Sunday, April 1, 2012

What Is Your Story and Does It Define You?: Part 2

Sunday Service Discussion Notes for April 1, 2012

Last week we concluded our discussion of "What Is Your Story and Does It Define You. Click here to read the summary of the previous two weeks on this topic.

We talked about how our stories can take you out of the here and now. Sometimes we cling to our stories so tenaciously that it can prevent us from experiencing the present in a meaningful way.  We may be so completely caught up in a past event or circumstance that we fail to see that the rest of the world has continued to evolve and move forward while we remain stagnant.

We formulate stories all day long based on what we are going through at the time. Each event or interaction sets our mind to spinning tales about what happened to us. But we agreed that we must remember that our stories are shaped by our own personal perspective, not necessarily by reality, or the true story. It is only by questioning these stories that we are able to keep a good grip on what is real and what is not.

We discussed how our stories are colored by learned behaviors, which are in turn based on behaviors of people in our lives (parents, close friends) that we spend a lot of time with that influence us whether we are aware of it or not.

A question was raised, "What is the difference between an event and a story?" to which the succinct answer was presented, "The difference between an event and a story is that the event is factual and the story is your perception."

We talked about how sometimes our enthusiasms of the moment can be quelled by past realities. That reality may not exist today, but it is a story that is lived every time a new enthusiasm is felt, and an oppressive inner voice tells us to "Be serious; get your head out of the clouds." This can deter us from pursuing new interests and possibly deprive us of wonderful new experiences if we allow the story to rule us.

Author Byron Katie was quoted with the prayer: "Spare me from the desire for love, approval, and affection,"  as the desire for these things too often causes us to behave in ways that may ultimately be detrimental to ourselves or others. This is not to say that a desire for love, approval, or appreciation is a bad thing, and can in fact can lead to good, however some of us felt that the wording of this prayer sounded more negative than it ought, and for clarification, an alternate version was offered: "Guide me in the way I seek love, approval, and appreciation."

As this service took place on Palm Sunday, we learned why the palm tree is associated with the holy day. In the time of Jesus, the palm tree was the tallest natural object around, and was therefore thought to be the closest to God. Because of this, palm fronds were used to cover the path over which Jesus was to walk as he entered Jerusalem.

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