April 12, 2021 at 7:34 pm #72450
We often hear the phrase: “Be the hero of your own life”; but what does this have to with a myth? For many a myth is something that refers to some fanciful tale; or perhaps represents a religious narrative or an account of someone’s deed that they performed for as we begin to think about certain components that frame this concept we must also think outside a certain fixed framework that defines living as more than just mere survival but something that has purpose or meaning. So now we must consider the term “story”; or as might be defined in a dictionary: “an account or event” where things happen that are interconnected to some sort of narrative whether real or imagined. And when we use the term “hero” as Joseph was applying it in this sense we are talking about: “the individual quest to find out who and what they are throughout their life”; (often unaware that this internal drive is taking place within them as they evolve).
So now we are putting these concepts together not as a “predetermined” comparative motif; but as a psychological interpretation of the function that mythic themes are suppose to address. Something that suggests that the individual as they are living see themselves: (as though or as if); they were reflections of these patterned stereotypes; or as Carl Jung might say Archetypes that are evoked in response to various situations and respond in certain ways. In other words we are only here for a brief moment in time and: “You yourself” are the Jesus or God that resides within you; not some deified thou shalt symbol that commands your participation in some old and irrelevant story from some other time and place; but as the savior of your own life joyfully participating in the sorrows of the world in which you are living here and now.
So what does this idea of a: “personal myth” have to do with one’s own individual story; and what does this type of framework have to do with: Art, Literature, Music, or any of the other forms of expression and one’s idea of who they are and their moment in time? This thread is designed to explore this idea of one’s personal story and it’s relationship to one’s personal myth as Joseph articulated throughout his work. Below is a short clip from Dead Poet’s Society that touches on this theme briefly of: “what is your story?” with the phrase: “What will your verse be?”April 12, 2021 at 8:02 pm #72453
Also; I will add one more short clip with Joseph describing the individual’s unique quest to find their own personal myth through “the left hand path.” (It should also be understood that the artist falls into this category as well.)April 13, 2021 at 12:59 am #72452
Hello James and all,
Thank you for your lovely post that explores the idea of a “personal myth” and one’s own story. You ask, ” what does this type of framework have to do with: Art, Literature, Music, or any of the other forms of expression and one’s idea of who they are and their moment in time?” These are big questions, and for me very difficult to answer, because I find I am constantly uncovering another lost part of me, and wondering how did I land here? Thank you for the youtube video of Dead Poet’s Society — Robin Williams quotes Walt Whitman:
“Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?”
So this is where I am right now in life, James, “Of myself forever reproaching myself, for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless? and “Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me, Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined”
But to answer your question, ‘what will your verse be?’ I do have a verse, albeit borrowed from a poet, and it is, “I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.” (John O’Donohue). The powerful play goes on and I am simply flowing.
These days, Dr. Peter Fenwick’s research on dying and the art of dying + other articles and posts, have occupied a good part of my reading. Story telling does hold a very important place in his research as he explores the experiences of the dying or those who nearly died.
Citing Peter Fenwick, who among other things, is a Neuropsychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital and at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, England, and is widely regarded as an authority on the subject of Near Death Experiences and the mind brain problem. Dr. Peter Fenwick writes that the dying have a hundred stories to tell. It’s these stories that they share with the health care workers in nursing homes and in hospice centers that bring meaning to their life’s journey.
Dr. Fenwick writes, “It is the nursing and hospice care-workers and relatives who are, and who, we found as this research progressed, had a wealth of stories to tell. …….We were told many stories by the families of the dying of visits made by the dying at the time of death to someone emotionally close to them, and the message that they always gave, that they were ‘OK’ (Fenwick & Fenwick 2008; Fenwick & Brayne. 2010). Fenwick, Peter. Shining Light on Transcendence: The unconventional journey of a Neuroscientist . White Crow Books. Kindle Edition.
