Long after the events have passed, I look back and ask, "What was the meaning?"
Closer to the time of the story, I cast myself as the hero. Hardships endured were sacrifices for a greater good; rewards earned were trophies justifying my effort. The people around me who agreed were friends and brought closer; the people who did not were adversaries and distanced. What fell away from me in my pursuit did not belong; what came to me and stayed with me did.
Later, in a new situation, a cast of people just like this are potentially my adversaries. Looking back again, I ask, "What was the meaning?" This time I see that I was an ass. Inconsiderate, unyielding, there was only my way. What more we all could have created together if only I had found a way to engender some cooperation. Look how I had impacted the lives of others negatively in my selfish pursuit and in gratifying my ego...
Two views of one story: which is the better?
There are two different minds shown reflected in one single story from the past. Given the circumstances, the mind works to complete the picture, to fill in the blanks, to interpret, to judge, to assign meaning. Is it any different than considering a poem twice, once while happy, once while saddened?
How is any moment different than this?
What meaning can any story have absent our own contribution? Can you see your mind contributing? Can you distinguish between what your mind adds and what is actually there?
The very next thought or the very next action may be rooted in your last state of mind. So, how much of it is "real"?