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17 November 2014

The Hero's Journey and the Spiritual Path

The spiritual path is in one sense very rational and scientific. We encourage everyone to meditate and improve their health with a natural lifestyle, and there is an ever growing mountain of scientific papers and mainstream media programs supporting the value of these techniques in reducing stress. At the same time, often hidden from the public view, there is tremendous fierceness, magic, and mystery on the spiritual path. I would like to point out the power of these mysteries by comparing them to the work of American historian Joseph Campbell.

Campbell (1904-1987) studied myths, religions, and narratives from around the world. His famous advice, “Follow your bliss”, came from the phrase satcitananda in the ancient Upanishads, which translates as “being, consciousness, bliss”, the jumping-off place to the ocean of transcendence. Campbell said he wasn’t sure about “being” and “consciousness”, but he could understand “bliss”! He taught many years at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York, at that time an all-women’s institution. He always told his graduating students, “Whatever you do, don’t do what Daddy says, because he is only interested in your security. If you bargain away your life for security now, you will never find your bliss.”

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1 comment:

Don said...

Hi, sorry if this seems off topic. I've been trying to have a conversation with a friend who identifies as a "hard right" conservative. We share a deep interest in a spiritual path. Despite my best efforts to suggest there is a spiritual perspective that goes beyond capitalism and communism, beyond left and right, he still insists that the only possible spiritual perspective is on the far right (he loves Rush Limbaugh, for example). My other friends in the group (this is the Franklin Merrell Wolff community) do not share his views and tell me this is a lost cause, but I think this person is very intelligent and might be capable of real dialog.

I'm asking here because I thought of giving him some PROUT literature but I'm afraid he would just see it as leftist (just the sight of a quote from Schumacher would be enough for him to reject the whole thing, and I wouldn't dare mention that Sarkar admired Marx).

I wonder if you think he might be open to your book, which I think is wonderful. (I saw your excellent presentation at Malaprops book store in Asheville).

Thank you and good luck in all your work.