After careful consideration I think I’ve discovered the meaning of life. It started with my spiritual adventures, when I was enlightened to Story Of The Spirit And The Meaning Of Life. It changed the way I perceived reality in a significant way…
The Story Of The Spirit Is a Gift
Did you know that a good story is a gift for the mind.
It accepts it without question. We are helpless against a good story. The first step to understanding the meaning of life is to let go of the story, stop following the plot, and then you will understand the truth.
But what is truth?
The whole story…
We are all so embroiled in our pursuit of the best conclusion to the plot of our lives, which will lead us to what we think will bring us happiness, that we are missing the point.
Often the truth is lost in that pursuit.
Yet, the insane, dogged desire to follow the plot, no matter what, can take us directly to our doom. I say, let go of it, and rewrite the story of your life! Create a plot that is your truth alone.
Letting go of the plot lets us see what is really there. The conclusion will surprise you…
There are two kinds of stories. One is written by someone else: the plot you are probably following now; the other is written by you!
Either you follow someone else’s story, become a character in a daily fiction, they convince you is real; or you write your own fiction, and make it come true. In both cases, these stories become your truth…
Any way, after reading a story of the spirit, one fundamental, universal truth seemed to be telling me something. The meaning of life comes out of the bewildering effect that there seems to be no meaning at all.
Life is an inexplicable mystery, that lacks any plausible explanation…
Who are we, why are we here, and where we going? What is the meaning of life? I think I have found the answer.
This is not a speculation, this is a fact gained through direct experience. So what is the meaning of life? Why are we here? It seems we are here to tell stories!
How do I know this?
I know this through the careful observation that everything boils down to a story. Telling stories is the only way we can communicate.
A lie itself is a story, a pure fabrication meant to impress some one. Even many cave drawings are over exaggerated depictions of godlike animals, that the supposed, mighty hunter conquered for his people.
So why do people lie?
On the surface you could say to gain an advantage, to raise someone’s self-esteem. But raising someone’s self-esteem is, in essence, like improving one’s character. Lying helps us to improve the character we are playing in the story of life, to make us appear bigger, bolder, braver, richer, more intelligent characters; yet often it is just through the illusion of a lie. In essence, everything is a lie, because everything is made up, because we don’t know what the hell is going on here to begin with.
The meaning of life is to embrace the great mystery, to wrap yourself in it like a warm blanket, and start creating new realities. Simply said: telling a story is the first step in creating a meaning that makes sense!
So what I’m trying to say is:
Life is a mystery: we invent stories about it to give it meaning to make us feel better!
Life is so incredible, so mind-boggling, the universe so vast, complex and simple at the same time, that it should take our breath away just thinking about it. Every time we go outside, and look into the night sky to see the vast and endless, expensive space surrounding us, we should fall down in tears for the sheer, mind-boggling magnitude of this incredible mystery!
Life, and the universe, just can’t be explained with any kind of logic, or with any kind of story, no matter how plausible it might seem.
We just don’t know what the hell is going on here! None of us!
This makes people very uncomfortable. Even the most religious people have moments of doubt, which come up from their subconscious, and torment them from time to time. They call it: loosing faith.
I think we are all, at one time in our lives, confronted with the uncomfortable truth that we do not know what’s really going on here. That is why we write stories to try and help us cope with this incredible mystery called life, and to cope with our apparent helpless ignorance.
By the time we’ve grown up, we think we have the answer, we think we have it all figured out. But for most people we have just become complacent, happy characters in someone else’s plot, where we feel numb to the mystery, and the most comfortable…
What we know is not enough, in fact we know nothing.
But everything we’ve created, from a paper clip, an occupation, an empire, religion, or scientific dogma, is created through fiction, through some one’s imagination.
But there is a silver lining in all of this, believe it or not. It’s something that can give us hope. Strangely, it’s the sheer fact of not knowing that gives meaning to our lives. Through our not knowing, a whole new exciting, exhilarating, incredible universe arises!
It’s the universe of trying to make sense out of the conundrum that surrounds us. We have invented so many different stories to explain life, none of which could possibly be true. Because the more we think we know, the less we know, the greater the Mystery becomes.
The oracle of Delphi once said: Socrates is the wisest man on Earth, because he admits he knows nothing…
The trick is to accept the mystery, and live in it, moment to moment, in awe of it’s inexplicable beauty, with the open mind of the observer. Telling stories about it is perfectly all right too. Stories enrich our experience in this universe, and our lives…
The stories we create together are so intricate, so beautiful, so well orchestrated and sublime, it is like some gigantic human symphony. But like with every symphony, there are those beautiful, harmonious notes that come crashing down into the worst kind of tragic melodies. We live in a world of cooperation, yet one of separation too, of conflict, suffering and greed. But these are all the perfect elements of a great story, right?
Some Interesting points about story
There is no doubt story is king on Earth. Without stories, civilized nations could not be built. Without stories, human interaction, communication, the story of universal love, or the poetic love of two people could not be told. When we tell someone we love them, usually that person asks: why? At that point we have to tell them the story of why we love them. There is no aspect of life that does not revolve around story. The thing we talk about the most at work: our favourite TV shows and movies, or even sport events, are all stories. The stars we worship in movies, plays, and musicals are remembered for the part they played in stories.
