Metaphorical thinking is fundamental to cognition, communication and our ‘narrative mind’. This makes it a valuable tool for helping friends, family, colleagues and clients gain new perspectives on their lives. Using a metaphor is a helpful way of talking about emotional and relational experience.
The mind has the capacity to understand new ideas by relating them to concepts it is familiar with. Using metaphor has been a tradition in all the major schools of therapy and is a particularly helpful way of talking about emotional and relational experience.
Akhyayika (आख्यायिका) is a word of Sanskrit origin which means a fable, a chantefable, a short episodic narrative (short story) or an anecdote. The book itself is an anthology of short stories and anecdotes. Storytelling has been an intrinsic part of Indian tradition, right from the Vedic ages. The best example is the great Indian epic – the Mahabharata, which is not just a masterpiece of epic storytelling, but truly a discourse on life and living. Most of us have grown up hearing stories from our grandparents, parents, teachers and books. And there is a reason why stories have played such an important role in the life of human beings – they teach without appearing to do so.
A short story has several advantages. It quickly engages a reader, especially a contemporary young reader who may find thick novels daunting. It encourages the reading habit and allows the reader to read in ‘chunks’ by allowing them to focus on the key theme and story lines quickly. This book also allows a reader to choose a story at random as they do not require to be read in a specific sequence. The natural dialogue and conversational tone make it easy for non-native speakers too.
A story has the inherent capacity to put your whole brain to work! Preaching or advocating or recommending a belief or course of action does not work with either children or adults. Whereas the message within a story becomes apparent to the reader who often thinks, ‘I know this’ even as the person is reading the story. The belief or consequential course of action is therefore ‘self-initiated’ by the reader itself.
Now, whenever we hear a story, we want to relate it to one of our existing experiences. That's why metaphors work so well with us. The simpler a story, the more likely it will embed itself into your subconscious mind. The best way to truly learn and relate is through a short story with simple language and low complexity.
Using metaphor has been a tradition in all the major schools of therapy and is a particularly helpful way of talking about emotional and relational experience. No number of lectures, power points or vision and mission statements can so pithily and impressively convey what a story can.
Each little story in this book will leave a definite imprint on your subconscious mind, changing the way you think and behave, spurring and inspiring you to greater heights.