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ADVANCED TEACHING: Living Without a Storyline

The field of boundless emptiness (unconditioned love) is what exists from the very beginning. You must purify, cure, grind down, or brush away all the tendencies (to construct a story) you have fabricated into apparent habits (stories). Zen Master Hongzhi

Live Without Desire



Awakening has the quality of surprise, not the type of surprise that excites or frightens but the type of surprise that goes beyond space and time and the stuff imagined in space and time. It requires a leap from ordinary consciousness to awareness of what we fabricate in consciousness. The leap is to purify, cure, grind down or brush away the tendency to make up and believe in our stories.

How about THAT!

What do we fabricate in consciousness? Stories.

Our stories like all stories are fabricated out of images, forms, names, memories, feelings, and desires. All fabricated into “I-ego.”

To look and see into consciousness itself as it rolls along reflecting on space and time requires a leap of transcendence. We leap away from belief in the fabricated story in the mind as true and real.

It makes sense doesn’t it?

In ordinary life, in the daily activity of the consciousness we use, we need to step back or step away from the rolling, moving activity and look into what we are doing.

Stepping back is a small move of purifying the mind awareness. We use awareness to look at the fabrications which is a leap of transcendence that goes beyond space and time. We stop being convinced of our stories as true.

Most of us have had a tiny taste of looking at our activity in this way. It is those times when we exclaim “What am I doing?” It is sudden awareness of seeing into mind. Seeing what script we are following. 

In order for it to be spiritually illuminating we need to recognize that the story line is not real and not true. This vision requires that we have gained some disenchantment with the story and are willing to disentangle from it.

What I mean by entanglement is a reference to thinking and believing that whatever the mind has fabricated is real and true. This shift is a big deal and takes practice. 

You see, we need to know that what our ordinary consciousness displays is a story. We can know this because we tell “our” story to others. It is a common occurrence filled with distorted embellishments that tend towards making things look better than they were or worse.

We put together things we remember in such a way to look and appear in a particular way. Of course all of this is laid out on the Wheel of Life and Death which shows us our story begins in ignorance every time. Now this really isn’t a “bad” or “good” thing, it only becomes a troubling thing when we think and believe the story is real and become identified and attached to the story.

You and I can have stories, but they are not real. They come and they go. They are distorted as well as under the influence of change. Believing and thinking that the stories are true are the fabrications of the mind; part of the illusory world.

These illusions are quite interesting to us. When we get too convinced by them as true and real they hinder the Light of Transcendence. All sorts of difficulties arise from these illusions in the mind.

We tend to take a stand for or against. We tend to think we are right and someone else is wrong. We tend to fixate on these illusions to the point we suffer from them.

Our feelings around these stories glue them together. Our feelings drive the story which of course drives our life to look like the story we tell ourselves.

It is very much like watching a movie. The story line is driven by a pull  or a tug on our feelings. When we realize the story or script in the mind like a movie is not real. Realize it as a story. we have the potential to let them go and not be hindered by them. 

Since most of us are attached to our stories letting go is a struggle. What is helpful here is to recognize the story for what it is – not true, not real. It is important not to get into the content of the story. Getting into the content strengthens our grip around the story and hinders the Light of transcendence. 


Silence and solitude help us see the concoctions we cook up. We have to learn to be quiet and let go of running the stories. When the stories are cleared out the present moment is lived. It makes sense doesn’t it? If you are running a concocted story all the time, everywhere you go, you are not living in the present moment. You are living in the story line in your head. Whatever storyline you got going is what you are making of your life. To study the story line is part of practice, to know that you run storylines is a realization. To let go of the storylines is transcendence; transcending space and time. And it is there you will find out who you are, for real.

How about THAT!




Let’s see if we can run through a simple story; just a one-liner story.


Simple enough, but many, many repercussions can follow this simple story the “I-ego” wants to fabricate.

Immediately add, this story is not true. This story is not real.

Notice what happens. Does an interior battle begin? Do you begin to enumerate evidence for the one-liner to be true. Or do you enumerate against the one-liner? Either way, you are making up more stories and falling into the content.


Drop the one-liner.

Notice how you put the story together? Did you use comparative thoughts? STOP comparing.

Drop the one-liner?

Is there a residue of feeling sad or happy left behind?

Know the one-liner is not real, not true. It is a ghost in the mind.

Step back and watch the fabrications.

You see, you can live without a story. It is an awakened life worth living. You meet what shows up moment in moment meeting, empty of fabrications.

Humming Bird

Author: FaShi Lao Yue

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