The Hero's Journey is about seeking the source of who we are in the work of reclaiming our Original Nature and uncovering what is deepest, truest and best about us. It is a psychological journey of discovery, requiring us to work with our dreams, engage our fears and desires, and our obligations to our place in society, our duty to our country and to one another. In completing the journey, we will have to come to terms with our contradictions, dichotomies and polarities, square up with the realities that restrict and limit us, and deal with the difference between metaphorical truth and factual truth. Our task is to bring ourselves back to life-- as in rebirth/resurrection/renewal-- by embracing the Self at the center of ourselves, and returning to our place in the world of ordinary, apparent, reality, in full possession of the gifts, daemon, virtues, character, spirit, vitality, balance and harmony that are ours to incarnate and to share as a blessing and a grace and a grounding presence in the lives of others. We are the treasure we find, the boon we recover, and are glad to offer ourselves as healer, teacher, helper and guide to all who may benefit from our experience and our life.
The heroic task is living out of our own center within the context and circumstances of our life. Jesus did that. The Buddha did that. Gandhi did that. Eleanor Roosevelt did that. Dolly Parton is doing that. ... The list is long. But not long enough. It needs our names among the others. Angeles Arrien (Whose name is on the list), said that all the people who have ever lived have been/are distinguished, unique, and set apart from each other by their fingerprints, their voice frequencies, and the color patterns of their eyes. No two of us are alike. Not even "identical" twins and triplets. What is with the homogenization of the species? Why the push to be like everyone else? To spend our life following the other cows from the barn, to the pasture and back to the barn? To think like everyone else, believe like everyone else, see like everyone else and be a clone of the cultural ideal, cut off from our heart and stepping carefully in the black cutouts of shoe prints laid down for us by Those Who Know Best? Who knows better than you and I what is ours to do, and when and how we need to do it? Who can hear better than us the quiet nudges and soft whispers of our heart and soul? We betray our genetic makeup when we fall in line and march in step. We violate our sacred summons to come forth and exhibit the gifts/daemon/character/virtues/spirit/vitality that are unique to us when we "conceal our light under a basket" and refuse the challenge to "judge for ourselves what is right." We have a role to play, a place to fill, that are unique to us, and it is incumbent upon us to find and live the life that is ours to live within the context and circumstances of our time upon the earth.
We cannot allow ourselves to live haphazard lives. We have to "run a tight ship" from start to finish-- from beginning to take up the work of finding our life and living it, to our last breath along the way. A "tight ship" is a disciplined life. A life lived around, and based on, rituals and routines, a specific "order of the day," and regular, recurring, practices and procedures. We don't fall into doing what we feel like doing when we feel like doing it. We do what needs to be done when it needs to be done in light of the situations and circumstances that develop "of themselves" in a day. We live a structured life within a fluid, fluctuating, unstable, volatile and unpredictable environment. It is our way of maintaining our balance and harmony, our stability and security, our vitality, life and spirit in a world of clashing rocks and heaving waves on wine dark seas. And it is up to each of us to ground ourselves in regular routines that connect us with the Source of life and being in ways that nothing can dislodge or threaten throughout the time left for living.
We are constantly creating momentum, forming Karma by what we care about and don't care about in each moment as it unfolds before us. We have to live as though we care about what needs to be cared about whether we care about it or not. Living as though we care is the most important skill to develop and apply throughout our life. A.A.'s slogan captures the essence of what we are about: "Fake it until you make it!" If you get living as though you care down, no one can tell whether you care or not-- and it won't matter. Caring shapes your life around what matters most. Living as though you care shapes your life around what should matter most. Either way, we are all better off by the way you live your life. Everybody should know by now what a healthy lifestyle consists of: No alcohol. No tobacco. No drug abuse. A diet with enough nuts, fruit and vegetables, low sugar and low fat. Regular exercise. Silence. Creativity. Reading. Singing. Dancing. Play. Living as though we care about a healthy lifestyle transforms the way we live. Living as though we care about other people transforms the way life is lived around us. Before you know it, the world is a better place because we are relating to it as though we care! We don't have to be sincere if we fake it well enough! No one will ever know, and everyone will benefit. So, get in there and do your thing as though doing so is the most important thing in your life! Whether it's real or not won't matter at all, and the impact will be both real and everlasting! Fake it like you mean it! And all will be as well as possible, which is a lot more than could otherwise be said!
Angeles Arrien said that if we pronounce "intimacy" slowly, emphasizing each syllable, we get: In To Me See. How many people are we willing to present ourselves to on that basis? Including ourselves? We like the idea of intimacy without vulnerability. Which generally means having sex with nothing on the line. Because we don't want anyone to know who we are, especially ourselves. Well. It all begins with seeing what we look at when we look in the mirror. We cannot let an act or an inclination go by without examination, exploration and awareness, awareness, awareness! We cannot be unknown unto ourselves! The first law of spiritual development is "Thou Shalt Be Transparent To Thy Self!" Self-transparency is the foundation, the impetus and the goal of the Hero's Journey. Which comes as bad news to those whose first line of defense is to not-know what we are doing. We have to look until we see, listen until we hear, inquire until we know and understand what we are doing, and what that reveals/expresses about who we are. We can complete the Hero's Journey without ever leaving home.