapy.
Suzanne and Michael were living in “cold hell.” Cold-hell couples are partners who are deeply resentful and suspicious of each other and communicate in chilly, carefully modulated tones. Some couples can go on like this for years, frozen on the brink of divorce.
After five months of unsuccessful therapy, meeting every other week, Suzanne decided it was time to file for divorce. It seemed obvious to her that Michael would never change—that he would not work less than sixty-five hours a week or take care of himself (he was fifty pounds overweight and smoked). Even more distressing to Suzanne was the fact that Michael was making no effort to enjoy their marriage; they seldom went out and had not taken a vacation in two and a half years. Suzanne felt lonely and rejected. Michael felt unappreciated for working so hard to take care of his family.

Suzanne’s move toward divorce was the turning point—it gave them “the gift of desperation.” For the first time, Michael seemed willing to explore just how painful his life had become. During one session, when they were discussing a heavy snowstorm in the Denver area, Michael mentioned that his sixty-four-year-old father had just missed his first day of work in twenty years. I asked Michael what that meant to him. His eyes welling up with tears, Michael said he wished his father had enjoyed his life more. I wondered aloud if Michael had ever wished the same thing for himself. “I’m scared,” he replied. “I’m scared of what would happen if I stopped working all the time. I’m even scared to stop worrying about the business—scared that I might be overlooking something important that would make my whole business crumble before my eyes.”

With that, a light went on for Suzanne. “Is that why you ignore me and the kids, and even ignore your own body?” she asked him. Michael just nodded, his tears flowing freely now. “Oh my God,” Suzanne said, “I thought it was me—that I wasn’t good enough, that I’m just too much trouble for you. We’re both anxious—just in different ways. You’re scared about your business and I’m scared about our marriage.” The painful feeling of disconnection that separated Michael and Suzanne for years had begun to dissolve.
From the beginning of our sessions, Michael had been aware of his workaholism. He even realized that he was ignoring his family just as he had been ignored by his own father. But Michael felt helpless to reverse the intergenerational transmission of suffering. That began to change when he felt the pain of the impending divorce. Michael accepted how unhappy his life had become, and he experienced a spark of compassion, first for his father and then for himself.
Suzanne often complained that Michael paid insufficient attention to their two kids. But behind her complaints was a wish—not unfamiliar to mothers of young children—that Michael would pay attention to her first when he came home from work, and later play with the kids. Suzanne was ashamed of this desire: she thought it was selfish and indicated that she was a bad mother. But when she could see it as a natural expression of her wish to connect with her husband, she was able to make her request openly and confidently. Michael readily responded.
A little self-acceptance and self-compassion allowed both Suzanne and Michael to transform their negative emotions. In relationships, behind strong feelings like shame and anger is often a big “I MISS YOU!” It simply feels unnatural and painful not to share a common ground of being with our loved ones.
We all have personal sensitivities—“hot buttons”—that are evoked in close relationships. Mindfulness practice helps us to identify them and disengage from our habitual reactions, so that we can reconnect with our partners. We can mindfully address recurring problems with a simple four-step technique: (1) Feel the emotional pain of disconnection, (2) Accept that the pain is a natural and healthy sign of disconnection, and the need to make a change, (3) Compassionately explore the personal issues or beliefs being evoked within yourself, (4) Trust that a skillful response will arise at the right moment.
Mindfulness can transform all our personal relationships—but only if we are willing to feel the inevitable pain that relationships entail. When we turn away from our distress, we inevitably abandon our loved ones as well as ourselves. But when we mindfully and compassionately incline toward whatever is arising within us, we can be truly present and alive for ourselves and others.
Christopher K. Germer is a clinical psychologist, specializing in mindfulness-oriented couples therapy and treatment of anxiety, and a co-editor of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy. His website is

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Blessed are the Opinionated

I often write about our main challenge as human beings in terms of small-self, big-self; false-self, true-self; closed-self, open-self. I guess that's because it's been so helpful to me to have been challenged to notice how often my small self keeps me stuck in small life. Opening to God has given me enough glimpses to know and trust that life can be SO much bigger than I often allow it to be. Mindfulness practices have given me a glimpse of how we ordinary humans can effectively participate in letting go of 'small' and opening up to BIG.

Below are a few paragraphs from Pema Chodron's book, When Things Fall Apart. She's writing about one of these kinds of participations. It's mostly an on-the-hoof kind of practice--we get to do it in little mini-bursts of inspiration during the day--stumbling again and again into sacred ground (almost by accident).

It's an ironic kind of practice fueled by something we have plenty of--Opinions. Read it. Give it a try. It'll either work for you or not. If it does, consider yourself 'lucky.'


In meditation we allow a lot of space, and then we begin to see whatever comes up with increasing clarity, with increasing vividness. Then we begin to be attuned to our habitual patterns and see what we do and who we are at the level of holding ourselves together with opinions and ideas about things.

One of the best practices for everyday living when we don’t have much time for meditation is to notice our opinions. When we are doing sitting meditation, part of the technique is to become aware of our thoughts. Then, without judgment, without calling them right or wrong, we simply acknowledge that we are thinking.

