“TRY RETELLING YOUR story as a hero’s journey, where you survived hard times and failures to become the stronger and wiser person you are now. Try telling it as a series of random events over which you had no control. Then rewrite the story. How did your choices shape who you are now?”
[Real Love Ref 9.47]. Through responding to an author/teacher’s teachings as a I develop my own understanding of the teaching concerned – in this case "Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection" by Sharon Salzberg; this Seeker Story is a retelling of the teaching with a Zandtaomed brush.
Writing my own story has become a standard way I learn. It started with Matriellez in which I clarified what happened to me in teaching. It began as a mission statement based on my teaching life, but it wasn’t until I came to the second part long after I started – years after the writing had ground to a stop – that I actually understood what that mission was; it came after my centring summer. It was only then that I understood that the basis for the curriculum needed to be a secular preparation for the path, a curriculum whose intention was to provide the educational necessities for living in society whilst not providing any blocks – attachments – for those who want to follow the path. How many people describe first lessons on their path as unlearning?
I have just completed my dedication to bell hooks in which I studied one of her books in the light of my own upbringing. This led me to amending the Manual to include as part of integration “embracing the MAWP by engaging with bell hooks”. This was a retelling of my life by questioning what happened to me in the light of the patriarchy (imperialist, white-supremacist, capitalist patriarchy); by so doing I helped further unlearn the conditioning I had gone through.
Formalising the retelling of a seeker’s story could be a way of developing that meditation learning. Once the seeker has established a meditation practice, then the elder could begin to help the seeker retell their life so that they could understand when the conditioning arose, identify the times when their suffering happened, what the causes of the suffering were, and help them further release the attachments they have in their lives. Through Zandtaomed the seeker releases shadows, but there are egos that are not hidden and egos that are hidden but not damaging - like the worst of shadows. Through the retelling of their story egos are released leading to wellness and hopefully starting on the path. This is a good technique, a technique that requires trust in the elder, but a technique that has great potential. More needs doing to increase this formalisation of this retelling narrative technique. A Zandtaomed advance.
After writing this as part of the Z-quest on Real Love I developed the Seeker Story that is this Zandtaomed Advice.