Recently, I enrolled in an online story conference. I’m usually enriched by the insights into human nature that storywriters possess. But this conference provided a different insight.

The leader of the conference encouraged participants to share their most important life story. There were many volunteers who desperately wanted to jump into the spotlight. They described past memories, problems, and occasional successes. Each storyteller would go on and on enamored with the details of their life; we listeners just wished they would get to the point.

The conference leader tried to get them to focus. But to the storyteller, every last detail was important. Once people started sharing their story, there was no off switch.

It is said that humans are natural storytellers. However, there is a huge gap between the ancient master storyteller and today’s ordinary social sharing.

A true storyteller in the ancient world understood his or her responsibility to enrich the lives of the listener. He or she used story to teach, heal, or mentor others. We can only accomplish those objectives when we share stories from a place of responsibility. If we admit our mistakes, share our true feelings, and strive to reveal our authentic self, we have stepped into a place of real power. That power is also conveyed to our listeners.

The practice of responsible storytelling is a long, lost art. Esoteric wisdom says that all stories have a cause that literally comes from the stars. Ancient astronomers viewed the star constellations as gods. Without television or the Internet to entertain them at night, they invented stories about the lives of the gods based on the movement of the stars. The stories were told again and again until they were believed by the masses. Once the beliefs were in place, related circumstances manifested in the lives of the people.

Wise people viewed this phenomenon as God's creative formula. They saw the words of stories as the raw materials of creation. In the Bible, John reminded us of this ancient wisdom when he said, "In the beginning, was the word."

So what started as myth eventually manifested as reality. Our physical world is dual in nature. In other words, our perspective of reality always has two sides. But over time, reality devolved into history, which is really "his story." History was the invention of sharing only one side of a story. It is said that the winners wrote the history books. The losers wanted to forget the event ever happened.

Since the patriarchy invented the idea of telling only his side of the story, they generally got to be right. In short, our current method of storytelling emphasizes our male side or our intellect. We describe events, dates, places, and times. We provide reasons for why we are right or good. We skip right over our feminine-oriented feelings and desires.

Without feminine balance, stories no longer considered the wellbeing of the listener. They were no longer creative blueprints or visions of future dreams. They were no longer inclusive for all people. People would hear stories that didn’t feel good, but they could not argue with the authority that told the story.

As the devolution of story continued, people invented monsters, enemies, and devils. They also invented marketing, propaganda, and tabloids. The storytellers noticed that when they told these types of stories, the people listening became emotional and powerless.

The storyteller knew that their words were fiction, and they remained calm. They appeared to be powerful and wise. The storyteller looked courageous when he or she was simply the possessor of insider information. Today some people call this ethical manipulation. But there is nothing ethical about it.

While the masses lived in fear of a mythological enemy, the storyteller rose in power becoming a king or high priest. These were the false prophets, lords, and leaders who soared high on emotional fuel courtesy of their devoted followers. Nothing much has changed over the years except for the titles.

Occasionally someone came along who stood outside the group stories. They seem to be following a different storyline for their life. They became the master of that personal story and captain of their own life ship. To the common man, these beings looked like gods. Religions erupted around these wise ones.

People were taught to be like the master, but the master was only powerful because he was being himself. He was living his life, dreaming his dream, and powerfully directing his own personal story.

Unlike these masters, ordinary people huddled around a collective story living similar lives. They could not see an escape route from the illusion the story created because they existed in a shared reality. They were stuck in stories that never healed or resolved. They wondered what happened to their dreams, their life. They lived with hope that a new super character would save them or at least end the damn thing.

A great example of this phenomenon is the story of the Revelation in the Bible. The churches in the story were real churches of John’s time. This was John’s personal quest, his battle, and his story. But it became a collective story. The churches and John are long gone. But people have identified with his story and still await the Armageddon. The story can't resolve on the collective level because it was John's personal story. Only John had the solution. We can certainly learn from John’s story just as we can learn from any other’s story; but to live it and make it part of our destiny is to place ourselves in a prison with no parole.

Esoteric wisdom explains that we weren't meant to live out other people's stories. We were only meant to learn from them. We were meant to live our life from our own personal story. When we do this, we have all the answers.
And when we pay attention to the answers, we become masters of our life.

It is said that jewelweed is a cure for poison ivy and always grows nearby. Likewise, the solutions to our problems in life are right next to our personal story that we carry within our hearts.

People are looking for answers outside of themselves because they are living other people’s stories. Even if we win an Oscar for our performance in another’s movie, we’ll never feel real joy or peace. We didn’t come to earth to live another person’s life story, not even if that person is Jesus or Buddha. We came to live our own life.

Don't fret if you don't know your own personal story. If you truly want to know it, you'll discover it. I guarantee you that the clues are all around you. Your greatest desires, your successes, your failures, and your fears are all manifestations of your personal story script.

You know that you are following your story if you feel joyful inside. You know it when you feel peace. You know it when your emotions are calm. You know it when you feel healthy, vital, and alive.

On the other hand, our emotions tell us when we are not living our story. Excitement, hope, even pride are symptoms that we’re doing a great job of mastering someone else’s story. Fear, anger, and jealousy are all signs that we are moving in the opposite direction our personal story.

The people who shared their painful stories at the conference were missing the key point of great story telling. Stories about suffering and hardship can be entertaining if you add enough sex, violence, and special effects. They bring riches to Hollywood.

Our heart wants to hear stories of freedom. Our spirit wants our pain and suffering to cause us to turn around and look within. Our spirit wants us to fulfill our desires and dreams. When one of us finds our way out of the collective illusion, we all move closer to an earthly paradise. When we focus on mastery of our own life, we simply don’t have time for war or unhealthy competition. We don’t need ethical manipulation to succeed.

The ancient mystery schools taught people the way out. But they gave that wisdom to only a few privileged initiates. Today we can all achieve the same enlightenment and freedom as the master initiates of the ancient world. We start by committing to honor our personal story.

When we become responsible to mastering our story, a new path opens before us. The ancient people had a name for the day we take our first step on our own path of initiation; it was called our “second birth.”

Author's Bio: 

Cathy Eck has studied ancient mythology and symbolism for decades. She discovered her own personal story in 1997. She mentors others in living from their authentic self, as well as discovering and following their own personal story. More personal story information and an example of a friend’s unique story can be found at her blog: