Psychological and Spiritual Impact of Story Telling
How our love for telling tales reveals the workings of the mind
By Keyvan Geula
Presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #88 (English)
Bosch Bahá'í School: Santa Cruz, CA, USA
May 28-31, 2009.
Presented Saturday, 21:30-22:30
A version of this paper was also presented at Session #86, Louhelen 2008, and Session #93, Louhelen 2009. See also a follow-up paper delivered at Session #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 powers 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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