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Life Is Story: Tales and Journeys in Practical Spirituality in the Aesthetic Plasma of Story in the Lila

  • Barbara A. Amodio
Chapter

Abstract

Life Is Story presents the aesthetic form of Story, in particular sacred story as opposed to secular story, as the true nonfictional prototype of all practical spirituality and inner transformation in the life journey of Persons headed toward human and meditative excellence. Story is further framed, like a story within a natural nest of many stories, in the paralleling and interpenetrating wider contexts of meditation following Patanjali and the civilization of high spirituality rooted in the Indian culture of Sanatana Dharma. The inner journey of Persons in service to the worlds unfolds alongside the constitutive elements of Story, illustrating the way ordinary lives may rise through inner reflection to the artistic richness of an integrated work of sacred living art exhibiting the canons and criteria of aesthetic oneness despite the tangle of events that distort, cover, distract, and beguile. The inner journey is aesthetically explored as the devices and magic of Story are decoded. An extraordinary and sacred adventure is revealed in a real aesthetic plasma, at once a display of a living storyfield of reciprocating karmas and a glistening but temporary maya of opportunities to find, hold, or lose the compassionate middle way between all pairs of opposites. Life Is Story explores the highest expression of sacred Story, the Parable, as a distinct nonfiction and the real calculus of life at a more exalted level than the fictional creativity of ordinary and secular stories. All Story nevertheless employs the same technical aesthetic devices to deliver up the noble poetry of humanitarian messages. ‘Story’ in the singular intends a true Platonic Essence (Form) on par with the ‘Para’ designation of Indian systems, something utterly beyond Nama-Rupa and the grasp of ordinary, even extraordinary, ‘mind’ and its discursive operations and affects. The descriptive adjective ‘sacred’ as opposed to merely secular reinforces this distinction. Ordinary ‘stories’ are existential examples (existents), and may at that be either sacred or secular. The ‘heart’ of Story is higher than the top of the appearing hierarchical umbrella (well beyond the grasp of the physical, appearing, dazzling web of existential maya available to the five gross senses and the sixth subtle sensing organ of mind/manas). Story appeals to Soul (Atman) in the total economy of persons considered as body-mind-Spirit. Story, and Parable as high sacred Story, appeals to the Soulstate of persons. Ordinary, secular storiessacred miss the mark completely, or strike at the ‘universal’ level without recognition that the fullest frame and environment of Story, and of all its arsenal of devices, launches an appeal to the listening Soul where mindstuff has dissolved, never confusing high state mind with Soulstate. The large flaw of western metaphysics, psychology and cosmology is precisely the confusion of mindstate or mindstuff (citta-as-manas) with Soulstate (true meditation beyond mindstuff). This was at the top of my list of impediments to genuine east-west dialogue when I was invited to present and convene sessions at a world congress on Mysticism at Bangalore (at what is now Christ University), when the Dalai Llama was the keynote speaker. Failure to distinguish between high state Mind and Soul, which operates totally beyond Nama-Rupa, is the greatest failure and impediment to authentic east-west dialogue and communication. Words are used but meanings are missed, very completely, in philosophy and in the true phenomenology of consciousness. ‘Story’ in the singular keeps the focus on what I will call ‘Fourth Order’ psychologies of consciousness, based on Patanjali’s Yoga Psychology, rather than the Freudianism (1st order), Behaviorism (2nd order) and even the visionary Existential psychologies of a Sartre and a Merleau-Ponty (3rd order) in the west. Parable, however, moves beyond the humanitarian into the eternal and spiritual domain. One steps unawares and comfortably into sacred parabolic meanings poised on Infinity through the lassos, knots, and more of life under the spell and surge of Story’s meticulously embedded symbols and crescendo that flow through shift after shift of karmically and electrostatically charged storyfields and moments conspiring to restore sacred connections to the high spiritual culture and civilization of Sanatana Dharma, its Indian and closely allied spiritual and meditative cultures.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara A. Amodio
    • 1
  1. 1.Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (CSCU)HartfordUSA

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