As a child in church I used to hear the tale about Jonah and the whale. It was one of my favorites. Jonah was this fellow who hung around with God some 800 years BC. In fact, God decided that Jonah should handle a few housekeeping chores for him. It seems that there was this city called Nineveh and God simply didn’t like the way they handled things there. So God said to himself “Let’s give these Nineveh folks 40 days to straighten up or I will simply destroy the place.” Then he decided he would have his boy, Jonah, roll into Nineveh and deliver the news. Perfect plan. Well except for the part where Jonah headed out on a ship to some other city so he wouldn’t have to go to Nineveh. And God said to himself “Really?”. So God whipped up a really big storm that threatened to sink Jonah’s ship. The sailors on the ship could sense that something was wrong so they picked straws and Jonah got the short one. He obviously was the problem and the sailors simply threw him into the ocean and the storm passed. Good news for the sailors. However, Jonah was now in the ocean and God had his other buddy, the whale, simply swallow him for a few days. And in due time God had the whale simply burp Jonah onto the nearest beach to Nineveh. By then Jonah was willing to do whatever as it’s really crowded and cramped in a whales belly. What does this have to do with our story today?
In my own life I left the corporate world at the age of 37 to spend some years in the ashrams of India seeking out enlightened sages to sort out my own life. It was an incredible immersion into wisdom and consciousness. Upon my return to the West I decided that I would never enter the corporate world again. I would find something new. However, the world wouldn’t cooperate. No matter how hard I tried the only thing that came my way was, you guessed it, corporate work. It turns out that I am a corporate kind of guy who is perfectly built to engage in the wisdom traditions of leadership and presence of the corporate landscape. But I had decided otherwise. And much like Jonah, the whale kept swallowing me and burping me up on the corporate beach. In fact I ate sand so often that I finally, like Jonah, gave in and began to accept the natural story that belongs to only me.
It was in this experience that I began to understand that each human being is a story that is already formed and simply waiting for ignition. Many don’t even see this and pursue some other story as handed to them by society and the like. But if they look closely they will find where the whale has swallowed them and which beach he wants to burp them onto. I saw that if one could find their original story they could rent a nice Jeep and take a picnic basket to the beach rather than stand dripping in some whales digestive juices. Story Theory was born on this recognition.
Story Theory is a set of concepts and tools intended to facilitate the deep dive into consciousness for leaders, creators, and seekers. Its approach is to render concepts as ‘pointers to experience’ resulting in entering experience itself as a tangible story. It’s tools are intended to support and facilitate the original stance within the experiential story field. Aren’t you glad I put a story before this paragraph?
Concepts are intellectual constructions that demand that every individual story is equal or in some way the same. You see a concept’s universality is required or it would speak about nothing. Concepts are rarely challenged as to their homogenous necessity, further they are migrated into the human mind as though they were experience itself. Conversely story is an individual extraction from experience itself. Story seems to be able to hold the sense of movement itself. It has tangibility, when properly delivered, that invites all to stand in an experience in the moment of telling.
This brings us to Original Myth. What is that? Original Myth in contemporary terms could most likely be traced back to Joseph Campbell. He suggested that individuals and relationships hold, at their beginning or source, a rooted, authentic and original story. It’s a one of a kind thing. Over a lifetime most individuals unwittingly forget that story and replace it with a society version of woulds, coulds and shoulds. We lather our original essential story over with synthetic story plaster given to us by others. It must be obvious that giving up our Original Myth Story for any other replacement story robs us of our own most powerful possibility.
One of the central tools in Story Theory is the experience of finding one’s original myth. It is not something that is untrue, which is a common definition. But rather points to the essence of a human being as capsulated in a story. The Greek myths would be a good example of essences rendered into archetypal stories. The idea of an original myth is also nested in the East’s notion of “I Am”. “I Am” is the first defined essence that emerges from the undifferentiated consciousness that we individually are deemed to be. From the moment of the emergence of this “I Am”, an arc of individual human experience or tangible story begins. We each have our own beach on which we are perfectly at home.
Finding your original myth is simply tracking back to the original snowflake that you are. It is the simple finding of that story which holds the essence of your first.
If we will simply remember back to the early years of childhood and the experience of reading fairytales, the sense of story becomes profoundly multidimensional. In these early years it wasn’t uncommon to pull a fairytale from the shelf with the intent to live within the very covers of that book. As a child we could be the hero, the dragon, and any of the assorted sidekicks, of such tales. This experience was much more than the reading or even the telling of the story. In fact, it would be common to spend time exploring the energetic realms that small books thrust into the consciousness of a child. Really it’s the reverse. The consciousness of the child is the field of her original myth. The book has entered her field. And this original myth filed can be explored, much like an enchanted land, by children and, you guessed it, adults. Only to get adults to visit we need to create big concepts like “Original Myth Process” so the adult can go with credibility a child would never need.
The point of the original myth process is to evoke the unique sense of a deep and profound field of consciousness such that a seeker can find their way back to who they really are. That is to say that the unique snowflake of individuality can only be embedded in the story that it’s seeker can find. And they, and only they, are the ones who can find that field.
When utilizing this process it is important to understand that there is no time limit. Many people will take weeks, months, and even years descending on their own personal elevator to the basement where their original myth has always been housed. It is thus necessary to create a sense of relaxation combined with an expectation that the process will live itself. All individual personal effort is antithetical to this process.
Another important understanding of individual story is that the original myth lives in parts and pieces in subsequent stories in a personal lifetime. This means that when asked to find the original myth story, that another later and resonant story might draw the attention of the participant. This is a perfect result. The seeker should find the story in herself that has the strongest energetic. If this is not the original myth story, no problem. Over time it is not unusual that the first found story holds a piece of the energetic and will dissolve when a deeper version of the story makes itself known. Many people have been known to move through 10 or 12 stories before they feel that they have indeed arrived at the original myth story. But the key to all of this is to open the door to the journey rather than create individual effort to push to a right answer. There is no right answer. Whichever story is the strongest in any moment will be the story that allows the individual to stand in rooted authenticity as authenticity is known in that moment.
The journey to the original myth is one that is never-ending. This process is simply the first stab at finding the unique proposition that each human “is”. Therefore, it is necessary to know to stay open and aware of the deepening of this journey that will be happening within them. Today’s story may disappear into a deeper and more profound story that makes itself known in the future. Vigilance and awareness are the stalwarts that facilitate this ongoing journey.
Much like my own story of the Jonah like adventure, finding one’s original myth begins to reveal the arising elements of your story in a whole new way. You might see, much like I did, that my story was delivering me to places that were confusing yet immensely powerful. In my career as a corporate coach I have watched hundreds engage with this descent into themselves. And the presence of these folks has deepened and shown the path to presence and authentic living we all intuitively know are the environs of sages. You know it when you feel the power of presence of extraordinary leaders. When asked they will likely tell you a story. What kind? Certainly the kind with elements of Original Myth.