Dreaming In[to] Story

The Depth of Learning through Our Own Mythos

We, as humans, learn by story. Or, perhaps better to say that we learn very deeply through story. It is why we love movies, tv shows, novels. It is why mythologies from thousands of years ago still resonate with us today even in our daily lives. It is why many of the great teachers, spiritual and otherwise, throughout time teach through story.

Stepping into a story through a movie or a novel or a poem, stepping into a story through fairytale or the story of a great spiritual teacher allows us to step in through experience, not just through an idea of something. When we experience something, we know it in a different way than when we learn about something without the experience. It is the difference between having a concept of love, say, or a concept of living in a war versus the actual moment the world changes when we fall in love or the experience of residing in the mundane and terrible realities of war. 

To know through the experiential, to know through body knowledge, to come to know for ourselves through our own experience is one way to define gnostic knowing and one way to step into the embodiement of our knowing. I use the word gnostic not as it applies to the gnostic movements of some of the early christian movements, but as the root of the word calls to me – the gnosis, the knowing of something through the experiential, through the sensual, and, for those with a spiritual practice, through the guidance of that spiritual practice/teaching.

Our dreams most often work in this way, too. They come, and they come, with stories. The difference, of course, between a movie/novel/story and a dream is that we are plucked out of our daily life and set inside the story. Plucked and plunged. When we fall asleep at night, we do fall. We fall and are plunged into another realm where the rules of our waking life do not apply. 

It is a realm that has been given many names, of course. Jung called it the unconscious. What happens when we fall into that realm is that the unconscious, for want of a better word, takes us in and creates a story and a world around us to teach us something, to bring us into the soul journey that is only ours to take. And each step is taken through the story the dream constructs around us, the story the dream plucks us down into so that we can know with our whole bodies, what the soul wants us to know.