Stuck on the wall, just inside our toilet door, there is a man staring me in the face, challenging me. Every morning he says to me,
Follow your bliss. If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.
Most mornings I think to myself, Come on, Joseph, it’s 6am! I’ve barely finished my first coffee! But he doesn’t crack a smile, he doesn’t even flinch. He just sits there, staring at me over the mirror. And before I know it, he’s under my skin. And someone’s knocking on the door and calling ‘Is everything alright in there?‘ Bloody hell, I don’t know – ask Joseph.
The books by the mystics say that what we are is love. Love is being the other. Love is wanting for the other what they want for themselves – the division of connection is no longer present and we become an extension or expression of the other. In teaching, when we feel separate from our students we feel fearful, but when we are in it together this feeling dissipates. What we want for them, we want for ourselves. Then our self concern for ‘doing a good job’ falls away because whatever they get, I get too.
Ok sure. But how do we actually make these ideas of bliss and love come into actuality rather than a fantasy we are grasping for? How do we marry our ‘conceptual life’ – the one we want for ourselves – and our blueprint – the story we have laid down as our truth up to this point – so that we can start living in bliss, in love?
One or the other has to change – either our ideal life or our blueprint. You choose.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about intuition and ego. How do we tell which one is speaking? My gut tells me that intuition and ego are like two opposing political parties. One keeps the other (more) honest. Intuitively, we seem to know when something sits well with us, we know when we are not being honest. Intuition comes easily, but our ego is so quick and so in tune with their dance that we don’t get enough time to really sit with the easy part. The part that feels right. Before the rest of the ego’s rugby team jump in on the scrub and wrestle it to the ground. Swift little fuckers. With big muscles. Unfortunately our intuition doesn’t put up a fight, either. Or if it does, it’s no match for their stealth moves.
So when we are faced with a situation that makes us feel vulnerable, how do we know which one is talking? According to Brene Brown, vulnerability is the key to connection. But we are so preoccupied with protecting ourselves, rugged up in our suit of armour, that no one has a chance of getting through. So when we do make genuine connections, will we even see them for what they are?
I would argue that we don’t have a choice. When they are real, when they are truthful, our intuition knows it. Like attracts like. The tragedy is when our ego chooses to ignore these connections for fear of rejection or heartache. Not only do we risk hurting ourselves, but we risk hurting others in the process. But it is worth it, if at the end of the day we – and they – end up living more honestly and closer to their bliss?
However, my quest this week is to find places in my life where I can be more vulnerable and being honest and open with it.
My ego is terrified. But my intuition is already off and running. Oh boy, can’t we all just get along?
*Joseph Campbell was an American mythologist, writer and lecturer, best known for his work in comparative mythology and comparative religion. His work is vast, covering many aspects of the human experience. His philosophy is often summarised by his phrase: “Follow your bliss.”
Rather than telling him to be quiet, I’m asking Joseph to speak a little louder this week. So, with this in mind, I have invited a few extra quotes from his talks and published works to help me along the way:
We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.
If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.
People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.
The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.
If you are falling….dive.
Regrets are illuminations come too late.
You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path. Where there is a way or path, it is someone else’s path. You are not on your own path. If you follow someone else’s way, you are not going to realize your potential.
A bit of advice Given to a young Native American At the time of his initiation: As you go the way of life, You will see a great chasm. Jump. It is not as wide as you think.
The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe to match your nature with Nature.
We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it is all about.
Not all who hesitate are lost. The psyche has many secrets in reserve. And these are not disclosed unless required.
The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure
The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light.
We’re in a freefall into future. We don’t know where we’re going. Things are changing so fast, and always when you’re going through a long tunnel, anxiety comes along. And all you have to do to transform your hell into a paradise is to turn your fall into a voluntary act. It’s a very interesting shift of perspective and that’s all it is… joyful participation in the sorrows and everything changes.
We have only to follow the thread of the hero path. And where we had thought to find an abomonation, we shall find a God. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. And where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.
The demon that you can swallow gives you it’s power, and the greater life’s pain, the greater life’s reply.
As you proceed through life, following your own path, birds will shit on you. Don’t bother to brush it off. Getting a comedic view of your situation gives you spiritual distance. Having a sense of humor saves you.
When you realize that eternity is right here now, that it is within your possibility to experience the eternity of your own truth and being, then you grasp the following: That which you are was never born and will never die..
Shakespeare said that art is a mirror held up to nature. And that’s what it is. The nature is your nature, and all of these wonderful poetic images of mythology are referring to something in you. When your mind is trapped by the image out there so that you never make the reference to yourself, you have misread the image.
The inner world is the world of your requirements and your energies and your structure and your possibilities that meets the outer world. And the outer world is the field of your incarnation. That’s where you are. You’ve got to keep both going. As Novalis said, ‘The seat of the soul is there where the inner and outer worlds meet.
If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track which has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one that you ARE living.
Love is a friendship set to music.
The notion of this universe, its heavens, hells, and everything within it, as a great dream dreamed by a single being in which all the dream characters are dreaming too, has in India enchanted and shaped the entire civilization.
The ultimate dreamer is Vishnu floating on the cosmic Milky Ocean, couched upon the coils of the abyssal serpent Ananta, the meaning of whose name is Unending. In the foreground stand the five Pandava brothers, heroes of the epic Mahabharata, with Draupadi, their wife: allegorically, she is the mind and they are the five senses.
They are those whom the dream is dreaming. Eyes open, ready and willing to fight, the youths address themselves to this world of light in which we stand regarding them, where objects appear to be distinct from each other, and an Aristotelian logic prevails, and A is not not-A. Behind them a dream-door has opened, however, to an inward, backward dimension where a vision emerges against darkness…
Well, one of the problems about being psychoanalyzed is, as Nietzsche said, Be careful lest in casting out your devils that you cast out the best thing that’s in you. So many people who are really in deep analysis look as though and act as though they have been filleted. There’s no bone there, there’s no stuff! How to get rid of ego as dictator and turn it into messenger and servant and scout, to be in your service, is the trick.
Anyone who has had an experience of mystery knows that there is a dimension of the universe that is not that which is available to his senses. There is a pertinent saying in one of the Upanishads: When before the beauty of a sunset or of a mountain you pause and exclaim, ‘Ah,’ you are participating in divinity. Such a moment of participation involves a realization of the wonder and sheer beauty of existence. People living in the world of nature experience such moments every day. They live in the recognition of something there that is much greater than the human dimension.
Perhaps some of us have to go through dark and devious ways before we can find the river of peace or highroad to the soul’s destination.