How many times has a story like Romeo and Juliet be retold throughout the centuries?
The point is, everyone in the world will tell it differently, from their perspective.
Fiction becomes truth, becomes fiction, fiction becomes the story of our lives. Everything boils down to a story:
Everybody sees life differently, and experiences it differently, and has a different story to tell.
And what about our conversations? What part of it is real? When we talk with other people, we are looking for an effect that will promote our egos. We hardly even listen to the people we are talking to, because we are already thinking of an impressive response. Our conversation is like real time acting, based on memory of speech we have already used, and are now being acted through our character, to present the best possible performance that will advance us socially.
It’s all just an act, and our story is being written minute by minute, only to be stored on the screenplay of our minds, to be reenacted for other people later. And when we tell our so called real life stories, we are also looking to create an effect, or entertain others, through our wonderful tales.
We love people who listen. Why?
Because then we can tell them our story. Most of us think that our story is more important than other people’s stories.
It is our stories, the ones we tell about ourselves, that make us human.
Story is the very fabric of our reality, everything we do, everything we experience becomes a story.
When we are being told a story, things change dramatically. Not only are the language processing parts in our brain activated, but any other area in our brain that we would use when experiencing the events of the story are too.
A story can put your whole brain to work. And yet, it gets better:
When we tell stories to others that have really helped us shape our thinking and way of life, we can have the same effect on them too. The brains of the person telling a story and listening to it can synchronize.
Anything you’ve experienced, you can get others to experience the same way. Or at least, get their brain areas that you’ve activated that way, active too:
Evolution has wired our brains for storytelling.
A story, if broken down into the simplest form, is a connection of cause and effect. And that is exactly how we think. We think in narratives all day long, no matter if it is about buying groceries, whether we think about work or our spouse at home. We make up (short) stories in our heads for every action and conversation. In fact, Jeremy Hsu found that: “personal stories and gossip make up 65% of our conversations.”
Now, whenever we hear a story, we want to relate it to one of our existing experiences. That’s why metaphors work so well with us. While we are busy searching for a similar experience in our brains, we activate a part called insula, which helps us relate to that same experience of pain, joy, or disgust.
We link up metaphors and literal happenings automatically. Everything in our brain is looking for the cause and effect relationship of something we’ve previously experienced.
How the structure of story relates directly to life
What makes the best story? The one where the hero suffers, and through a difficult struggle the hero suffers terribly. The bigger the suffering the better the story. It’s the same in real life, especially when we overcome the suffering. Lets look further: life is so similar to a screenplay it’s almost scary. Everyday we are playing out romances, comedies, action, horror, and tragedy stories.
We are more likely to listen to people’s stories of struggle, then listening to a story of people taking a vacation in Hawaii.
We all have a story. Most people live a story within a story, being caught up in someones else’s narrative…
In this case, stories are the essential frameworks that have built our empires throughout the centuries. All of our major religions are based on stories.
Stories teach us how to live, how to love, how to discover love, what we need to change, how to create a better society, etc. But is that all?
No: the greatest, and highest goal of storytelling is taking the human race to places we have never been before, because that is the essence of creation.
The meaning to life is to create new stories through the great differences shared between us. Perhaps through our struggle we will be able to go places we have never gone before?
There’s the story of independence. There is the story of the Renaissance. Even our most sacred beliefs and constitutions that are supposed to be true, are stories…
Could it really be that this life on Earth exists so that we can create stories?
Humans have a deeply rooted need to be entertained through stories right?
Because so much of storytelling is about establishing alternate realities, alternate worlds, or universes where experiences become fantastic and strange. We want to be taken to places we have never been before, we want to be shown new possibilities. Thus, storytelling is being used everywhere today, in the work place for communicating goals, to manage conflicts, to relate to past and set the course for the future.
When we are absorbed in a story, we drop our intellectual guard. We are moved emotionally, and this seems to leave us defenceless.
Stories can also function as Trojan Horses. The audience accepts the story because, for a human, a good story always seems like a gift. But the story is actually just a delivery system for the teller’s agenda. A story is a trick for sneaking a message into the fortified citadel of the human mind.
Thus, storytelling can be used for good or bad, but is a huge motivational tool to get things done. In this way everything we have built has been created all because none of us have a clue about life.
Conclusion: Stories inspire us to create new realities, and help us feel something, to experience emotions. The right combination of emotion leads us to pathos, to wanting to create new realities.
Story telling is a function of creating new ‘what if’s’, creating knew knowledge in the form of story, yet there really being no knowledge, just a story. There are no facts, only interpretations, told through story, constructing reality, new reality! Our full potential boils down to a story!
What do stories equate to: new possibilities! Or, for the unwise, holding onto belief systems that are detrimental.
Who are we, why are we here, and where we going? Philosophers have been trying to explain this for centuries. It all just boils down to a story. Start writing the story of your life now, discover your power animal, create new realities for yourself today.
This article was donated by our guest author Michael Hills
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