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Joseph Campbell On Spiritual Rebirth

Sometimes the only way to recognize we’ve aged is through the news of a baby cousins graduation, random aches throughout the body, and photographs that moments trapped in memory. Photographs reveal the illusive nature of time; revealing that with every choice we make the earth shall continue to spin around the sun. I found a photo of my first ever love poem. I carved my feelings onto the page, and laid it before her with the young, hopeful, and naivety of a first love.

She contained the only eyes I wanted to view the page. I had no worries of wealth, status, or being recognized as a poet, therefore, I aimed at full comprehension between my heart and mind. I wanted her to understand the simultaneous complexity and simplicity of my love for her. Joseph Campbell said, “Yeah, there is. Love, you might say, is the burning point of life, and since all life is sorrowful, so is love. And the stronger the love, the more that pain, but love bears all things. Love itself is a pain, you might say, but is the pain of being truly alive.”

Through poetry I took the risk of overcoming the fear of expression and laid my heart onto the table. That day I understood a little more about my heart, and looking back we forget to reestablish that connection. Whether it comes from never being pulled outside yourself by the eyes of a lover, or never having it happen again we must find a way to align the mind and heart. The heart opens for the hero that walks its unpredictable highway. Through this we become reborn, and overcome the obstacles limiting our peers. Joseph Campbell speaks on the heart, difficult journeys, and love saying:

We have not even to risk the adventure alone for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known we have only to follow the thread of the hero path. And where we had thought to find an abomination we shall find a God. And where we had thought to slay another we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outwards we shall come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone we shall be with all the world. The agony of breaking through personal limitations is the agony of spiritual growth.

Joseph Campbell On Rebirth

Our heroes hold a mystical place in our minds; they cease to become people, and we believe, if we are not careful, that they contain a special circumstance that led inevitably to greatness. I judge myself ruthlessly through this dangerous perspective. Heroism is an achievement. One become a hero, and Joseph Campbell makes this clear by saying:

The first view would lead one to imitate the master literally, in order to break through, in the same way as he, to the transcendent, redemptive experience. But the second states that the hero is rather a symbol to be contemplated than an example to be literally followed. The divine being is a revelation of the omnipotent Self, which dwells within us all.

Joseph Campbell On rebirth

We achieve heroism through living our lives deeply. By continuously creating and remaining stubborn through obscurity and indifference. We must set our eyes on greatness by evolving through the ever growing darkness that intends on blocking the wisdom contained in our heart. Joseph Campbell closes the essay by saying:

The way to find out about happiness is to keep your mind on those moments when you feel most happy, when you are really happy — not excited, not just thrilled, but deeply happy. This requires a little bit of self-analysis. What is it that makes you happy? Stay with it, no matter what people tell you. This is what is called following your bliss.

Through the cycle of initiation, separation, and return, the hero undergoes great trials and tribulations, experiences death and rebirth, and gains new powers that enable mankind’s ultimate redemption. Far from being obsolete relics from long-extinguished civilizations, the myths of the ancients have profound lessons for today’s reader. By studying the struggles, transformations, and redemptions of the great heroes, we come closer to discovering the universal truths of the human condition and unlocking the divine potential that lies inside us all. