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No story - No problem

No story - No problem


How surren­der­ing changes the way we approach challenges.

Before leaving Israel in 2011, I celebrated my depar­ture with the Pales­tin­ian and Israeli Theatre group I co-founded in 2007 in Combat­ants for Peace. We met in the small village Shiffa, in the West Bank, where we practised our Theatre. It was an evening with mixed feelings of grate­ful­ness and sadness. At the end of the event, I was mentally and emotion­ally ready to leave. Still, my car refused to collab­o­rate and on the way home, at the skirts of the village, it brocked down.

My first reaction was resis­tance and denial.

“I cannot believe that this is happen­ing right now… and what a miser­able way to end such a nice evening….” My mind contin­ued with, “how did that happen?” A typical refusal to accept the reality that the car is simply brocked down. Then the fear started taking over, “not the best place to be stuck in the middle of the night as an Israeli, and how will I get home now?”. My eyes began to search around for the danger, and it appeared.

You see what you think.

Three teenagers came across. They looked suspi­cious. Now I could not hide anymore. They knocked on the window to check what was going on. An Israeli licenced car sitting in the middle of a road looks very strange. I never had good Arabic, ‘Sayara kaput,’ I said, slightly opening the window. I thought they would leave now, but they stayed, and one of them opened his mobile phone.

You feel what you think.

My sense of danger devel­oped with the gener­ous help of my mind. “What is this boy talking about, and who is he calling?” I tried to reach Nur, my Pales­tin­ian mate, which was already back home, but he didn’t answer. He always answers. This time, he did not.

The crack had opened.

I let my phone go and heavily exhaled. That was a moment where my mind suddenly subsided for a couple of seconds. That allowed a deeper side of me to take over. A level of alert­ness arrived in my body. Not a kind of alert­ness that pointed out danger, no heart­beat and no adren­a­lin running down to the legs, just a sense of quiet­ness and still­ness. Surpris­ingly, I felt peaceful.
Suddenly the teens looked differ­ent. I saw their innocence and goodness. The story of my mind changed: “After four years of volun­tary work in this village, nothing could go wrong”. Finally, I opened the car door, and the boys were smiling at me, proba­bly laugh­ing. A strange man arrived with a suitcase and started chatting with the guy who was before on his phone.
“Open the engine lied”, he said to me in Hebrew. The boy called him to help. At that point, my phone rang. It was Nur, my Pales­tin­ian friend. I let him talk to the guy with the suitcase, which turned out to be a toolbox, and he had explained to Nur that I needed to leave the car for the night.

The old narra­tive sneaks back.

The thought that if I leave the car there for the night, I won’t see it again crept into my mind. Still, at this point, there was enough space within me to ignore it. The sense of deep trust was present and more substan­tial at that stage than any mind story.
We pushed the car to a parking place next to the road, and I left the car behind. I cannot remem­ber how I got home that night, but my car was fixed and sound the day after.
When picking up the car, I took some money out of my pocket and gave the guy who fixed it for me, but he refused to take anything, I insisted, and he refused. It was the only conflict we had.

From joy to enthusiasm

Finally, I drove back home excited and grate­ful. I was excited to tell this story to as many Israelis as possi­ble. I wanted to share this story and break the narra­tive imple­mented into our minds by a media, govern­ment and educa­tion system run by uncon­scious people. And I was grate­ful for the lovely experi­ence and the positive memory of my last night in Shiffa.

A glimpse into a state of awakening

Awaken­ing doesn’t have to come in a sudden moment of enlight­en­ment. It can slowly grow in you. Like the breath of the ocean, the tides can be one day high and the other day; the shore is far again from the water.
Eleven years ago in the West Bank, I couldn’t tell what was going on with me at that moment in the car. Looking back in perspec­tive, I know that some deep part of me sponta­neously took over and didn’t let the uncon­scious side run the show. I am sure that the in-depth work I did in Combat­ants for Peace since 2007 also broke my narrative.
Alert­ness in every­day life
You don’t need to have such an intense experi­ence to find your deep self. Life provides plenty of daily challenges where you can, whether follow the stories of your minds or follow a more profound level of aware­ness that can take over in every given situa­tion. Packing a family with three kids for a holiday can become a night­mare without atten­tion to the mind. Evening dinner with your parents can be full of challenges without alert­ness. Going shopping with a tired, hungry child and every simple daily task at home or work can be filled with stories when there is no presence.

No story — no problem

Eckhart Tolle is talking about the ‘isness’ of the situa­tion. He offers a simple formula: what is = what is. You have no problem if you don’t add story, narra­tive, or opinions to a situa­tion and simply take it as it is. In fact, we never have any problems in life. All issues are somewhere in the stories we tell ourselves about the giving moment that life puts us in.

Challenges without suffering

Challeng­ing situa­tions are essen­tial for personal and global devel­op­ment. All life forms face challenges at any step of life.
When complain­ing, resist­ing, fight­ing against or running away from challenges, we miss the chance to grow and know our true selves. When we bring aware­ness to the narra­tive our mind tells us, we can step out of the ‘mind story’ and face a simpler reality.

THE SUFFERING IMMEDIATELY DISAPPEARED when I surren­dered entirely to the fact that I was stuck with a broken car in a foreign country. And when I stopped adding stories to the situa­tion, A ‘miser­able situa­tion’ became joyful and heart-opening.

1202 872 Idan Meir