The Story We Live By
Is there more than one possible story?
There is the story that sees trees as lumber and mountains as quarries, and the death of the Orcas as lamentable collateral damage that we can’t really do anything about. The same story that values hard work, would lay down its life to protect its family, that pities and disdains the weak.
It may be that this is only one story.
It may be that there is a completely different story in the same way that Traditional Chinese Medicine tells a story that has nothing to do with the story that Western Allopathic Medicine is telling. In the same way that religion tells a story that has nothing to do with the story that science is telling. All these stories make sense in terms of their own principals and don’t make sense if we try to fit them into one of the other stories.
We may have more than one option in the story that we live by.
The thing with the story is that you can’t really be in more than one. It causes conflict. That is to say it continually highlights discrepancies that need clarifying. And yet it may be possible to be in transition from one story to another, to continually encounter these clarifying conflicts, and to make our choice each time about which story we live in. Some days we may choose one story, some days we may choose the other.
If we want change we may have to move to another possible story. This is uncomfortable. I believe this is what they call “groundlessness” in the Buddhist tradition, that uncomfortable feeling that everything we “knew” is no longer there for us to navigate by.
One reason attempts at a new story fail is that the characters change, but the underlying story actually remains the same. Like in revolutions, where the revolutionaries conquer the old masters with the same tools that were used against themselves and so become the new masters.
It seems to me that the first part of deep change…the only kind that could save the Orca whales and many like them…is to see that there is more than one possible story. And then to get really curious about what another story might look like.
What does this have to do with health?
It has everything to do with health. Because the conflict we encounter in our own body is another opportunity for us to get curious about a possible story that is different than the one we already know.