There are stories all around us.
It’s not just when we sit and watch TV or a movie, or when we open a book for our bedtime read. Stories envelope our lives because we are stories.
From the moment of birth until the day we are immersed back into time, we live a story. The choices we make, the people we meet, the happiness we bask in and the sorrow we feel are moments of our stories.
Our stories are intertwined with stories of those around us, and they contribute to our stories by giving us tales of those who are in their story. We react, we respond, we judge, we praise and we condemn.
And all this is part of our story.
How we view our own story can be very different from others we aren’t the protagonist in our tale. Just as how we view the story of others isn’t the same as how they view it. After all, they are the protagonists of their stories, not us.
What has this got to do with clarity, calm and confidence?
The thing about clarity, calm and confidence is that it all boils down to us. If we want to have clarity, we need to work to declutter. If we want to invite calm, we have to make an effort and skilful choices. Once these two elements come into lives, we tend to get a little confident.
When we work towards clarity, we tend to have glimpses of our selves. We learn about ourself, and that helps us to understand ourself. Once this happens, we hopefully can accept ourself. So we
- Learn about ourself as we seek clarity and vice-versa; and
- Gain some calm as we learn more and more to accept ourself.
The final step is we value ourselves. And once we value ourself, we definitely will have confidence.
And what has this got to do with stories?
The stories all around – especially our own narrative – can gain clarity when we reflect on other stories. There are so many stories of wisdom, rich with symbolism, metaphors and allegories that are applicable so long as you are human.
Especially, I am talking about stories from yoga. These stories, together with its separate and sometimes related philosophy has helped to iron out the confused threads within my own story.
As this happened over the years – together with the physical practice, as well as practising the philosophy in my day-to-day – I saw a clearer picture of who I was, who I am and who I want to be.
But the stories don’t necessarily have to be from yoga. There are many tales and fables with equally compelling lessons from which we can learn. And from which we can learn more about ourselves and the others around us.
What is your story?
This is a good exercise to begin with. Think about your life – all that took place to make you the person you are, the crossroads you came to, all the decisions you made, and the people you are with that helped forge your narrative.
If you were to write a book, what would be its title? What would to name each chapter? What made you do what you did, and how did it make you feel? Who else influenced your actions and emotions?
This is a good method of beginning to see that our life is our story.
Once we see our life is a story, and we are the heroes / heroines of them, perhaps we can also see that the life of others are their stories, and they are the heroes / heroines of them.
On that note, more about the people around us.
Subjective reality / subjective truth.
As we live and see our own story differently from those around us, it appears we live in our own subjective reality and also have our own subjective truth. In India, this is called “mithya” (in Sanskrit). This is not the opposite of objective truth, but a finite expression of satya, which is the infinite truth.
Ancient Hindu seers knew myth as mithya. They distinguished mithya from sat. Mithya was truth seen through a frame of reference. Sat was truth independent of any frame of reference. Mithya gave a limited, distorted view of reality; sat a limitless, correct view of thingsexcerpt from Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik. “Myth = Mithya: Decoding Hindu Mythology”
Our narratives are all experienced through a frame of reference. Likewise the stories of those living around us. For example, we may see our boss as an unreasonable tyrant, but he may see us as lazy and having no initiative.
So the stories in yoga help to open up these revelations to us, through their symbolism, metaphors and sometimes allegories. Likewise, the stories from other cultures.
In October, we looked at the symbolism of the goddess, to celebrate Navaratri. This month, since we’ll be looking at men’s wellness, I thought it fitting to reflect on the the symbolism of Shiva, the ultimate yogi.
I really look forward to exploring these stories with you. I hope they open up new chapters in your story and help you view yourself more clearly.
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