The Power of a Good Story – The Language of Transformation, Part IV
Dr Joe Dispenza | 16 January 2024
I’m excited to share the fourth and final installment in our long exploration of the language of transformation – an important new area of study for our scientific research team.
I hope you’ve been keeping up with the series, but if you missed any of it, please go back and read Part I – introducing you to our lead researcher, Jeff King, Ed.D; Part II – discussing some early research findings; and Part III – exploring metaphor and associative learning.
As I explained at the end of my most recent post, using all our tools and findings thus far – somatic and emotional feeling, the “temporal aspect” of language, associative learning, and metaphor – the language of transformation helps us begin to build a bridge from the known to the unknown. And we do that most effectively with perhaps our most powerful tool of all – storytelling.
Breaking Through Barriers
As I explained in Part III, “associative learning” is just as it sounds. In our brains, we already have a series of circuits formed by experience – let’s call that the known. We use that as a reference point. So, when we take in a new piece of information – the unknown – we search our memory stores until we can associate it with something we already understand. In doing so, we “connect the dots” – we stitch together pieces of information and weave a fabric of understanding. We bridge the gap from the known to the unknown.
Storytelling has an associative function, as well. In this case, the connection we’re making is one of possibility.
When we learn about, or witness, someone else’s journey, we begin to connect their experience to our own. We see this in allegories, fairy tales, myth, parables, and folklore. There’s a reason these stories have been passed down through generations – they’re illustrative of our shared human experience. The characters, images, and lessons are timeless. We use these familiar stories to better understand – to associate – where we are in our own journey.
Stories are essential to our evolution through this work. They help us progress through doubt and uncertainty to clear commitment and resolve. That’s because when we witness someone else’s breakthrough, we can relate to their experience. We can see new possibilities for our own growth and healing.
You’ve heard me talk, many times, about the four-minute mile. No one thought it was possible – until Roger Bannister broke the barrier nearly 70 years ago. He not only entered a new realm of possibility for himself; he opened the gates for everyone who came after him. What was once thought impossible became possible for the nearly 2,000 people who have run the four-minute mile since that first breakthrough.
In our community, Stories of Transformation are the “four-minute mile” for those seeking proof of what’s possible. Recently, my team shared a story of a woman who had hit a plateau in her own meditation practice. In the face of a daunting diagnosis, she looked to the examples of others who have healed in this work. And when she saw that someone else had healed a similar condition, it helped her rededicate herself to her own work. In a remarkably short time she, too, had a healing breakthrough.
We use story and allegory to teach the language of transformation because they’re so instantly relatable. They help us put words and ideas to concepts that otherwise seem foreign or difficult to understand. As with our use of metaphor, they’re another way to create associations within our brain – and connect the known to the unknown.
People who share their Stories of Transformation with our community are the ultimate example of truth. We can talk about how to apply the formula of brain and heart coherence all day long. We can teach how to change the energy of the field in 5-D to change matter in 3-D. But these people have lived it. They’re living it. By their example, they’re showing others what’s possible for them. They’re breaking past that barrier of consciousness – or unconsciousness – and they’re opening the gate for those who will follow.
Understanding Our Own Story
Metaphor and storytelling are essential to the language of transformation because, when we’re early in our own process of change, we often struggle to find the language to describe what’s happening to us. How do you use familiar words or sensations – the known – to describe a radical, healing transformation – the unknown?
How do you comprehend the life-changing, and biology-altering, effects of a single intervention – and then explain to someone how or why it’s possible that your eczema cleared overnight? Or how you came to the retreat in a wheelchair, but now you’re walking? Or how you went in for your routine cancer scan, and it came back clear?
How do you describe the movement of energy when you felt your heart open, were suddenly freed of shame, flooded with a sense of worthiness, and emerged from a meditation a different person? How can you explain to people who knew the “old you” that you’re not that person anymore? How do you introduce them to the “new you” … the person you are now … a person in love with life … in love with yourself?
You might be able to easily describe the outcome of these experiences, but describing what happened to you requires a vocabulary that often can’t keep up with the pace of the changes you’re experiencing. It’s a purely inward experience; one that often defies description or understanding through words alone.
Transcending the Senses
There’s no better example of this than our friend Jeff King’s own transcendental experience, which he shared with us weeks ago on Dr Joe Live. As he told his story, he exemplified the findings he came to tell us about – and which we’ve been exploring in the past few blogs. He spoke in terms of somatic and emotional feeling. His language demonstrated the “temporal aspect” – there was a “before” the event and an “after” the event, and his verb tenses reflected that. And he relied on strong metaphoric images to convey the powerful sensations in his body, mind, and heart.
As Jeff relayed what happened to him during a meditation at one of our Week Long Advanced Retreats, he simply had no words to explain a whole new level of experience. He’d had an encounter with energy and information that existed beyond any of his sensory experiences. Prior to that encounter, all the circuitry in Jeff’s brain – comprising his identity and his life experience – had been formed through his interaction with the known in this three-dimensional reality. He had been in his familiar body, living his familiar life, in a familiar environment, during familiar times.
The event that occurred for him at that retreat was beyond any known, familiar, typical way he had received information – for an entire lifetime. The experience transcended his senses. The information relayed to his brain and body was not coming from the material world or his outer environment. It was outside linear time.
This experience didn’t fall into the neural circuitry of what had been his identity until that moment. The person who had been identifying as “Jeff King” had no reference for what happened to him. It was a new landscape in the brain.
And so, finding the words to connect the two independent areas – the same (the known) to the new (the unknown) – can be done only through storytelling and metaphor. Only by using words to describe familiar images and ideas that we can build on, through association, to create a better model of understanding of what happened.
In other words, even Jeff – the resident language expert on our scientific team – struggled to find the right words to help us understand the language and tools of transformation. He needed those tools – somatic and emotional feeling and metaphor – to tell his own story!
This is exciting and helpful for all of us in this work – for anyone in the river of change. In this new area of research, we’re learning how to apply the language of transformation to understand our own experience – and share it with others.
Proof of What’s Possible
When we undergo a life-changing event – one where there very clearly is a “before” and an “after;” an “old self” and a “new self” – we come out of it with an entirely new perspective. We reach for words to describe the experience, but all of our reference points have shifted. We return to a waking identity; a personality – but not as the same person we were before. Some veil, some conditioning, some hypnosis that had previously limited our perception of reality has been removed.
When we come back to our identity in this reality, we are changed – and, therefore, so is our view of the world. In a sense, our inner experience of the unknown upgrades our outer experience of our known reality.
So we reach for feeling sensations in our body and our hearts. We reach for imagery. We reach for metaphor. Ultimately, we reach for the tradition of storytelling. We tell others about our journey from our past-present self ... to our present-future self.
There’s nothing like a good story. In learning how to tell our own Story of Transformation, we teach by example. We share the power of this work with others – and help them see and believe the truth of what’s possible for them.
To subscribe to Dr Joe Live for access to our full library of past conversations – including Dr Joe’s October 2023 conversation with Jeff King on “The Language of Transformation” – visit the Dr Joe Live pages on our website.