Our lives are not created just from direct experience but also from our mental and emotion thoughts and fantasies. If we read a book and become involved in the story , or go to a movie and become totally a part of that experience, or become engrossed in a video game- the mind uses those emotions as though we have personally undergone those experiences with the characters in the stories.
This can be both good and bad news. Because we have grown up in a world with these fables informing our mind as well as having actual experiences, we have a deeper and richer unconscious than our ancestors. In ancient times the storyteller was important because he or she told the stories that would strengthen the beliefs of a culture or a people thus informing tribal consciousness. A hundred years ago few people owned books. Now books, movies, and visual experiences are everywhere on electronic devices.
The brain cannot tell the difference between what happens in physical reality and what’s imagined from movies, books, or video games. This is important to understand in our exploration of spiritual experiences. Since we are constantly surrounded by story it constantly affects the way we perceive the world. We need to visit the realm of our personal myths or we will encounter unexpected surprises in creating a spirit-based life and reality. The more conscious we are of our internal myths, the more we are able to make wise decisions.
We have two minds: the waking, decision-making, interpretive mind and the unconscious, reactionary, storytelling mind. Self-realization, self-awareness, or self-actualization means being aware of why, when, and how we are having an arising, an aversion to someone, something, or some idea. We invest ourselves in examining our inner realms of psychological tensions, pain, and possible life trauma to determine how to move from a dreamlike interpretation of the world into a self-aware and awake decisiveness. We learn to make conscious, deliberate decisions instead of reactive, unconscious ones. This process will be essential on our path of spirit.
We learn to respond to the world as a divine being through the practice of meditation, contemplation, mantra, song, ceremony, and creative prayer. In other words we recreate our lives through mythological and metaphysical means. We learn to tell Divine Spirit’s story within our story.
A true spiritual experience is one we choose because of commitment and discipline rather than something we experience by chance. Humans get bored easily. When an emotional, inspiring, and uplifting experience is not always present in our chosen spirit path we may believe there is something wrong with the path or the teacher. Having learned to be experience junkies from lots of movies, videos, and books we think the path of spirit should be one long joy ride. When we decide to become a person of divine consciousness it will take work. It’s not going to happen by chance, accident, or a weekend immersion.
What about difficult circumstances? Yes, challenges are going to arise in our lives. We are going to react and sometimes we are going to regret that action. Everyone has 100% accurate hindsight. In creating our Divine Myth we can use that ability to discover what options we had that we didn’t see because we were busy reacting to the situation from a default emotion. Some of default emotions are- anger, fear, frustration, depression, guilt, blame, self-recrimination, etc. On the path of spirit we are attempting to reset out default response to- loving kindness, generosity, compassion, equanimity, or possibly sympathetic joy.
On examination of a past reactive circumstance we perceive that we could have make a different choice- walked away, asked a question, said no, offered assistance, or simply listened without speaking. What we chose we chose. Guilt is not going to help us here. We look for possibilities so we might be able to choose one of those options next time. Even if we use our default emotional reaction over and over and also look at options over and over we are still making progress. One day the options having been repeated often enough will arise along with the usual reactive default thoughts. Eureka! We have begun to reprogram our mythological-emotional response into something we really want!
If we don’t discover our personal myths, they will trip us up when we try to decide for our Divine Nature. Some ways to discover some of these hidden mythical tales is to rewatch movies or television from different ages in your life. Start with age 5, then 10, then 15, then 20. Do you recognize why you believe some of the things you believe? Do you see what you grew up thinking was how life worked or should work? Time to rethink. Who do you really want to be? How do you choose to live your life? What will you do to become the hero you were destined to be?