If you're like me, you're in the thrall of stories, all kinds of stories. And, like me, you probably have some awareness of how this enthrallment creates problems.
In fact, some stories (such as those injected into public discourse) seem primarily designed to create problems. They prey on our tendencies toward certainty or confusion . . . both of which move us away from reality.
Similarly, we flood our lives with countless self-generated stories (narratives, discursive thoughts, fantasies) that only to stoke the fires of greed, hatred and delusion. In my own self-study, I sometimes can see how my narratives actually have within them the intention to produce discord.
Curiously, not all stories create problems. We have available many stories that function to point us directly toward reality.
I'm thinking of the wonderful stories created by Dr. Seuss; of the powerful themes of The Iliad; of the moral lessons in Buddha's Jataka Tales; and of the transformative potential in Zen koans, just to name a few.
In their clarity, such stories rattle the foundations of certainty and cut through confusions, helping us see how we get hooked by narratives and fantasies, both public and private. Perhaps that's why they persist over time. In any case, I'm grateful for them.