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Reply To: The Hour Yields, with Mythologist Joanna Gardner, Ph.D.


Thank you, Joanna, for your kind response–I deeply appreciate your thoughts about the difference between a transition and transcendence, in answer to my question, which provides such a clear explanation and definitions. I love how you pinpoint attention as the key–this has given me a lot to think about as I reflect on various experiences of my attention or lack thereof. This may be my own idiosyncratic interpretation of this concept (among other interpretations I might add), but it immediately comes to mind to me now how there have been times in which not paying attention to what was going on in different transitions in my life led to making some errors in decision which turned my direction off my “true” path when the experience might have otherwise been transcendent; however, I am not sure if what I am asking here would be so naturally built-into in these time periods of change. What are your ideas on that–I am wondering if, if there is indeed any “real” material/matter here in my question, or any sensible question at all, if you could offer some opinions or ideas on this? I am not sure I asked the question well–I mean, it is probably not that we can turn on transcendent experience as if it were a lightswitch. However, perhaps exercises such as yoga and archery and such can help us experience more transcendence more of the time, or as Stephen mentions, to experience more of Nirvana here on earth. Then again, sometimes the failures to make the right decisions have turned into transcendent experiences when going backwards from a dream, for instance–not paying enough attention to answer the call, times when we are afraid to answer the yes to the hero’s adventure…we return home then before we have ever left–and even this experience in all its deflation of a hope may that yet be transcendent in the sense that in that still moment of sadness or even disbelief we stop almost dead in our tracks feeling that failure to launch?–can that moment of turning backwards from a dream still be transcendent because it is still?  I have done that a few times in my life when I felt I was not up to a certain task. I wonder at times about that type of suspension–being half-way out in the middle of bridge and instead of looking and going forward going backward in fear or trepidation–fear of the unknown, fear of (as mentioned above) not being up to the task, etc.  But the main question for me through all this wonderment is, perhaps, how much “say” do we ourselves have in whether an experience makes for one that is either transcendent or transitional–and is there even an in-between bridge for those in which it can be almost half and half? I did hear in what you wrote about the attention–about paying attention–I gather that being more mindful in general would help–I am thinking that many of the still moments I have had that were pleasurable or of that “artistic arrest” have been surprise moments, unexpected–kind of like synchronicity but not always could be categorized as such per say…but maybe contained a hint of synchronous experience just in that synchronicity seems another still time when two worlds meet or inner and outer. I am going to have to re-read Campbell’s Inner and Outer Spaces–Maybe I will have some coffee with that half-and half as I keep reading about your Mythblast, the responses. Thank you so much.