When we’re not in meditation, we could begin to notice our opinions just as we notice that we’re thinking when we’re meditating. This is an extremely helpful practice, because we have a lot of opinions, and we tend to take them as truth. We have a lot of emotional backup for these opinions. They are often judgmental or critical; they’re sometimes about how nice or perfect something is. In any case, we have a lot of opinions.

To have even a few seconds of doubt about the solidity and absolute truth of our own opinions, just to begin to see that we do have opinions, introduces us to the possibility of egolessness. We don’t have to make these opinions go away, and we don’t have to criticize ourselves for having them. We can just let those opinions go, and come back to the immediacy of our experience.

 If we can see our opinions as opinions and even for a moment let them go, and then come back to the immediacy of our experience, we may discover that we are in a brand-new world, that we have new eyes and new ears. 


Blessed are the Opinionated--who learn to take their opinions with a grain of salt!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wholeness (is never lost)

Wholeness has become a favorite word. And more. It's what I want when I grow up. It's what and who I aim to be.

The process of becoming whole is kind of like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. At some point, most of us will have pieces in our hands that we would swear just don't fit. And we'll see empty places in the puzzle whose piece we'd swear has been lost, "I've looked everywhere--it's just not here!"

To become whole is to work with the pieces we see and to not give up on the pieces we don't see. And to trust--against all common sense it would seem--that what we need is here, Somewhere.

What follows is a version of the lectio we're using in our two Neighborhood groups this month.

Lectio for Neighborhood Groups, December, 2012: Wholeness

It would be good for the English-speaking world if we were to dispense for a while with the use of the word holiness, because it has been smirched like the word church with sectarian meaning. Holy and whole, holiness, and wholeness are synonymous; and health is but another way of writing holth or wholth, holiness or wholeness. Piety and virtue and a lot of other qualities are component parts of holiness, but in themselves they are no more holiness than the sun's ray is the sun. Holiness is the normal condition of a whole person….          –Charles Henry Brent

A woman who had suffered a condition of hemorrhaging for twelve years—a long succession of physicians had treated her, and treated her badly, taking all her money and leaving her worse off than before—had heard about Jesus. She slipped in from behind and touched his robe. She was thinking to herself, “If I can put a finger on his robe, I can get well.” The moment she did it, the flow of blood dried up. She could feel the change and knew her plague was over.
At the same moment, Jesus felt energy discharging from him. He turned around to the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?” His disciples said, “What are you talking about? With this crowd pushing and jostling you, you’re asking, ‘Who touched me?’ Dozens have touched you!”
But he went on asking, looking around to see who had done it. The woman, knowing what had happened, knowing she was the one, stepped up in fear and trembling, knelt before him, and gave him the whole story. Jesus said to her, “Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague.”   Mark 5.25-33

We are all more than we know.  Wholeness is never lost, it is only forgotten. Integrity rarely means that we need to add something to ourselves; it is more an undoing than a doing, a freeing ourselves from beliefs we have about who we are and ways we have been persuaded to "fix" ourselves to know who we genuinely are. Even after many years of seeing, thinking, and living one way, we are able to reach past all that to claim our integrity and live in a way we may never have expected to live.  –Rachel Remen

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Stuck in Punxsutawney

Albert Einstein famously said, "Problems cannot be solved at the level of consciousness that created them." It's amazing how simple this sounds--and yet how incredibly hard it is to understand and to live into the implications.

There's a related quote that's often attributed to Einstein, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." Rita Mae Brown is probably the first person to say this however.

Whoever said it, this second quote is just as wise and powerful as the first. And just as ironic. 

Life's great trick is getting on the OTHER side of these two quotes. Anytime we find ourselves in Groundhog Day scenarios, we just need to remember that the situation won't change until we do. If it's true that we reap what we sow (and it usual is) we gotta start experimenting with new seeds!

Below is the lectio we used yesterday morning at St. David's in our Mindfulness group. It represents a kind of pre-Groundhog Day training we can work with so that the next time we get stuck in Punxsutawney PA we know how to begin navigating our way out. 

(This is a followup to RAIN work--if you're not familiar with it, you can read more about it here.)


RAIN: Recognition/Acceptance/Investigation/Non-Identification is a handy acronym for mindful practice. Each step (Recognition, Acceptance, Investigation, Non-Identification) is progressive, helpful, and the order makes sense. At the same time, remembering not to identify at every step keeps us from being swept up into old patterns of thoughts or feelings at every step.

When we’re working with our own sticky stuff it’s necessary to remember and remember and remember not to identify with it. Our strong reactions and feelings come with convincing narratives—at least they’re convincing to us. Long rehearsed and rehashed narratives and familiar feelings feed off one another, energizing a loop. This is what being stuck is.

Our most familiar narratives each came into being at a certain time in the past. Certain things, perhaps ‘powerful stuff,’ happened. Presumptions were believed. Conclusions were reached that we’ve been inclined to accept as true ever since. We’ve identified with our stories so long that their truth seems self-evident. And as long as we take them as self-evident, investigation, etc., seems pointless. We can’t attend to these stories unless we suspend our belief in them. Part of mindfulness is the practice of suspending old beliefs so we can get to fresh levels of consciousness which allow us to see old problems in fresh ways.