I was recently chatting with someone about a situation they found themselves in, when they said they were committed to “not attaching negative stories to it all.” I was instantly impressed with that phrase. For me, the implications were vast regarding the human mentality: how we think and function.
Everything in relationships tends to be about the story we attach to it. This applies to our personal relationships as well as how we view relationships between others. It all becomes about the story we assign to the relationship. That is simply how we think. Even television shows and movies are all framed in terms of the story we create around the happenings. The story creates white knights and villains, good guys and bad guys, the noble and the evil, the victims and the perpetrators. Conflicts, disagreements, and judgements arise, not so much as a result of the occurrence of events, but rather due to the stories attached to those events. Even our legal system is more about the story we can paint the events with, rather than the events themselves. Opposing sides paint the events with contradicting stories. Individuals then cling to, and impose upon others, the story, the bias, of their choosing.
Imagine a world where events were not framed in stories. Opposing viewpoints were not etched in the stone of opposing stories. People were not defined in terms of a story. Stories tend to assign black and white absolutes to the shades, hues, and perspectives that life is composed of. Imagine a mentality that is free from the imposition of the confining, defining, and crucifying limitations of a story. Who is right? Who is wrong? Who is good? Who is bad? Opposing groups each cling to the story they lose themselves to. Remarkably, that is the way people function. It is the way this world compels people to function.
To understand one another is to see beyond the stories. For there to be peace in this world, good versus bad must be replaced with love and understanding. Needless to say there are extreme cases that can be considered black and white. However, in the case of our lives, such things are very rare, if they occur at all. Yet we tend to frame things in a story that assign black and white to our ongoing interactions. We then try to convince others to believe our story. Alliances are thusly created. An ‘us against them’ world becomes the global consciousness we immerse ourselves in. Animals attack one another and fight to the death. Chickens select the weakest in the pen and peck it to death. We humans must learn to see and live beyond that.
Imagine a world free from such narrow vision. I have said this in so many ways throughout the years:
- Simultaneous, yet contradictory realities
- The only true knowing is knowing you know nothing
- To understand is to stand under, not to over-stand
- The flip side of wisdom is humility
- Freedom from identity with perspective
This means freedom from the stories we attach to our lives, to others, to everything. “Not attaching negative stories to it all” means emancipation, freedom, and peace. Peace and wisdom is something that happens within us as we see beyond the stories.
It almost seems like the repetition of a story from only one point of view creates a rut in the psyche, like that in a muddy road. Continued repetitions of the story, whether to ourselves or to others, just makes the rut deeper and harder to escape . . . . Thank you.
Excellent blog and I love Mary’s comment. Ruts of the mind…
Yes, very good comment Mary. Stories are virtual images contrived in hearts and minds. Yet they rule people. They rule the world. For every set of facts, there are an infinite number of stories that can be attached to them. Humanity weaves it own webs.
Say if some of our personal identifications create structures of support like a boat. They allow us to navigate through life, with filters to perceive experience in a certain way, and give survival mechanism to travel rough waters. Sometimes the boat itself needs some work, maybe polishing the brass, tuning the motor, putting up a new mast, getting a new sail, adding a rudder, repairing the hull…
If the individual decides their boat is not adequate for travel and abandons it, and jumps into the deep chasm below, they will never get to the shore on the other side and be free.
They’ll just jump off time and time again, never accepting the boat they are on, unwilling to work on the often difficult task of understanding themselves and repairing their vessel.
We all have a story we favor. It is important that our stories be life-supporting… not destructive. As we grow and evolve, the stories we favor support life more and more. Of course, at times we all make mistakes. Even the wise. Yet the wise are more able to abandon a story when it no longer serves. Pride, fear, anger, etc. etc. are reasons why some find it difficult to align with more life-supporting stories.