Spiritual Impact of Story Telling:
A Psychological Analysis

By Keyvan Geula

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #86
Louhelen Bahá'í School: Davison, Michigan, USA
October 9–12, 2008
(see list of papers from #86)

Next presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #88
Bosch Bahá'í­ School: Santa Cruz, California, USA
May 28 – June 1, 2009
(see list of papers from #88)

Next presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #93
Louhelen Bahá'í School: Davison, Michigan, USA
October 8–11, 2009
(see list of papers from #93)


    The phenomenon of telling and listening to stories is as old as the history of civilization. The great civilizers of humanity; its divine teachers have used story telling to educate and transform human reality. The stories of Job and Joseph have been revisited in the Bible, Quran and the Bahá'í­ Writings to teach us about the dual nature of human reality and the ways we handle ourselves in crisis and victory.

    In recent years story telling has become a powerful means of political and social change. Science is discovering the power of story in teaching a verity of concepts including math, physics, chemistry, etc. Psychology in particular has found the magical powers of the narrative and story to be a powerful tool to deal with mental diseases especially trauma and how story can help us redefine our story and find our powers.

    In this presentation we explore:
    • What is the definition of story?
    • Why does human brain enjoy stories and what does this affinity do for the positive or negative power of story?
    • How do the emotional and cognitive effects of a narrative influence the work of the mind in psychotherapy and help change our thoughts, views, feelings, beliefs and real-world decisions?
    • Why and how the messengers of God have used the power of story and narrative to teach, guide and protect human reality?
    • How story can help with the integration of science and religion; spirituality and psychotherapy
    • What are the implications of story in the work of the oneness of humanity and our ever advancing civilization?
    • What are some of the examples of use of story and narrative in Bahá'í­ prayers and Teachings?

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