At one of the B &B’s we stayed in on our trip, the owner asked me what I did for a living and as I began to tell her, she started telling me about all of the spiritual authors that she’d read, retreats she’d been on, courses of study she’d taken. Her story was interspersed with comments about how the economy had taken a downturn since she opened the B & B, and the difficulty she was having with one of her grown children. As I listened to her, I had the feeling that I was not really a part of the interaction at all. It was as if she was a closed unit, with no room for new information to come in. I could feel that the “stories” she was telling me were forming her world.
I liked this woman, and would have gladly offered her some time to talk if she had asked. But she was like a full-cup, with no room to take in anything more. Something had to be let go of first. I also had the feeling that she was my teacher because our interaction prompted me to ask the questions, “What areas of my life am I too full of myself in? What “sacred cows” am I holding on to?”
“There is only one cause of unhappiness: the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to question them.” Anthony de Mello