He adds that our instinctive side has dominated the reflective side. And as the dying reflect on their lives, they relive those moments through stories. He notes that “these two sides (the instinctive and the reflective) are characterized by mythological stories throughout the ages, ‘with battles between good and evil, the Jekyll and Hyde aspects of our personality.” That our battles intensify as we approach our sunset years. This weaves into what Alain Forget (another scholar that Fenwick quotes in his book) writes, “Remember how the Devil tempted Christ during the forty days in the desert and how Mara and his army of demons appeared in front of the Buddha just before his awakening. It is always the same mechanism, always the same story.” He adds that to awaken is to compel an illusion to see that it is an illusion”. And, Dr. Bucher in his latest mythblast wrote, that “an impactful story can cause oppressors to turn from their harmful ways. It can also unite people around a tyrant. It can end a season of torment and cause new life to bloom forth from stony ground”
Today, in the forest, I did find new life – blooming
What greatly resonates with me is Dr. Bucher’s earlier post on courage, and strength in writing a new story. James that’s what I am waiting for, a new story, collectively experienced.
Quoting Dr. Bucher, from his earlier post, not the latest Mythblast, “We find story at the core of every art form, both known and unknown to us. Storytelling empowers us to charge into the cyclical patterns of our own life, believing that a better chapter may be waiting on the other side of the darkness. Where a previous year might have brought struggle, heartbreak, or even tragedy, an inherent drive within us draws our eyes toward the horizon and causes us to consider the possibilities that may lie beyond the horizon if we can stir up the courage to craft new wings and fly towards it. Perhaps there is new release waiting, as Campbell and Joyce believed. Perhaps there are unseen allies, mentors, and strategic partners just around the bend in our journey, if we only turn our mind to unknown arts and rise to believe what might be possible in the new beginning we just collectively experienced. Many of us long for a new story— a better story—in this new year. May we rise together, finding fresh narratives, enchanting opportunities, and the tools to craft new wings.”
Presently, it’s holding on to my belief, “that a better chapter may be waiting on the other side of the darkness. ” Hence the verse, “I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.”
ShaahaydaApril 17, 2021 at 10:22 am #72451
So what does a myth have to do with me? It is this thing that comes up out of nowhere and grabs you from deep inside and points to something in your life that has meaning; something that tells you: “Thou Art That” and that you must respond. As Joseph often shared there are no set rules and no one can tell you what it’s going to be; you must learn to recognize it by; (as he put it): “Following your own Bliss”; and your bliss comes from the push out of your own existence. So what is this thing? Below are a few of Joseph’s quotes that have been shared elsewhere that may help to provide some clues.
“So then, what are we really questing for? And here is the answer: It is the fulfillment of what is potential in ourselves, our true selves. It is not an ego trip. You are not your ego. You experience your ego. You are not your thoughts. You experience your thoughts. You are not your feelings. You experience your feelings. And you are not your body. You behold your body. This recognition awakens a heritage within us that exists before all these mythologies, religions and belief systems came into being and into our traditions. It’s an awakening of our own pre-ego, pre-Hindu, pre-Jewish, pre-Buddhist, pre-Muslim, pre-Christian hearts.
The Eastern Way: Oriental Mythology (Joseph Campbell Audio Collection I.3.1)
“A mythological order is a system of images that gives consciousness a sense of meaning in existence, which, my dear friend, has no meaning––it simply is. But the mind goes asking for meanings; it can’t play unless it knows (or makes up) the rules.
“Mythologies present games to play: how to make believe you’re doing thus and so. Ultimately, through the game, you experience that positive thing which is the experience of being-in-being, of living meaningfully. That’s the first function of a mythology, to evoke in the individual a sense of grateful affirmative awe before the monstrous mystery that is existence.”
Joseph Campbell, (Pathways to Bliss, p. 6)
This may be of interest since I just spotted a new clip posted yesterday from the Foundation’s YouTube library that addresses Shaaheda”s question of: “What a future myth be looking ahead into the future.
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