One of our most impressive powers as human beings is our power of language. We use language as we speak externally to others and as we speak internally to ourselves. Part and parcel of that power are the stories we tell. Story telling is an essential and awesome aspect of our human experience. It is one of the ways we communicate how we make sense of the world — our interpretation of reality. As far as we know, it is a particularly human way of communication.
When we learn from stories and are expanded in our discovery of what it means to be a true human being, we benefit immeasurably. If our stories serve to limit us or demean others, we — and others — suffer unnecessarily. In the willingness to simply stop telling the story that is causing suffering, there can be immediate opening and recognition of the truth of who one is. Stopping the telling and retelling of a story is different from making that story better. When we stop the story, if only for a moment of inquiry, we give up hope that the story itself will deliver what we long for.
The appearance of a story (physical story, mental story, emotional story or circumstantial story) needn’t be an obstacle to recognizing the peace that underlies all stories. Quite often the most obscuring and entangling stories are the ones we do not even realize we are telling. Certain themes become so habitual that we don’t consider them stories. We consider them simply reality.