We Tell Ourselves Stories

We Tell Ourselves Stories: The Role of Imagination in Survival
April, 2016


In this follow-up to last year’s talk, “The Storytelling Ape” (July, 2015), we continue our exploration of personal narrative as a doorway to insight and awakening. As human beings, we’re hard-wired for story telling as a means of survival. Homo narrans is the only animal in all of creation that survives by creating a conceptualized self, an “I” apart from the flesh and blood creature, to help it navigate through the world. To cope with mystery, we create story, and realizing that we are not our stories is a watershed moment in self-realization. How are we changed by this recognition? How can we live without our fictions? What do we see when we look in the mirror? And what is the impact of imagination on our survival?

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Guest Interview with Catherine Ingram

Catherine Ingram

Catherine IngramCatherine Ingram is an international dharma teacher with communities in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. A former journalist specializing in issues of consciousness and activism, Catherine is the author of two books of nonfiction, which are published in numerous languages: In the Footsteps of Gandhi: Conversations with Spiritual/Social Activists and Passionate Presence: Seven Qualities of Awakened Awareness, as well as a novel, A Crack in Everything. She has published scores of articles on issues of consciousness and activism and served on the editorial staffs of New Age Journal, East West Journal, and Yoga Journal. For the past thirty five years, Catherine has helped organize and direct institutions dedicated to meditation and self-inquiry and, more recently, human and animal rights. She is a co-founder of Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, co-founder of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) in The Hague, and a member of the Committee of 100 for Tibet. Since 1992, she has led Dharma Dialogues, which are public events that focus on directing awareness toward greater wellbeing in an ethical and happy life.