What is a spiritual story, and what is spiritual storytelling as opposed to non-spiritual storytelling? As someone who is a storyteller and writer, there is nothing as wonderful as connecting with an audience.
A spiritual story is one that invites you into an experiential remembrance and energetic connection to Source. This is through transmission from the storyteller through whom this spiritual connection is being channeled.
Do not confuse the word channeled with the practice such as The Teachings of Abraham as presented by Esther Hicks or the channeling of the Master Jesus by the wonderful Gina Lake.
Any storyteller or artist, whatever their genre, will tell you that their best work is when they disappear into the story, into the music, or into the dance. It is then that the real story, music, or dance gets presented.
Let me share with you the exploration of spiritual storytelling.
Spiritual Storytelling Menu
What is a Spiritual Story?
Image by Comfreak from Pixabay
What makes a story spiritual is the intention with which it is told. You can have two storytellers tell the same story. One has the intention of entertaining the audience and the other has the intention of inviting the audience to remember who and why they are. One will entertain. The other may transform.
I have listened to professional actors tell stories that have as their foundation the connection with the Divine. While the actors know the words and can create an entertaining performance there is something missing that is really important.
This is the invitation to that place of twixt and in between that connects you to something much larger than yourself but that through INNER KNOWING you are not apart from or ever apart from.
The problem for many storytellers and other artists is that they do not know HOW TO tune into that connection to Divine intention. It’s more about their performance rather than being a channel of transmission of wisdom and insight.
To poison a nation, poison its stories. A demoralised nation tells demoralised stories to itself. Beware of the storytellers who are not fully conscious of the importance of their gifts, and who are irresponsible in the application of their art. – Ben Okri
In this way, there is no transmission. In this way, there is no communion. It is the same with the formal practice of initiating young people into Holy Communion. The role of the Bishop is to channel that experience of Grace of union with the Divine. This is the truly sad spiritual story of our times.
List of Spiritual Stories
Image by Rogier Hoekstra from Pixabay
There are so many wonderful spiritual stories. These are mostly considered children’s stories. Some of them have been turned into sentimental storytelling by Disney.
Spiritual storytelling involves the language of myth, fable, koan, riddle, and parable. This is the language of the soul. This differs from the language of theology, which is the story of the mind.
The soul is fed by myth, the mind by logic. In an alarming factualized world, bombarded by email, infotainment and talk radio, is it any wonder that we yearn for mythology – Peter 0’Connor—Beyond the Mist.
Spiritual Storytelling List
- The Wizard of Oz.
- Percival and The Search for the Holy Grail
- The Four Treasures of Ireland.
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
- The Emperor has No Clothes.
- The Flight from Egypt
- The Fall of Icarus
- Song of Wandering Aengus
- Soul skin Sealskin.
- The Ugly Duckling.
- Skeleton Woman.
- It’s a Long Way to Tipperary.
You might listen to any or all of the above stories and think them quaint and that at least you had a great evening’s entertainment. As a result, you miss the opportunity for connection to the deepest part of you that gives meaning and purpose to you being here.
Example of a Spiritual Story
Let me take you through a spiritual story that is one that I connect with. I love this story because it is really the story of the human condition. I used to hear it all the time when I was young. I loved the movie when I first saw it as a kid with Charlton Heston playing the Hero.
This is a Biblical story. I share it here to give you an understanding of the power of storytelling. I tell this story because it also shows how such we misinterpret spiritual stories. This is usually the case and was the case throughout my religious upbringing in Northern Ireland.
I am not telling you this story to make you a Christian. I am telling it and unfolding it so you might discover the genuine power of myth which is the language of the soul. I tell you it because this story is your story. In this way, you might learn a transformational lesson.
The Story of Moses and the Flight of the Jews from Egypt
Let me summarise this Biblical story in stages.
- Stage 1 – Leaving Slavery in Egypt.
- Stage 2 – Crossing the Desert
- Stage 3 – Crossing the Red Sea.
- Stage 4 – Entry into the Promised Land
When I was being taught this spiritual story in Sunday school, they took it that it was a historical story.
That was all that they invited me to learn and to recognize that somewhere in the Holy Land close to the Red Sea there is a Promised Land.
NOTE—If you read the Bible in a literal sense you miss the whole of the invitation.
They read their Bibles day and night. Where they read black, I read white.—William Blake – English Mystic.
When you are taught a spiritual story in this way, it has little or no relevance for your spiritual life. It is more information. It might be useful to you if you move into teaching Christian scripture, but even then, you will be the blind leading the blind.
