Many may already be familiar with the Hero’s Journey from the writings of Joseph Campbell who was an American professor of comparative religion and mythology. But what I would like to discuss here is the actual living the Hero’s Journey and not just an intellectual understanding of it.
It has a classic storyline with a structure that you can find in many stories shared throughout the world. The term, Hero’s Journey, was coined by Joseph Campbell in 1949, and basically covers an individual’s journey into the unknown, driven by some inner need or desire, facing roadblocks and struggles, and then turning that conflict into victory. Let’s discover how this applies to our very own lives.
— “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” —
Discovering Our Bliss — Living The Hero’s Journey
There is something within each of us that is desperately trying to emerge and come to the surface. In many of my previous writings, I have termed this our “Inner Genius”. It is most definitely there, although it has been hidden by quite a few layers of cloud cover so that we barely even know it exists.
On occasion, we may surprise ourselves with an intuitive insight that leads to a solution to a problem we may be experiencing. It is like the idea came out of nowhere. But it is exactly within this apparent nowhere that our treasures are buried. With enough of these intuitive insights, we begin to pay attention and shift our focus a little bit.
And that is what it really takes. A shift of focus. For example, we may be in a crowded room getting caught up with on all of the frenzied activity and noise so that we are totally unaware of many things around us. A dear friend may even be close by and we don’t even notice. Although we are currently distracted by all this activity around us, we can still get an instant urge to do something different like look around and move about, thereby changing our focus and being open to new experiences. At that point, it is likely that we will bump into our friend.
Now I know this is a very simplistic example, but the main point is that we are currently caught up in so many distractions in our lives that we ignore these intuitive messages even though they are constantly attempting to gain our attention. Those times when we slow down a bit, relax, and let go of any worry or concerns, are the opportunities for these ideas and insights are able to break through and emerge into our consciousness.
The more we pay attention to them, and begin to follow through on their advice and see some positive results, the more we are inclined to do what is necessary to “allow” our intuition to surface. At this point, we pay less attention to our worries and concerns and focus more on our true desires. We begin to feel better about ourselves as we discover and follow our bliss.
“We must let go of the life we have planned, to accept the one that is waiting for us. A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.”
— Joseph Campbell —
Embracing and Living the Hero’s Journey
For those interested in Joseph Campbell’s work you can explore it in more detail, as he goes into his twelve (12) stages of the Hero’s Journey. I am not going to delve into them now, but they are quite interesting. I prefer to keep things a bit more simple, as we learn to embrace and live this journey both within and without.
This gives us the perfect opportunity to release our Inner Genius. Those who even consider walking down this path have placed themselves in an enviable position. Compared to others, they are way ahead of the game. Just being aware that this journey even exists is a revelation for many.
For those few folks, the ordinary is no longer acceptable and they are searching for more. Even though they may not even know what more is, they have a feeling inside that is driving them forward. This is real energy pulsating within them.
There are no coincidences in life. Serendipity happens for a reason. Rather than doubting its origin or good graces, embrace it and be grateful. There is magic in gratitude as it leads to more pleasant and beneficial occurrences.
The Hero’s Journey is an Inside Job
All the work involved in living the hero’s journey takes place within ourselves. What we see is merely a reflection of what occurs within. At this point, it is not even important that we believe or embrace this concept. All that is required is a bit of a willingness to proceed.
It’s all about slowing ourselves down long enough to see what’s going on within ourselves. All the noise, distractions and utter chaos is not us. We are not our thoughts and feelings, although we can learn to rearrange things so that they respond to our directions, instead of being out of control little brats. Even though they want to run the show, we don’t have to allow it. Just say no.
It is the same with children. Even though they would never admit it, they do actually desire limits and boundaries and will respect us for giving it to them. It may not be apparent immediately that this is the case, but over time their gratitude is apparent.
All of our crazy thoughts and emotions are quite capable of dancing to a different tune and falling in line. We are the conductor of this symphony, and it is about time we rein things in and create a more harmonious melody.
The Meaning of the Myth
The myths that Joseph Campbell discusses in his writings are much more than stories or symbols. They are actually the search for true meaning in life that leads to the type of self-discovery that we all desire whether consciously or unconsciously.
This type of myth allows us to find our true essence so that we are able to live our lives in authentic ways. This is how we were meant to live, as we all have unique gifts to share based on our inner purpose and core values. That inner purpose is what drives us to extend and expand ourselves in making a positive difference in this wonderful world of ours.
These myths lead us to pay attention to the clues that unlock the door to our Inner Genius. When we spend time on a consistent basis to “pause & reflect”, we unlock the door to our inner kingdom where all our power resides.
No Longer a Stranger to our Genius
When our awareness increases sufficiently, we no longer feel lost in a strange land. We are no longer a stranger to our true potential and brilliance.
We have connected with that spark within ourselves, and as things begin to brighten, we can see clearly for the first time in ages. Our blindness to the Truth has dissipated sufficiently that we are driven to live the life we were meant to live.
This is a time for celebration as we can now share what we experienced with others, and let them know what is possible for themselves to experience. We have confronted our inner fears and demons and broken through the cloud cover, and are NOW truly living an authentic life.
Living the Heroe’s Journey on a moment-to-moment basis is a process of change that takes much persistence and effort, but is very much worth it. If getting started is a challenge, check out my article on Taking the Next Step and Getting Stuff Done. They may just give you the added incentive to begin.
Slow down a bit and pay attention to these clues and you may just be pleasantly surprised.
May you enjoy your Journey Within and Without,
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