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Posts Tagged ‘oral tradition’

We just spent an idyllic afternoon with very good friends: a barbecue and a wonderful conversation filled with relaxed sharing and laughter. During the day, we exchanged many stories of the past, most of them about moments of natural comedy, of the absurd and unlikely events that are always so much better than fiction; stories that celebrated our eccentricities, foibles, embarrassing moments, blind-spots, and moments of mystery and revelation.

What makes a story powerful is the capacity to tell it from the heart, with total sincerity and openness and with the experience almost fully recovered in an instant as you tell it. In listening, you are drawn into the story by the passion and authenticity of the story-teller’s narrative.

The stories around a patio table are reminiscent of the gatherings round the fire of native cultures ( like the dialogue circles of the Navaho). The oral tradition took a backseat since the written word became dominant but our yearning for the face to face, palpable and emotionally vibrant tale, told in the voice of the one who was there, is deep and persistent.

Telling one’s own stories is both a gift and a responsibility. In offering it, it is incumbent on us to be vulnerable enough to make it real and, in so doing, the act of telling it is itself a spiritual exercise. In the re-telling and the remembrance we elevate the experience. We reveal the nuances of the events that took place and, with good stories, we create a spark that encourages others to tell their’s. The process is one of communal alchemy.

The simplest story becomes a seed planted within the consciousness of those bound together, and so individual minds are touched to reconsider things, perhaps in new ways. These can be magical moments of remembrance and transformative moments as we stumble often onto a perspective or a feeling that invites us to go deeper in searching our heart’s ties to the memory.

Where is the sacred in this? In the alchemy and the harmony that arises from the mix of stories, there lies, deeply embedded inside the metaphors and the symbols, an archetypal ocean that guides us, forges new patterns, and awakens our sensibilities to the fullness of the real!

A day spent with friends is a great blessing indeed and it reminds us of the broader family on which we depend and in relationship to which we discover our meaning.

© Brother Anthony Thomas and The Harried Mystic, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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