The Power of Story
Once upon a time…
there was One, indivisible whole consciousness field. All the capability of the universe in its potential form was within it. It was the field of all possibilities and yet, it was One, there was no other. Without other there can be no space for space requires at least two points. Without other there can be no time for time requires sequence. Without other there can be no love for love requires two. Without other there can be no story…
This is the beginning of the beginning of all stories. Adam and Eve in paradise if you will. All is perfect and yet, all is terribly boring. From the Vedic perspective, the Big Bang was the singularity (the One consciousness field) breaking its symmetry in order to become many. To do this, it had to use its greatest super power, its ability to ignore. By ignoring its Oneness, the One was able to become two, then five, and then infinite elaborations and manifestations from there.
What is the Universe up to with all this? Well, to put it simply, it’s creating stories. Sequence upon sequence of events. And these are not random sequences. It’s all variations on the same story. There is a pattern. The pattern is an oscillation between forgetting and remembering Oneness. There’s the over-arching creation cycle starting with the Big Bang and within it infinite smaller storylines within storylines like fractals that follow a similar pattern.
Look at the elements of any movie or book. You have exposition, tension (otherness introduced), climax, resolution (Oneness recognized) and then conclusion. With any good story, the characters undergo transformation, which is another way of saying they have an upgrade in consciousness. It’s elevational theater that mimics the pattern of story in all our lives.
This is why we love movies and books so much and idolize movie stars. Creating and witnessing stories is what Consciousness is up to and we are units of that big Consciousness. What is true for the macro is also true for the micro.
This is also why Vedic knowledge is so often taught through stories. All the Puranas, the Ramayana, the Bhagavad Gita, these are not just tales for entertainment. The mechanisms of how the whole thing works are embedded within these stories, so when you read or listen to them, the awareness of those mechanisms begins to awaken within you.
It may be hard to believe given the amount of destruction and violence experienced by so many in our world today, but the whole thing is a love story.
It may be hard to believe given the amount of destruction and violence experienced by so many in our world today, but the whole thing is a love story. Love is the recognition of Self in another, it’s a recognition of Oneness outside the individual self, and it requires ignorance, division, and otherness. Loving is a coming together so there must be separation. Consciousness cannot experience love if it’s all simply One because there is nowhere to go.
The ability to create stories is the human being’s greatest superpower. According to Yuval Noah Harari in his bestselling book Sapiens, he describes the secret to homo sapiens’ separation from other animals and species of humans was “the appearance of fiction.” He goes on at length to show how it was the ability to “believe in common myths” that enabled humans to cooperate on such a large scale, and that human rights, money, laws, justice and nations are all the product of stories within the human imagination.
While Harari focuses on collective stories, individuals also have this incredible power to create stories. Although, most people are tossed about by stories they didn’t create. Whether it’s from their families, or from cultural indoctrination, these stories can be confining. Story elements such as, “I’ll never be good enough,” “my value comes from how I look,” “my mother rejected me so I’m not worth loving,” “my religion looks down on these people so they must be no good” all can curb our experience. We also tend to identify solely with the “character” we are born as, which is limiting as well.
As our consciousness expands, we are no longer simply the actor but the actor and the audience member.
As our consciousness expands, we are no longer simply the actor but the actor and the audience member. We are the individual and the inner witness watching everything we do. We are the wave and the ocean. Rather than being limited by our personal storyline, we begin to appreciate it with all its twists and turns, and then we start to have greater faculty to direct the way the story goes.
In everyday life, we tend to want things to be easy and go smoothly with very few unexpected changes thrust upon us. Now, imagine a movie like that. The main character is born, gets everything they want, marries, has 2 and a half kids, and dies peacefully. No thanks. We enjoy movies that have all kinds of experiences: happy, tragic, funny, action-packed, or gently unfolding, and they always have some kind of conflict and resolution.
When our awareness is seated more in that inner witness, we start to want our lives to be more dynamic. And all our experiences begin to have a layer of, if not enjoyment at least fascination. It’s not just reserved for the “happy” ones.
By realizing the Self as one’s deep inner consciousness, we don’t become so attached to the roles we play and are more open to letting our roles evolve into something else. For example, someone playing the role of professional athlete, if they identify as such and an injury makes it impossible for them to play that role anymore, an identity crisis will ensue. However, if they identify with something deeper, they are able to gracefully transition to something else. Professional athlete is not who they are, they are an individualized unit of the whole consciousness field and “athlete” is simply a role that consciousness took on for a while.
We can pick what roles we wish to play and which we’d rather leave behind.
When we have that big perspective that comes with expanding our awareness, we see all the different stories playing off each other and choose how to interact with them. We can pick what roles we wish to play and which we’d rather leave behind. We also find ourselves looking to play bigger roles, roles that impact more and more people. This doesn’t mean becoming famous or “successful,” it means your actions are oriented towards uplifting more than simply the individual self.
As our awareness expands, the whole story changes. Maybe the events stay the same, but more and more, disadvantages start to look like opportunities and enemies begin to look like friends. We look back at our past as the incredible journey that got us to where we are rather than the events that are the cause of our current misery.
This is the point at which it really begins to feel like a love story. Not just romantic love, but love for everything because all is perceived as extended Self. The sense of “other” goes away in grades, and the Self is realized.
So if all stories are variations on the same story, how does it end?
…the stories went on for untold numbers of eons. The other looked at the other over and over again and there was a glimmer of recognition. "Are you me?" With each glimmer, a wave of love and unity. Finally, after untold numbers of lifetimes, the self looked within and saw God there. "Are you me?" And the story finds it long awaited resolution.
loving stories is universal