Thinking Mythologically

Our lives are not just created from our experience, but also from  books we have read, movies or television shows that have attracted our attention.  Our unconscious takes them in as though they were our personal experiences.  This happens because we are giving our full mental and often emotional focus to the imagery being portrayed, the experiences of the characters, and what we wish to have happen next.  Producers and directors count on it.

sleepora-iceberg-unconscious-mindThe brain cannot tell the difference between what happens in the actual world and what’s visually imagined in movies and television.
This is both good news and bad news.  Because we’ve  grown up in a world with ample opportunities for these visual experiences, we have a deeper and richer unconscious than was possible in times of the past.  In ancient times the storyteller was vital and very important to the health, education, and evolutionary consciousness of the tribe or village.  Now, more than ever we are surrounded by stories that affect us.

To enter the realm of personal myth we need to undertake a journey to find out if the person we believe ourselves to be is the person we truly are.  We begin by defining or redefining core values.  We examine our dreams, both waking and sleeping, to discover our hopes and our fears.  And perhaps most of all we begin to realize that we are creating life from conscious and unconscious reactions to the energies and behaviors of those around us. The more conscious we are, the more we are able to make wise decisions.

comic-heroWe have two kinds of awareness:  our waking, logical, problem solving, decision-making consciousness and the unconscious, reactionary, emotion driven responses to circumstance.  Self-realization, self-awareness, and self-actualization imply that we are making conscious, deliberate decisions instead of reactive, unconscious, impassioned choices.  It is  okay to react, but it will not bring peace or happiness. The more we learn to recognize our mythical, internal constructs, the more we are capable of making a conscious decision.

A true spiritual life is formed from choice rather than experienced by happenstance.
While it is possible to have transcendent visions, or exciting encounters with other-world beings it is rarely a daily occurrence, nor would it be wise for anyone to indulge such manifestations.  Leading a spiritual life requires steadiness of heart, discipline of mind, and a regular, determined prayer life.  The unconscious can throw up endless imagery to entertain us.  But making a conscious effort to live as a spiritual being aware of our responsibility to contribute to the welfare of our world constitutes a genuine heroic effort.  We can decide to become a person of divine consciousness, but it’s not going to happen by accident.

River RescueWhat about difficult circumstances?   When we don’t react from distress, anger, fear and grief, we must consciously decide to 1) give the emotional reaction a non-harm way of expression 2) Practice patience until we are no longer emotionally driven, and 3) decide for what we know is appropriate, right, and for the true good.  Of course there will be times when we must react, and not ponder unduly because our life or the life of another is in danger.  But how often is that going to happen?  We create a self-aware, self-realized, and self-actualized life by making conscious choices based on the heroic image of ourselves as the Beloved Children of Great Spirit.

If you don’t know your personal unconscious, it will trip you up when you try to decide for your heroic and divine inheritance.    What mythological tale do you live in?  Another way to ask this is-what’s your favorite story?  That story is a fundamental belief or ideal inside of you. What thoughts support it?   Is that myth of use to you?  Is it helping you create love, joy, peace, and wholeness?

If we can always adopt a new story-  create a new attitude- or change our mind- what are we waiting for?

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This day Great Spirit Mother, Father & Weaver
We open to Divine Grace,
Surrendering, letting go, and being held
By the Great Mystery- in which we trust.

This day Great Spirit, we open
To the Divine Guidance.
Surrendering, letting go, and being held
We let divine movement carry us to the fullness of life.

This day Great Spirit,
We remember who we are.
We remember why we are;
We are your hands in the world,
Your voice for our people.

Free to create and bring love, joy, and peace
To fill all the empty places of this day.
We are spirit, we are people of heart.
Guild us as we bring our heroic self
Into this world today.

The Myth of Heavenly Perfection

When we embarked upon the spiritual journey it was undeniably a part of our goal to attain perfection.  We have been indoctrinated, proselytized, and programmed to desire perfection.  That’s why advertising works.  It tells us that we are not perfect, BUT we could be perfect if we only use a certain product, drive a certain type of car, own the right house, and discover the right job.  Everyone wants to help us by selling us something- self-help books, talismans, prayer beads, amulets, potions, therapies, and workshops.  So why are we all still unhappy with ourselves?

Maybe it’s because we believe in the myth of Heavenly Attainment.  heavenThis myth says- One day we will arrive at a blessed and blissful land where everything will be well, happy, and forever wonderful.   Some of us are content to wait until we die hoping that will take care of the suffering of our lives and we will join the angels for an eternity of song and holy delight.  Some of us are always in process, striving to do what is right, be as perfect as possible, perform every action recommended by our spiritual path, studying each new idea that seems promising- hoping that somehow our life will turn out the way we hoped, planned, and intended.  When our life still doesn’t make us happy, wealthy, and wise, we blame ourselves, or the path, or the spiritual teacher, our parents, our culture, our gender, or anything else that seems to be amiss in the world.

But what if things just are what they are?  What if life will never be safe, no matter how many insurance policies we own?  What if failure is enviable and we will continue to make mistakes no matter how many college degrees we earn?  Or how good we get at controlling ourselves or others? What if we are OK just like we are?  What if suffering will continue to exist in our life even if we are OK being who and how we are?

Most of us are constantly looking for what’s wrong, and creating new crises so we can rise to the occasion.  To the little self-ego that’s survival.  It’s very important that something is wrong so we can continue to survive it.  self-hateOver and over we say, “I’m responsible… I need to do it right…I must be perfect!”  This internal pressure leads to stress.  Stress leads to developing a coping skill (eating, drinking, smoking, drugs, yelling, hitting, etc.) which relieves our stress but makes us feel awful about ourselves.  So- we resolve to be responsible, correct our behaviors, get it right, and make sure we are perfect next time!  Which leads to stress…so…

Could you love someone who doesn’t meet the standards you were taught must be met in order to be lovable?  What happens when you don’t meet those standards?  And most of us never meet those standards. Remember not wanting to be how you are is the most significant factor of SELF-HATE.

When we accept ourselves how we are- when we know and accept our less desirable qualities and also accept our benefactor qualities we might grow to love ourselves.  Most of us think that loving ourselves will make us selfish.  But those who feel completely loved and lovable are not selfish- THEY ARE LOVING!

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“Come to the edge,” he said.
They said: “We are afraid.”
“Come to the edge,” he said.
They came.
He pushed them,
And they flew…

– Guillaume Apollinaire