Friday, July 25, 2008

Update 22 - Joseph Campbell

Thought I'd spend some time on Joseph Campbell in this post (and then get to us all). As all my friends, students, family know I love Joseph Campbell's thoughts on myths/ Star Wars as myth/ and life in general (if you're interested visit the Joseph Campbell Foundation in my links). Campbell's 'Follow your bliss' catch phrase has been a constant in my life since I watched a series of interviews between JC and his friend Bill Moyers many years ago. Keegan reminded me of this in a phone conversation a couple of days ago (when I needed reminding - thanks KW). Here's a brief transcript from the book of interviews 'The Power of Myth':

BILL MOYERS: Do you ever have the sense of... being helped by hidden hands?

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: All the time. It is miraculous. I even have a superstition that has grown on me as a result of invisible hands coming all the time - namely, that 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 that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open 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.

My general formula for my students is "Follow your bliss." Find where it is, and don't be afraid to follow it.

--Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth, pp. 120, 149

I love the idea of this and I've shared this whenever I can. The blog is now a natural place to share so...

The follow your bliss idea doesn't mean that you drift around and hope for the best or rely on other forces to provide your pathway. Instead it is a matter of identifying that pursuit which you are truly passionate about and attempting to give yourself absolutely to it. In so doing, you will find your fullest potential.

For me this meant a decision at age 12 to become a teacher. I'm no longer sure where this idea came from but that moment of epiphany has stayed with me. I love the fact that I am a teacher (still). Another Joseph Campbell catch phrase is ' through sacrifice - bliss'. Teachers serve the community.

Some more of JC:

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are -- if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.

Now, I came to this idea of bliss because in Sanskrit, which is the great spiritual language of the world, there are three terms that represent the brink, the jumping-off place to the ocean of transcendence: sat-chit-ananda. The word "Sat" means being. "Chit" means consciousness. "Ananda" means bliss or rapture. I thought, "I don't know whether my consciousness is proper consciousness or not; I don't know whether what I know of my being is my proper being or not; but I do know where my rapture is. So let me hang on to rapture, and that will bring me both my consciousness and my being." I think it worked.

--Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth, pp. 113, 120

This last couple of thoughts sums me up. It reminds me of the end to Jerry Maguire (one of my Dumbo movies remember) -

Isn't it great to be able to say that!! And now the bit for you - maybe you also need reminding of this (a few of you from your recent emails to me seem to be at a particular crossroads with choices to make and you're struggling with a decision) or maybe you haven't yet found your bliss. Maybe it's time in your life to check those doorways again. Whatever..."Follow your bliss"!!

Love and peace - W

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