Many of the world's most enduring myths, tales and legends are 'wisdom tales' - stories crafted to illumine our consciousness with the life-wisdom they proffer. They are designed to speak to our heart, intuition and higher consciousness, awakening within us awareness of life's deepest truths. This awareness, together with the ensuing consequences it births in our lives, is their intended gift, for it is always both edifying and life-transforming, opening the door to ever-expanding happiness, wholeness, love, inner-peace and freedom.
Wisdom-tales endure because they are repositories of eternal truths, for Truth has its own power. Passed on from one generation to another, their outward form changes according to the style and palate of each age, but their inner core endures intact, indestructible and forever unsullied.
Every nation, culture and spirituality has always savoured the telling of stories to pass on life's wisdom. It is a timeless tradition, enduring precisely because of its efficacy.
All wisdom tales have one principal feature in common: they use the telling of an outward story to impart some inner meaning. That is, by means of a story, or some vignette on life, they illumine us with a higher understanding and consciousness of life - of who and what we are, of what lies within us, and of the meaning and purpose of an earth life. They essentially say to us: "Life is like this...", imparting life's higher truths to us.
The inward truths that wisdom tales offer us are usually not that widely known. Until their inner meaning is apprehended, they remain to us but an outward story. Their gift to us - the help they offer us in our individual lives - usually unfolds within three distinct phases. At first hearing, they may only sow the seeds within us of the higher consciousness of life they would impart. Then, when these seeds begin to germinate within us, they guide and assist our unfolding understanding of what is true in life - and most particularly, of what is true within us - amplifying, informing, aiding and encouraging our expanding awareness. Finally, as their gift becomes a normal part of our now expanded consciousness, they serve to affirm, deepen, strengthen and expand the fullness, reality and universality of our new awareness, together with the ever-greater understanding this spawns.
It is important to understand that wisdom tales do not merely tell us things with which our waking intellect is already familiar - such as, that love is a good, desirable and all-blessing 'thing', and that the more we use it, the better life gets. Nor do they merely portray and explicate 'pop psychology'. Rather, they seek to awaken within us an awareness of eternal, universal truths about life and the human condition of which we are not yet aware - of what is true within us.
Wisdom tales take many forms. Pre-eminent amongst these are:
Just as wisdom tales take many forms, so are their authors many and varied. They range from those great enlightened Masters of life whose stories and parables are constructed with full conscious awareness of every truth they wish to impart, and with every element consciously intended, to authors who do not apprehend the fullness of what their stories contain, but are reaching for those truths themselves, even as they unfold their stories. These latter are like every artist, reaching within for what it is they would birth, but do not yet fully know. Indeed, it is common for authors seeking and attuned to the higher truths of life to learn from their own stories. How and why this is possible is described below.
Many would be surprised to know just how timeless and ubiquitous wisdom tales are, how 'common' their form, and just how very many most of us have been exposed to or know in some way. Below is a small, far from comprehensive list of stories in this number that have been globally disseminated and hold wide appeal. It is most likely that you have never thought of many of these as more than 'mere' stories, or perchance stories rich and full, with 'something to say'.
Many of the wisdom tales on this small list are the common fare of childhood. There is good reason. The child's heart is usually so very much more open to the happy reception and apprehension of the higher truths in these stories, and our imbibing these in childhood, even if unconsciously, is a gift towards the happy, positive, harmonious unfolding of our lives that is vast and profound beyond comprehension. How this is so is described more fully below.
It is noteworthy that most of the titles listed above have received cinematic treatment. Films are just such a powerful and perfect medium, for many reasons, for telling the story of wisdom tales, and most especially for conveying their inner message.
It is also noteworthy how many of these films have been produced by Walt Disney Studios - films often much loved, especially by children. The great debt of gratitude that humanity owes those responsible for these films, for keeping the wisdom of these tales alive in human consciousness in so wonderful, palatable and assimilable a way, is inestimable.
There are many other wisdom tales, from many cultures, besides these. But if you know, and especially if you cherish, any of these stories, know that they have and will continue to give their great and timeless gifts to you.