A Buddhist monk, when asked how he copes with moving through the world, talked about re-narrating encounters. When confronted with a person acting in an objectionable way, the monk would tell himself a story about the situation that gave a compassionate explanation to the objectionable behavior. For example, if someone cut him off in traffic, he might tell himself a story about how there was a woman delivering a baby in the car who needed to get to the hospital as quickly as possible.
We rarely react to events, even though it seems that is what’s happening. What we react to are the stories we tell ourselves about those events. The events are not in our control. The stories are. Learning to interpret reality in new ways that serve us better is not easy, but it is possible. It begins by reminding ourselves that we rarely react to reality. We react to our interpretation of reality.
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