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  • Barbara Emrys

Storyteller…Again?

There are lessons that gain strength through repetition. There are some, on the other hand, that lose their impact when mentioned too often. It was recently suggested to me that ‘the storyteller’ is one of those topics. It was said nicely, but the message was, “Enough, already! Stop talking about the storyteller! We get it!”


Too much reminding may seem tiresome. It may even be that repetition builds resistance, like telling children to say “please” and “thank you.” The more you say it, the more they rebel. But I also know that describing the mind as a storyteller is not only direct and accurate, but extremely important to self-awareness.


The mind is the one that needs to evolve. The body’s evolution is already determined by life’s original program, which is written in your DNA. However, the mind’s evolution depends on its ability to become aware of itself. Humanity’s evolution happens one mind at a time.


In order to evolve and mature, the mind should dare to self-reflect. It should hear itself, and to make conscious choices about the language it uses to describe reality. It needs to step out of itself, and see what’s true beyond the virtual world it created. To do that, it should be willing to challenge some core beliefs.


The mind needs to become flexible and open to new perceptions. And, of course, it should adjust its stories to mirror what is actually happening in the world. It has to recognize what’s going on, both inside and outside of this human being, without relying on information that’s comfortable, but also misleading.


Most of us find comfort in stories that are familiar, but not actually true. So, “comfortable’ could mean repeating other people’s stories, just to fit in. It could mean indulging beliefs that inspire fear and hatred– even some that lead to acts of violence– because it aligns us with a larger community.


“Comfortable” could mean putting faith in myths and superstitions, or using old fears as a refuge.
The mind is designed to tell a story about everything it perceives. It produces the words and ideas to go with what the brain observes, just as the body produces emotions. If the stories sound repetitive, it’s because they are. If certain thoughts result in predictable emotions, that’s because the body has learned (through repetition) to react predictably.


It might seem exasperating to have yourself referred to as ‘the storyteller” when you believe you’re so much more; but the purpose of any spiritual teaching is to wake up to what is true. You are the mind– the voice of knowledge that talks to itself night and day– and yes, you are much, much more.


It takes a strong will to look beyond your own knowledge and finally see yourself as more than that pattering voice, trapped in its own world of lies. It takes real self-respect to acknowledge your thoughts and be willing to challenge them.


Your mental narrative needs to be treated with skepticism until it stops commanding your attention. The result is less noise, and fewer illusions. The lasting reward is self-awareness, and an intimate connection to truth.


The more you hear lesson, without resistance or resentment, the easier it will be to exist as a human being in the tumultuous dream of humanity. So…

I guess, I’ll be talking about the storyteller for some time to come!


-Barbara

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