Let me share with you how this story and how it applies to the life that you are living now. It takes you into the stages of transformational living necessary for you to go through to experience the Grace of spiritual awakening.
In this way, I hope to share with you a spiritual story in the way it is intended to be understood and not in the way most people teach it.
Recognize that all the characters in a spiritual story represent aspects of yourself. That includes the aspect of this story that is The Promised Land.
Spiritual Story Stage I – Leaving Egypt
Image by enriquelopezgarre from Pixabay
With each stage of unfolding this spiritual story and stage of the spiritual journey let us look at the important symbols that we meet at each stage of the journey.
In the 1st Stage of this story of the journey of spiritual awakening, we have the following symbols.
- Egypt—Collective Personal.
- Slavery—Identification with the False Self
- Pharaoh—The Ego
- Moses—The Intuitive Wisdom Voice Within
It is really important that you remember that this story is about you and these symbols represent aspects of what it is to be a human living on this planet.
This 1st stage of the spiritual journey is where we all begin.
We all live in a collective called humanity (Egypt). We are each in our own way enslaved by our attachment to the False Self or sense of separate personal self.(Slavery). This is not flattering to our ego, but then we all experience this.
The Pharaoh represents our personal sense of self that lord’s it over our True Self. Moses represents that intuitive sense connected to the soul that knows how to lead us out of the slavery of separateness into the union of At-One-Ment with the Divine. (The Promised Land).
Stage II – Crossing the Desert
Image by drassi from Pixabay
In the second stage of the spiritual journey, we have the following symbols
- The desert.
- 40 years.
A desert is a place of emptiness. This is symbolic of how the individual is required to become empty of their personal agenda and surrender to the will of the Divine. This is the entry into that place of stillness and silence within. Stillness and silence are major aspects of the desert experience.
This is symbolic of leaving the known (Egypt) for entry into the unknown. This is what I refer to as Authentic faith. Blind faith is where you remain enslaved in Egypt, hoping that if you do the will of the Pharaoh that it will save you.
Without the crossing into the unknown, you will not be available to be KNOWN through (The Promised Land).
The period of 40 years represents the time to transform from an individual focused on personal achievement to someone who becomes a channel for the Message of Love.
Stage III – Crossing the Red Sea
Image by 733215 from Pixabay
In the third stage of the spiritual journey, we have the following symbols.
- Crossing the Red Sea
- Followed by the Pharaoh’s army.
The Red Sea represents the collective consciousness of humanity based on the experience of duality. The parting of the red sea represents the movement beyond duality and the leaving behind of your connection to the cult of personality.
The Red Sea represents the sum of all the thoughts about life with which the race, consciousness has impregnated the universal ether. In the mythology of the Greeks and Romans this is symbolised by the river Styx, over which souls were ferried by Caron.—Metaphysical Bible Dictionary – Charles Fillmore.
In this spiritual story, Pharaoh’s army represents the collective force of separation that will pull you back into the personal sense of separation. This is to be expected. Mystics have described this as the dark night of the soul.
Stage IV – The Promised Land
Image by Comfreak from Pixabay
The promised land is not a place in the Holy land somewhere in the East. It is a State of Being within your consciousness. It is that state whereby you are In Tune with the Infinite.
You recognize yourself as whole and holy.
This is not some reward that you earn. It is the revelation of who you are. In entering the Promised Land you have awakened to the reality of who you are and why you are.
One thing is certain.
Having entered the Promised Land, you will like Moses return to Egypt. You will not stay in the Promised Land. This is exceedingly rare. You will return to the slavery of your overthinking personal mind.
However, there is also the certainty that you KNOW that it enslaves you.
Your work is to undo the chains that bind you to your sense of separate self. In doing this you bless not only yourself but every one of us who live in slavery to the primary reason for personal and collective suffering on this planet.
These chains are unleashed only through the practice of meditation, prayer or contemplation which is your practice of walking in the desert.
Course in Spiritual Storytelling
Image by Angela Yuriko Smith from Pixabay
As a lover of storytelling, I will be writing an online course in using storytelling as a spiritual practice. This will include the practice of spiritual journaling.
In the meantime, you may like to enroll in a course by a man whose writing I love. This is the writer Thomas Moore, author of The Care of the Soul.
Spiritual Storytelling Resources
Here are some resources to encourage you to explore the transformational power of spiritual storytelling.