The Heroic Journey

Hero's Journey

Each one of us is born into this world trapped by the myth of himself, which at first seems imposed upon him from outside. Through conditioning from the beginning stages, each person comes to believe that he is a fragment or a shadow among many shadows on the face of this earth. He is given a name and a nationality and a position in society. He lives his life often with frustration and the feeling that something is amiss. In fact, he does not fully understand himself or the world and is usually unaware of his inner conflicts.

These conflicts may surface through some trigger, an event or a crisis that leaves him suffering great psychological pain. This thrusts him into an experience that may look like psychosis and causes him to come face to face with his thoughts, words and actions. As he begins to suffer consciously and based on incomprehensible elements and choices made outside of his everyday consciousness, his myth comes vaguely into view through the recognition of his limited or false knowledge. He starts to separate himself from the shadow that he feels himself to be.

The crisis in his consciousness deepens as he comes to a breaking point of sorts. But through this difficult and painful journey, he begins to see that he has been trapped by his own hand and has perpetuated this myth of himself for his entire life. He realizes that he has been ensnared by his own fear and that the world is itself a manifestation of this phenomenon. He begins to accept responsibility for his own life as it is. If he does not allow this process to naturally unfold, he may fall into the abyss of his own mental structure, become isolated and lost in a symbolic realm that is an inversion of the outer world.

As he continues to contemplate the mystery that he is with wonder and attention, his inherent creative energy builds and increasingly exposes this myth. Freedom comes not from discovering what he is but from finding out what he is not. He comes to a single point or a nexus, not through conscious effort but by means inexplicable and paradoxical to the conscious mind. This single point is where the inner and the outer worlds converge and it is the new center out of which he lives his life. He realizes that his life is more than the sum of its parts, that it is a symbol for the whole that he cannot understand. All of the ups and downs on his way point to a more profound significance, which he does not fully grasp. All along he had been a vehicle for something bigger than himself, which is reflected as myth.

As he continues to observe with wonder and meditation and accepts his life as it is, the same myth that once oppressed and imprisoned him transforms into an equally energizing myth of breathtaking, heroic proportions. The very world that once mocked him and attempted to devalue his journey and crucified him reveals itself as an instigator for his pruning. The very demons that he once thought to hang over him are now his guiding angels. Though he may have been in chains everywhere else, his mind can taste freedom. The world begins to move in different ways, symbolic ways, that constantly affirm his hero's journey and give profound and synchronistic meaning to it. This does not in any way lead to a life without pain or suffering, but it does mean that he is in step with the transcendent and sublime rhythm of his suffering and joy, his pains and pleasures.

As he looks at his history, his story, he peculiarly finds that it has been composed by what he is now, by his present perspective. He no longer sees himself as the culmination of the past. He finds that his life has become creative and mythological or profoundly symbolic because he is now a conscious vehicle for his myth, whatever it may be. He realizes that he is somehow participating in his own story and finds that all along he has been directing and shaping and sculpting his life like an artist working with clay, but not through conscious effort. He does so not through the image of himself: his personal history, his genealogy, his education, his wealth, his intellect or his social position – which are all part of his conscious mind and persona - but by the virtue of the impulse of his own life that is infinitely more profound, unfettered, and dynamic. He becomes his own creation and repeats the fundamental miracle of life. The hero disappears and only the heroic act remains.

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