Exchanging Stories

When something does not make sense, we can exchange one story for another.

I see that tendency for myself, related to the situations mentioned in the previous postings.

There is a group I am involved in, and some of their strategies does not make sense to me. They seem out of place in our culture.

Unacceptable story

One story is that it all comes out of culture clash, of accepting strategies appropriate to another culture but not so helpful in this.

The big problem here is that this story makes the main teacher appear not so receptive and skillful, and the senior folks servile.

Since I want to maintain my high regard of them all (which is sincere and genuine), I choose to disregard this story, or at least put it on the back burner.

Acceptable story

An acceptable story, although it is a little bit of a stretch, is to see it all as aimed to trigger things in the students. They do things which appear unreasonable and less appropriate in this culture, so that their students have an opportunity to explore and eventually find some peace with their buttons and hangups.

Gurdijeff apparently was a proponent of this approach. Once, a student who regularly pissed everyone else off decided to leave his center. And Gurdijeff ran after him and begged him to stay, exactly because he pissed people off.

It is a perfectly valid strategy. It is important, essential, to see these hangups – these really arbitrary preferences of the personality, and find peace with them. Allow them to resolve. Allow them into awareness.

The one flaw in this story is that life itself provides us with ample opportunities to see our buttons and hangups. Every day, there is typically something that pushes our buttons, and gives us an opportunity to bring the button and the process into awareness. There is really no need to add to it. There is plenty of material as it is.

Inadequacy of stories

Then, of course, the inadequacies of stories in general becomes apparent.

They are all just stories. Just maps. Limited, of only temporary helpfulness. Always less than and different from the world.

And trying to exchange stress producing stories with peace inducing ones is stressful in itself. It doesn’t really work. It requires constant upkeep, and even then the original stress inducing stories continue to lie in the background and slip out as soon as we don’t pay attention.

No belief in stories

The only solution is to allow the belief in the stories to fall away. The stories themselves won’t, at least not on command. But beliefs can erode, through inquiry.

And they do.

The stories are still there, as a transparent overlay – some of which helps us in a very practical way to navigating in the world. But they are seen as just that, an overlay of stories. Nothing to take too seriously, nothing to believe in.

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