The human spirit, storytelling and ying and yang

Once again I made a visit to the charity shop and as usual I couldn’t resist picking up a couple of books – it’s hard to resist when the price is 75p – one of which was a book called Fire in The Heart by Deepak Chopra. Of course I’ve heard of him and have a rough idea of who he is and what he’s about, but I’d never read anything by him. In the case of this book it is a spirituality text aimed at teenagers, which is actually what drew me to it. I’ve read a couple of spirituality/philosophical books in the past but they were ones that were aimed at adults and whilst I have gained a lot from the ones I have read, I felt drawn to this one.

I think we all know how easy it is to get set in ‘adult’ and ‘mature’ ways of thinking and when I say that I’m not necessarily grouping those terms together with being rigid or closed minded, I simply mean in the language and approach that is used to look at things. I wanted to experience a book that would approach things in a simpler way to see what that would be like.

It turns out that it’s quite nice to read something that deals with hefty ideas and themes but in an approachable way and is a book that I’m sure would have had a profound impact on me if I’d read it as a teenager (or maybe not, who knows, I was a completely different person back then).

Early on it talks about the soul, how we all have one, attempting to define what this soul is and how it speaks to us, before saying that there are a number of ways it tries to do this, one of these being through the heart. Then it gives an example of how people can join together by listening to their hearts and talks of three steps:

  1. “Tune in the other person.”
  2. “Gain the other person’s trust.”
  3. “Be in harmony; do not resist the other person’s feelings.”

Ying and Yang 

When I read that I had to stop because I had a flood of thoughts hit me. I thought about how those above steps are the very same steps you would take if you were trying to inveigle your way into someone’s life for malevolent reasons, whatever they may be. The closeness between light and dark and good and evil intentions is so – and this will probably read as the wrong word – rich. 

There is such a richness of raw emotional, intellectual and physical material that can be wielded in the same way by multiple people but by dint of intention have such vastly different effects.

There is so much friction and drama there. When you take those above steps and remember they are being equated to how the soul communicates, and then realise that in some cases what people are actually doing is wilfully misusing their soul, that is a powerful idea to think about.

Storytelling 

Within these words are also the basis for countless stories. Deception is one of the reoccurring themes in novels, films, TV. Deception may be one of the key themes in life. Deception from governments, by the media, I’m sure at some point we’ve all been deceived by people, deception by ourselves to ourselves. Because that is something that comes up time and time again when I delve into philosophical and spiritual reading. How much do we keep ourselves from having the life we want, or from doing what truly makes us happy by not listening to our souls, however you wish to quantify what a soul is.

And isn’t that a huge storytelling plot too, a character realising that what they are doing isn’t what they really want to be doing and embarking on a journey to rectify that? Or should I say circumstances happen that show them that what they have right now is a pale imitation of what they really desire; in effect they have been deceiving themselves. Our lives are one big narrative and books, stories and our continuing life stories and experiences can all be used to navigate life as and how we see fit.

There’s nothing more to really say other than these were the thoughts that came up and there’s something there, a fundamental, life-affirming beauty and connectedness to spirituality, our lives and storytelling that I can’t vocalise the way I want right now but is something that becomes clearer over time.

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