Try free for 7 days.

Mindfulness.com
Meditation
See all Meditation

Browse

Top articles

How to Meditate: Meditation 101 for Beginners

10 Science-Backed Benefits of Meditation

What is Meditation?

Mindful LivingSleep
Community

Already have an account?

Sign in

00:00

00:00

When Our Stories Hold Us Back

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today, I'm going to talk about when our stories can hold us back and how we can change that. So an often overlooked fact about the human mind is that it often misrepresents the truth or as my best friend's little girl likes to say, it can be a liar, liar, pants on fire. Our minds like to convince us that they are just objectively observing the world and reporting it back to us. But the reality is is that our minds are not very good objective observers of the world.

In fact, they're actually constantly interpreting the world. The mind is making up stories about everything that's going on around you all the time. So it takes in the information perceived with your senses and then your mind decides what to tell you about what you're perceiving. So example, you know, you, you see your boss walk by and your boss looks at you briefly without smiling. And your mind says, your boss secretly thinks you're an idiot.

He's probably waiting to fire you. You wake up one morning and you feel a little bit lower on energy than you did the day before. And your mind says, oh my gosh, you probably have cancer. You know what this is like, right? You see the mind has been programmed by evolution to be constantly on the lookout for threats, food, opportunities to reproduce. And part of your mind's job is that it's constantly making all these snap judgements about what things are and what they mean, and also what you should do in response.

That's why it's always analyzing, judging, making up stories, commentating, reacting, jumping to conclusions. Now, this was great for surviving in the world for our ancestors. Not so good for keeping you a happy, objective, contented human being in the modern world. The problem is, is that our minds do not interpret these things with perfect logic, wisdom. And self-compassion.

You might've noticed. You know, how many times, for instance, have you judged someone and found out later you were completely wrong about them or the situation. So listening to and just believing in all the stories your mind is telling you can leave you feeling unworthy, negative, angry, reactive, or anxious, depending on what it's getting up to in there. Our stories can hold us back and pull us into suffering, but they don't have to. Here's my simple invitation for you today.

It's really just to contemplate the fact that your thoughts are not reality. They're not the truth. And therefore you don't have to believe in them, obey them or play them out. You can decide whether to stay with a thought and engage with it if it's helpful or useful, or to let go of the thought if it's not. Now, how do you do that? How do you let go of a thought? One way is just to have a sense of smiling at the mind and saying, thanks mind, thanks for sharing your story.

And then just let the thought go and bring your attention to the present moment. You have the power to choose whether to buy into your mind's narrative. Your stories don't have to hold you back. As Eckhart Tolle said, "Observe your thoughts, but don't believe them." And in that you'll find more inner freedom. As always, thank you for your practice and your presence here with us.

And now inviting you to begin to settle in for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.7

When Our Stories Hold Us Back

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today, I'm going to talk about when our stories can hold us back and how we can change that. So an often overlooked fact about the human mind is that it often misrepresents the truth or as my best friend's little girl likes to say, it can be a liar, liar, pants on fire. Our minds like to convince us that they are just objectively observing the world and reporting it back to us. But the reality is is that our minds are not very good objective observers of the world.

In fact, they're actually constantly interpreting the world. The mind is making up stories about everything that's going on around you all the time. So it takes in the information perceived with your senses and then your mind decides what to tell you about what you're perceiving. So example, you know, you, you see your boss walk by and your boss looks at you briefly without smiling. And your mind says, your boss secretly thinks you're an idiot.

He's probably waiting to fire you. You wake up one morning and you feel a little bit lower on energy than you did the day before. And your mind says, oh my gosh, you probably have cancer. You know what this is like, right? You see the mind has been programmed by evolution to be constantly on the lookout for threats, food, opportunities to reproduce. And part of your mind's job is that it's constantly making all these snap judgements about what things are and what they mean, and also what you should do in response.

That's why it's always analyzing, judging, making up stories, commentating, reacting, jumping to conclusions. Now, this was great for surviving in the world for our ancestors. Not so good for keeping you a happy, objective, contented human being in the modern world. The problem is, is that our minds do not interpret these things with perfect logic, wisdom. And self-compassion.

You might've noticed. You know, how many times, for instance, have you judged someone and found out later you were completely wrong about them or the situation. So listening to and just believing in all the stories your mind is telling you can leave you feeling unworthy, negative, angry, reactive, or anxious, depending on what it's getting up to in there. Our stories can hold us back and pull us into suffering, but they don't have to. Here's my simple invitation for you today.

It's really just to contemplate the fact that your thoughts are not reality. They're not the truth. And therefore you don't have to believe in them, obey them or play them out. You can decide whether to stay with a thought and engage with it if it's helpful or useful, or to let go of the thought if it's not. Now, how do you do that? How do you let go of a thought? One way is just to have a sense of smiling at the mind and saying, thanks mind, thanks for sharing your story.

And then just let the thought go and bring your attention to the present moment. You have the power to choose whether to buy into your mind's narrative. Your stories don't have to hold you back. As Eckhart Tolle said, "Observe your thoughts, but don't believe them." And in that you'll find more inner freedom. As always, thank you for your practice and your presence here with us.

And now inviting you to begin to settle in for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.7

Duration

Play in-app

Scan the following QR code with your camera app to open it on our mobile app

Recommended for you

Get Unlimited Access

Start your mindfulness journey today.

A Mindfulness Plus+ subscription gives you unlimited access to a world of premium mindfulness content.

  • Over 1,800 meditations, sleep, calm music, naturescapes and more
  • Daily mindfulness video meditations 365 days a year
  • 100s of courses and tools to help manage anxiety, sleep and stress

Join our free newsletter

Discover exclusive events, first access to new features, community stories, and a monthly curation of our best mindfulness insights.

By continuing, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.

Email Missing

We couldn’t detect your email with the SSO provider you have selected.
or

Mindfulness Guarantee

We are here to make a positive impact on the world. We never want to sell you something that hasn’t helped you live a better life. That’s why if you’re unhappy with any purchase from us, you have 30 days to get a full refund and your money back.

If you subscribed to Mindfulness Plus+ and are unhappy with your purchase, please get in contact with us within the 30-day period and we’ll refund your purchase.


Learn more about our Mindfulness Guarantee.

Mindfulness

Bring balance into your everyday life.

We believe in a world where everybody has access to the life-changing skills of mindfulness.

  • 2,000+ Guided Meditations
  • Daily Coaching
  • Sleep Content
  • Mindful Exercises
  • Mindful Radio
  • 10+ Courses from world-class teachers

Private Browsing

Added to your cart!

Checkout

Thank you for joining us

Congratulations on your subscription! Dive into the full library and enjoy all it has to offer.

Claim your free access

Create a mindfulness account and we’ll unlock this premium session in your account forever.

or continue with
By continuing, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.

Do you already have an account?

Start a free trial to play this session

7-Days free trial, cancel anytime.

Finish personalizing your account

Complete a few quick questions to make your own personalized mindfulness plan.

Sign up or login to your mindfulness account to proceed.

or continue with
By continuing, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.

Do you already have an account?

Mindfulness

One membership to gain access to a world of premium mindfulness content created to help you live happier and stress less.

  • 2000+ Guided Meditations
  • Courses from world-class teachers
  • Resources for Stress + Anxiety
  • Breathing exercises, gratitude practices, relaxation techniques
  • Sleep meditations, playlists, stories
  • Mindful talks, podcasts, music, nature sounds