Stories 2: How the past defines us

More on story and myth, this time from an excellent recently-published Buddhist perspective:

The Buddha taught that,  over time, the unobserved thought settles into character. Character is more than our temperament and personality; it is the fundamental way we see life, including our suppositions, ideas and views of who we are and what life is. When we look out of our eyes we see what we have been conditioned to see, and part of that conditioning is the assumed reality of the person who is having the experience.

Character is reinforced through our narrative, the ongoing story of “me”. We confirm our current reality through the recollection of how we have always been. For instance, if we have assumed a victim mentality from our past, we may have a predisposition to overcompensate and react strongly when we are imposed upon. Our personal narrative reveals our strengths and limitations, and engenders a self-attitude. As our story moves on, each chapter predisposes “me” to behave in a certain way, and though this proliferating tendency was never specified in our early history, the ongoing story gets captured within its momentum.

Rodney Smith, Stepping out of Self-Deception

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