The truth alone may be sufficient, but the truth told as a story is compelling.
The truth, presented as a set of facts, may be important and even necessary, but it is also boring, as easily memorized and repeated as it is forgotten. The truth with context, however, with a story surrounding it, becomes much more than just a set of facts. It becomes moving, memorable, and, at times, inspiring.
There is a reason why, since the beginning of time, we have used myths, fables, parables, and legends to teach each other and future generations important truths about the world, the human condition, and our relationship with each other and with the universe. Stories stick. They become part of who we are and change the way we perceive everything, even the truth itself.
Stories go deeper, they trigger our imaginations, and they make us think more broadly, more abstractly than a dry, memorized truth. It is exactly because of their power to change minds and to change lives that we must be careful with the stories we tell, however, because that which has the power to create also has the power to destroy. It is imperative, then, that we tell ourselves, each other, and our children stories that inspire imagination, compassion, and optimism, lest our stories create a reality no longer worth talking about.
Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.
Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as well as a founding member of the Severna Park and Baltimore Holistic Chamber of Commerce.
Artwork by Ana, except where otherwise noted.
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