Email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser.
InnerNet Weekly: Inspirations from

A Question of Story
by Thomas Berry

[Listen to Audio!]

For peoples, generally, their story of the Universe and the human role within the universe is their primary source of intelligibility and value. Only through this story of how the Universe came to be in the beginning and how it came to be as it is does a person come to appreciate the meaning of life or to derive the psychic energy needed to deal effectively with those crisis moments that occur in the life of the individual and in the life of the society. Such a story communicates the most sacred of mysteries …. and not only interprets the past, it also guides and inspires our shaping of the future.

* * *

The Universe story is the quintessence of reality. We perceive the story. We put it in our language, the birds put it in theirs, and the trees put it in theirs. We can read the story of the Universe in the trees. Everything tells the story of the Universe. The winds tell the story, literally, not just imaginatively. The story has its imprint everywhere, and that is why it is so important to know the story. If you do not know the story, in a sense you do not know yourself; you do not know anything.

* * *

It’s all a question of story. We are in trouble just now because we are in between stories. The Old Story—the account of how the world came to be and how we fit into it—sustained us for a long time. It shaped our emotional attitudes, provided us with life purpose, energized action, consecrated suffering, integrated knowledge, guided education. We awoke in the morning and knew where we were. We could answer the questions of our children. We could identify crime, punish transgressors. Everything was taken care of because the story was there. But now it is no longer functioning properly, and we have not yet learned the New Story.

--Thomas Berry

About the Author: Thomas Berry was a Catholic priest of the Passionist order, cultural historian, cosmologist and “Earth scholar”. Among advocates of deep ecology and "ecospirituality", he is famous for proposing that a deep understanding of the history and functioning of the evolving universe is a necessary inspiration and guide for our own effective functioning as individuals and as a species. 
Share the Wisdom:  
Email   Twitter   FaceBook

Latest Community Insights New!
A Question of Story
How has your story of the Universe shaped who you are? Can you share a personal story of a time you experienced the story of the Universe? What does the New Story of the Universe mean to you?
Denis Khan wrote:  ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the fa...
Abhishek wrote:  To me, the New Story clearly is a story of much greater interconnection - where we, as the organs of the Gaia are sensing the imbalances that are happening. We connect, collaborate and conspire...
david doane wrote: The story we have of the universe is very important -- it's the ground out of which we see the world.  Sometimes we're indoctrinated with a story that we eventually set aside for a story that we...
Kristin Pedemonti wrote:  While I believe the story of the universe is indeed important in shaping us & giving us a sense of place, I also believe that there is a wonderful, and connecting New Story being told; one ...

Share/Read Your Reflections

      Awakin Circles:
Many years ago, a couple friends got together to sit in silence for an hour, and share personal aha-moments. That birthed this newsletter, and rippled out as Awakin Circles in 80+ living rooms around the globe. To join in Santa Clara this week, RSVP online.

RSVP For Wednesday

Some Good News
•  The Girl Who Gets Gifts From Birds
•  Goals & Happiness: A Virtuous Cycle Infographic
•  My Father's Gift

Video of the Week
•  Love Note Writer

Kindness Stories
•  5 Love Notes To My Grand-mother
•  My Heart Feels Light Today
•  Spontaneous Gift

Global call with Jerry Falek!
Join us for a conference call this Saturday, with a global group of ServiceSpace friends and our insightful guest speaker. Join the Forest Call >>

Back in 1997, one person started sending this simple "meditation reminder" to a few friends. Soon after, "Wednesdays" started, ServiceSpace blossomed, and the humble experiments of service took a life of its own. If you'd like to start an Awakin gathering in your area, we'd be happy to help you get started.

Forward to a Friend
Awakin Weekly delivers weekly inspiration to its 89,541 subscribers. We never spam or host any advertising. And you can unsubscribe anytime, within seconds.

Our our website, you can view 17+ year archive of these readings. For broader context, visit our umbrella organization: