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Hero's Journey as Path to Enlightenment

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posted on Apr, 24 2014 @ 12:59 PM
I believe the Hero’s Journey contains the seeds of ‘enlightenment’.

A synopsis of the journey and it’s individual steps, of which there can be up to 17, are set out here: Hero's Journey

The Hero’s Journey is a pattern of narrative identified by the American scholar Joseph Campbell that appears in drama, storytelling, myth, religious ritual, and psychological development. It describes the typical adventure of the archetype known as The Hero, the person who goes out and achieves great deeds on behalf of the group, tribe, or civilization.

If you take this journey as a process on a subjective psychological level, with the individual being the hero of their own life, then I believe this journey brings enlightenment. Enlightenment, for my purposes, meaning individuation of the psyche.

I went through something about 10 years ago which fit with the hero's journey and I think it's something everyone does to some extent or other when the time is right - i believe it has to be when you're absolutely at the end of your rope and not one second before - but very few come out the other side fully and awesomely enlightened, most of us just keep dancing back and forward between various parts of the journey, regressing, sidestepping, somersaulting or whatever.

Without going into the long and boring detail of my own journey, which has taken about 10 years and counting, I'll try and bring out the main points.

People are walking contradictions. They have split psyches, parts of which they're not aware of. Often they make judgements, consciously and unconsciously, about other people and they thank whatever deity they believe in that they're not like that or they wish they could me more like that. The live their life as the person they think they are - husband, wife, upstanding citizen, degenerate, loser, successful, selfish, ugly, tolerant, worthless, fair etc. They work hard to live a life that accords with their view of themselves but deep down they feel ill at ease with things. They blame their job, their upbringing, their wife, the politicians, the other bastards in this world, etc. etc. for this bad feeling of unease, dissatisfaction, self-pity, etc. They try to alleviate it by taking drugs, drinking, gambling, taking a mistress, divorcing their husband, buying a sports car, quitting their job, going to a Zendo, etc, etc.

This feeling of discontent grows bigger and blacker and becomes all consuming and the seeker is becoming desperate to find another way, the only other option seeming to be suicide. It is only when the seeker gets to the end of their rope and begs the universe or an invisible deity for help that…

A person or a book or an idea comes into their life that truly confronts and challenges their very sense of self and they run away fast and far. Looking in the mirror is a shock when you’ve never seen what you really look like. They get given a brief glimpse of an unrecognisable self and head for hills. But it is too late, the spirits have been summoned and the 'master' has arrived. The seeker will be brought back to the 'master' through coincidence or serendipity. The 'master' who will likely not be a recognised master of anything metaphysical, religious, philosophical or psychological, in the mundane world at least, will turn up again and bring them into his (or her) orbit by offering the person an understanding of why they headed for the hills in the first place and it will be an understanding borne of experience and self-knowledge.

The 'master', having interested the dissatisfied seeker (who now wants all that the ‘master’ can offer, sensing the 'master' can somehow give him what he needs) will bring the seeker to an understanding that the outside world is not what ails the seeker, only the inside world. He will 'point at the moon' - suggest the seeker look inside themselves for answers rather than to a book or a drug or a person. The 'master' will point to spiritual and psychological truths to guide the seeker. Hearing (or reading) the truths the 'master' is offering, will feel like something he has always known but had somehow completely forgotten. But knowing is one thing and understanding is another. Once the 'master' is convinced that the seeker not just wants but needs to understand, the 'master' disappears and the seeker starts to look within, to the things that made them run to the hills to begin with.

It's the seeker's job then to confront their own self and begin to truly see their contradictions and less desirable side up close for the first time. Its horrifying, ugly and desolate. I don't believe this is something a person can do without being truly forced to by a Roshi or genuine spiritual guide, a Bodhisattva perhaps. I believe a Bodhisattva guided me through this process by throwing moral and ethical conundrums in my face, provoking me to realise my hypocrisy until I turned myself inside out and forcing me to realise that I generate my own perception of people and situations and the world in general.

I can't imagine this process being able (or allowed) to happen without the presence of somebody who knew what they were doing because again and again, the seeker must force himself to face up to the multiplicity of his own nature, his own failures and guilt and the demons he houses as well as the angels and the positive aspects. Unless this is handled very skilfully the seeker could end up mentally scarred by the process.

But it is this awareness of constant internal contradiction that causes the friction that leads to the fire that will eventually bring the seeker to the edge of sanity. I have heard this point referred to as being very similar to a schizophrenic breakdown. And it is then the seeker will move beyond their duality, beyond their multiplicity and into the clarity and awareness that the self, in fact, is an illusion.

This is when the seeker will receive succour and guidance to restore and revive them, ready for their re-entry into the mundane world.

This awareness is the great boon that comes from this journey, enlightenment if you will, and the aim is to bring it up into the world. At least that’s the theory but, of course, it never quite goes to plan because now the seeker will believe, having been through this horror nightmare # journey, that he has mastered himself and knows all the secrets of the universe, that he is, in fact, a small God. The joke will be on him in no short order. He will be tested and fail more often than not.

The tests will come in the form of getting tangled up in old thought patterns and emotional reactions to external stimulus out in the everyday world. The seeker will get angry about something someone has said or done or not done, he will feel superior to somebody who's failed, he will see a good samaritan and feel guilty. For someone who thought he knew it all, it seems he really didn’t learn anything and will suffer dumbly until he remembers, a reoccuring process for most of us.

An enlightened person is somebody who acts from the knowledge that self and emotion are illusions in every waking moment - I am you and you are me - and they are the ones who can bring positivity to the world and heal it and the sad souls in it.

edit on 24-4-2014 by Splodge because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 24 2014 @ 01:10 PM
Well said.

The universe is willing to help anyone who genuinely seeks, and is willing to forgive anyone anything if they genuinely repent. What does repentance mean? It doesn't mean saying you're sorry then going out and making the same mistake again. It means consciously refining yourself to never again repeat that error.

Regarding enlightenment, initial enlightenment is that first experience that you are not your body, nor are you chained down with the shackles of subjective personality. Lots of people get stuck that that point. As Zen Masters say, "the level ground is littered with skulls."

It's only those who press on without being snared in the brambles of remaining subjective thoughts that truly penetrate to the other side.

Good luck on your journey. We're all already at the destination, we just need to awaken to realize it.

posted on Apr, 24 2014 @ 01:23 PM
Yes you are mostly right but it is much larger than a mere portion of your life!
It is your Entire Life!

We are Alive to Discover and Become One!
It is the Cycle.

This is a really good subject that covers everything actually. I can tell you are quite clever and a good writer as well. So I look forward to seeing more from you in the future as time progresses. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and I will share mine in return, just click on my name and see the recent threads list for some research and ideas I posted about this very series of topics.

It is far better I just have you check all my threads from the last year, instead of spamming your thread with all my thoughts on this matter. You can look at it anytime, or never. Doesn't matter in the end. I bet I'll surprise you though.

The "Revelation" of the Scarab Phoenix is the Hero or Heroine's "Journey" Within.

So what's this about?
You! Your Soul's Ascendance and Transcendence - the Metamorphosis!

Like all beetles, scarabs undergo complete metamorphosis with four stages of development: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

Check the songlist from that album, Revelation

1. "Never Walk Away"
2. "Like a Sunshower"
3. "Change for the Better"
4. "Wildest Dream"
5. "Faith in the Heartland"
6. "After All These Years"
7. "Where Did I Lose Your Love"
8. "What I Needed"
9. "What It Takes to Win"
10. "Turn Down the World Tonight"
11. "The Journey (Revelation)"
12. "Let It Take You Back"
13. "The Place in Your Heart"

Who Truly "Never Walks Away"? You!!
Every single song name is a significant reference to parts of our lives but in the context of occult symbolism, which opens a doorway to much deeper "Revelations" than would be normally available without such context.

And what is Lucky # 13? "The Place in Your Heart" , of course!

edit on 4/24/2014 by muzzleflash because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 24 2014 @ 01:54 PM
Compare Scarab Phoenix symbolism with Shu:

He Hold's up a "U" - the Horseshoe because it's You!
Magnetism, Parabolas, etc.

Two U's = Yin Yang = Whole O of the Soul Hole...
Make a U-Turn or Churn and Burn.

It's that Sole of the Shu, the Sole Soul within You!
Sol the Sun and Son!

sole 1 (sōl)
3. The part on which something else rests while in a vertical

And :

1. Being the only one:

Hey we are like kids' we don't know much yet we actually know it already!
This is Between the Lions, as it's about the two lions that lie on.
It's the Lying Lion that Lie, but do I refer to Lay, Dishonesty, or is it mere Hyperbole? What you Say?

The main characters are the lion cubs Lionel (7 years old and in 1st grade) and Leona (4 years old) and their parents Theo (Theodore) and Cleo (Cleopatra), who read stories to the cubs in almost every episode, so they can get wild about reading.

Lionel? The Lion is El.
Leona ? Onna means "Woman", referring to variants like "Anna" which come from An (A, An, Any)

The indefinite article of English takes the two forms a and an. Semantically they can be regarded as meaning "one", usually without emphasis. They can be used only with singular countable nouns; for the possible use of some (or any) as an equivalent with plural and uncountable nouns, see Use of some below.

One? That's the Sole Soul!

As a prefix :

a-, an- = not, without

Which is the Cosmic Knot...

Oh and "Theo" of course :

Theo is a given name, deriving from the Greek word Theos which means god,[1]

Clues from Cleo ?

Cleo is a given name that is short for Cleopatra or Cleophalus and an alternate spelling of Clio. It is a Greek prefix often translated to mean 'pride', 'fame' or 'glory'.

Cleo, an animated goldfish who first appeared in Pinocchio

There you go, Enter the Carp like Jonah or Jesus the "Carpenter".
Yearn to Learn, that's how you Earn an Ear to Hear.

Learn to what???
Read Between the Lines !

I could do this till I die.
I probably will, but not in your thread I'll spare you.
Was fun though!

posted on Apr, 24 2014 @ 06:38 PM
Thanks both for you kind words. JonButtonIII, you hit the nail on the head with so much brevity
I agree with everything you have posted, especially the idea that we are already at our destination because you do come back to where you started but with new eyes. TS Eliot, the British poet, said exactly this in his poem 'Little Gidding':

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

This journey has been painted, sung and written in myths and stories from the dawn of time right up to today in films like The Matrix and Star Wars and when you see it, you know it, you feel drawn to it, at least I think.

Muzzleflash, your enthusiasm makes me smile! Your posts are so full of ideas and the second one's great! I'm looking forward to exploring your points in more depth. You're right about reading between the lines and that was the the beginning of the journey in earnest for me. It was the equivalent of diving headlong into abyss. That's the journey into your own self. You have to be careful and make sure you have a strong tether to reality before you jump or else you might get lost or never come back. I was taken to the edge and had to make the decision myself to jump. It was a very scary thing and I remember taking a very deep breath at the time and thinking 'here goes nothing', but that was how it all began. It was a conscious decision to trust in the forces leading you to that point and to submit and commit to the journey. That probably sounds crazy and maybe I was but it was how it started to begin with.

I also found that what you really needs to know falls in the space between the lines, in that place where words turn back and what is experienced there can never be spoken about but can be communicated through art. Artists can communicate where mystics can't. Art can actually reflect and communicate with the deep self which is why it took me four hours to write my first post. I should have just drawn a smiley face and moved on

Talking Heads once wrote:

Some things can never be spoken, some things cannot be pronounced
That word does not exist in any language, it will never be uttered by a human mouth
- "Give Me Back My Name" - Little Creatures album

But really it was the hero's journey I wanted to discuss and I don't feel I did it justice so below is a bare bones modern outline of it.

I actually found a free PDF copy of Joseph Campbell's original book about it online here. That really goes into its history, where it's occurred in cultures over thousands of years. It's indepth reading but worth having a look at.

I think the way it keeps on keeping on is incredible. It's obviously something deeply ingrained in the human psyche. I guess that's really all I wanted to say for now so thanks for taking part.
edit on 24-4-2014 by Splodge because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 24 2014 @ 10:11 PM
a reply to: Splodge

Thanks for the reply and elaboration.

You would be amazed how similar our journey has been, so many elements you mentioned and even the order it took place in could be compared in an interesting way. So I do find that very fascinating.

I will also state that I have learned a lot from Joseph Campbell and he was one of the early teachers that aided in getting me started on the "Odyssey" of mystical exploration in a direct and aggressive manner. I would happily suggest his work for anyone interested in mythology or symbolism.

The Hero's Journey diagram you posted is really neat and I do refer back to it from time to time. It really was well constructed, although it's merely a guideline it is quite accurate none the less!

That's why I was so attracted to your thread and compelled to post in it.

posted on Apr, 24 2014 @ 10:29 PM
a reply to: muzzleflash

I, too, am amazed by the similarities! I came to Joseph Campbell, Zen, TS Eliot and a LOT of other sources when I was trying to make sense of what I was going through. Campbell's work explained it in the most linear way but I've found it reflected in many other writings, art and music.

I really don't know why I have been reflecting on that early intense period of my journey again over the last two days. I haven't really thought about it in depth for quite awhile. I'm sure the reason will become clear in the fullness of time. In the meantime I'll watch for signs/coincidences/synchronicities and see what happens.

posted on Apr, 25 2014 @ 12:47 AM

originally posted by: Splodge
I'm sure the reason will become clear in the fullness of time. In the meantime I'll watch for signs/coincidences/synchronicities and see what happens.

Exactly, that's how it seems to work.
The "Reasons" behind all of "This" - whatever the heck is going on...
Will be "Revealed" as time progresses.

This is a plain fact and it's wise of you to base your strategy around that realization!
Just have Faith in Yourself and be You!

Of course things don't always seem to work out so great, but that's our challenge to face. And if you think of all of the potential "other realities" that could have happened, this one isn't so bad after all.

posted on May, 1 2014 @ 10:38 AM
My husband's favorite entertainment (besides reading, of course... He's an English teacher) is Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. Star Wars since he was a boy. So much that he imagined himself in his own life's Star Wars while growing up (and still does sometims). He is an incredible person, and I think he is further along in enlightenment than many.
edit on 1-5-2014 by kkrattiger because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 1 2014 @ 10:44 AM
Someone once told me that just being able to get out of bed in the morning is a success in their life. We must not generalize nor judge other's perceived successes in life; just be concerned with your own path.

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