Story is a powerful thing.
It has the power to help us engage with the world in a way we normally choose not to. It activates our mind, senses and imagination. We are all the better for it when we let ourselves be exposed to the power of story. When you think back in time, we as a species have been using the arts to communicate story before the majority of people were able to read. Cavemen painted pictures in caves, Orthodox churches used pictures in the stained glass to communicate the gospel, and artists everywhere have been using different modes of art to tell their story. When we hear or experience a story we are able to grow as an individual and leave the story a changed person. Here are some ways that story impacts us:
It can cut through our established biases – Listening to a story can be a way for you to actually hear a perspective, thought, idea or belief that you may normally be closed off to. Hearing story can push through all of those biases and judgement you hold and expose you to a new way of seeing things.
It is memorable – Story has the ability to have a lasting impression on us. How many of use remember a story a family member of friend told you that you can still recall today? I know I have many moments where I recall a story that is meaningful to me. The stories we tell and the ones we listen to have a way of sticking around in our mind and lasting longer than just a lecture or sermon that we have heard.
It can persuade without being preachy – Story is powerful tool to help share your opinion, belief or perspective and really make an impact on someone without coming across as a salesman or a preacher. This is a great way for pastors, theater directors, and artists everywhere can use because it is such a powerful mode of communication.
It engages the whole mind – According to the New York Times “What scientists have come to realize in the last few years is that narratives activate many other parts of our brains as well, suggesting why the experience of reading can feel so alive. Words like “lavender,” “cinnamon” and “soap,” for example, elicit a response not only from the language-processing areas of our brains, but also those devoted to dealing with smells.” It seems that story has the ability to help our whole brain, from the sensory center, to your processing center to be emerged in the story itself. This is a powerful tool that we get to interact to learn and grow from.
Photo Credit – Cambridge Sustainable Food