Using Mindful Stories – reading, reflecting, renewing – how is it done?

By Simon Bell

Mindful stories as explored on the Bayswater site are intended to help with the renewal of the self and the group. If the idea of the stories in the first place is to help individuals to find peace with themselves and groups to find harmony, then maybe more needs to be said to explain how? How do we find peace and harmony? Surely, if this could be achieved by simply reading a story now and then, the history of human progress would be rather different?


There is more to it and the stories are not an answer. Rather they are a means to gain insight and agency.

What does that mean?

Well, the stories are fictions. They are not strictly true in the literal sense of the word. They are fictions written to illustrate a number of points. Points which on inspection, lead to other points. I would argue that the stories can be read at four levels and each one allows for a different perspective, a different insight and a different opportunity to grow. The stories occupy a space which allows arms-length assessment to take place, assessment at arms-length from lived reality.

Take the last four audio stories on the Bayswater site: The Child, The Walk, Commuting and Going. Each one might be listened to at any one of four possible levels.

  1. As a story or fable. Things happen and then they stop.
  2. As a story pointing to things behind the story. Things happen, puzzling things maybe, unusual things which point to other things, and then they stop.
  3. As a story within and governing the story. Things happen and the cause of those things, the motivations behind the things on the surface are considered, then they stop.
  4. As your story. Things happen and these things indicate ideas and concerns in your own life. You make links and drawn out some inferences maybe, then it stops. 

Not all stories are appropriate for fourfold analysis, but it can help to try in most cases.

Reading the story in a mindful manner can lead to useful reflections. These reflections once considered for meaning can result in renewal of interest, passion and engagement with tricky items.

By Reading, Reflecting and looking for Renewal peace and harmony for individual and group can become.

Artwork © Rachel Furze