The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Down the Story rabbit-hole

The following is part of a correspondence with "Lynn," a reader who is tasked with teaching leadership skills to extremely high-level executives. We've talked about storytelling as it relates to consciousness, and also to the discipline of Hatha yoga, and breathing. The conversation sort of came together in our last conversation. She is very close to a breakthrough if she keeps going in this direction. Can you see why?


Lynn: When we chatted last, you said - Poetry happens in between the words. Yes, I agree! Music happens in between the notes. Yes, I agree! (Think of the movie, Copying Beethoven). Silence is the key. When you feel that silence, your soul will sing!

So, here’s my question. Where do our stories happen? Where does yoga happen?

Yes, stories synthesize meaning into our lives. I would say that the left brain IS involved in storytelling as the organizer (beginning, middle, end of the story); the right brain is the emotional, body based brain where all stories' meaning are stored; front cortex is the language -words - of the story.

Do you see yoga as the space in between inhale and exhale? And is that the link between mind and body? How does the breath actually link mind and body? I always say the breath is being present and when you're with the breath, you're embodied and not in your head. But our minds often go to past and future so to say that yoga is the link between the mind and body -- would you say only the "present" mind?

How do you see that centeredness of yoga helps access your story? Do we have stories based on the chakras? Is that why the chakras are story based -- root chakra, safety, etc.



The COMMAND to breathe--or the decision to ride the breath--somehow connects to the breath. Think about it. You can think "breathe" without breathing. And you can breathe without thinking. But there is a kind of thought that causes a breath. I'm not interested in philosophizing about it as much as I am in creating a context in which students can have the actual experience.

It is in breathing that you examine this connection, which has no meaningful name unless you have experienced it. (Much as "vanilla" has no meaning unless you have tasted it.)

Yoga, meaning unity or "to yoke" is in the moment--which is more than the "present"--it is also past and future, since those are conceptual and created by consciousness. In the moment is all eternity.

"Story" does not exist separate from mind. Being centered gives greater access to all that we are (since we are not separated into past/future, or here/there. And the more of our being we access, the easier it is to create the non-linear emotional connections that turn facts into "story" in our minds and hearts.)

It is easy to create stories based on Chakras. Since the Chakras are just a story told to explain certain psychosomatic phenomena, they are really about human consciousness. And all stories are about only two things:
1) What is the world?
2) What are the human beings who perceive that world?

I wouldn't say the chakras are story based, but I can totally understand the position. If by that you mean that they are a story we tell ourselves--then yes. They are in that sense a "complex equivalent"--a way of simplifying a phenomenal amount of data, sensory or conceptual, so that the younger "self," closer to the divine (or emotional) can understand and "crunch" the information, relating ancient wisdom to modern context.

An organization or political entity finds it ESSENTIAL to control the story. Story is what makes a clock, as opposed to a pile of gears and springs.


I am tempted to continue down this road for a discussion of storytelling from a philosophical point of view. If readers agree that this would be useful, I'll do it!


Anonymous said...

I, for one, am interested! It's a fascinating topic in and of itself--but when coupled with your perspectives on the Hero's Journey it should be better still!

Travis said...

Absolutly interested in more nature of the story philosophy.

Pagan Topologist said...

Orson Scott Card has said that he is deliberately trying to shape society through his stories.

Pagan Topologist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marty S said...

Card's empire and hidden empire were extremely interesting and provocative with respect to the current state of our county. I highly recommend them.