I loved “The Power of Myth” by Joseph Campbell ever since I read it in mid-2015. I won’t be able to describe the book enough to do it justice of what it means to me, but here is one of my favourite passages:
“What’s the meaning of a flea? It’s just there. That’s it. And your own meaning is that you’re there. We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget that the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it’s all about.”
The rapture that is associated with being alive. I have consistently found myself in great conflict, straddling between life sucks and I cannot wait to meet my end, and oh my god, have you ever seen a tree up close? have you ever woken up to the magic of birds chirping and the skies are blue and every single cell of your body feels alive?
I have felt that way before, time and time again. My mind tells me that life is not worth living for and yet there is an inner part of me – do we call it the soul? – that doesn’t have an intellect. It just knows, feels, and be part of. It is alive. Sometimes I think the price of such knowing is to give up the comfort of being part of the crowd.
“The sacrifice that magic demands is solace.” – Carl Jung
I have to run far, deep into the forest and stay very still in order to hear the sound of nature. The sound of nature that surrounds me, the sound of my nature. The sound of how they come together.
Maybe I have gotten it wrong. I have thought living is overrated, but perhaps living as taught by our conditioning is overrated.
I have spent the past two years unfurling myself. Removing the layers, the crust, the debris. I don’t know if I am naked enough. Probably not. The journey is never linear, and each time I think I am done, I am met with a greater potential of destruction.
I learned that Joseph Campbell went into the woods for five years without a job, and he did mostly nothing except read for nine hours a day. The gift of books: when we cannot find role models in the existing society, we find it in parts of history if we’re lucky enough, if we’re brave enough to search. The gift that he brought to us is his synthesis of his overlapping knowledge, to be able to tie up everything he has come across and distill it for us.
Do you know that George Lucas credited Campbell for Star Wars? Campbell was Lucas’s yoda. How many people have been influenced and inspired by Star Wars? But how many people today know Joseph Campbell?
People ask me what am I up to, what is my end goal with all of this. The truth is, I don’t know. I can only describe this period of my life as a self-directed scholar of life. I am only beginning to know who I am, and just a tiny part of the world. I have gained more meaning, clarity and wisdom reading in these two years than the rest of my life combined.
What do I want? I guess I just want the courage to let my life unfold without conceding to external pressure and norms. I want to continue studying life. I want to hear and recognise the sound of my nature.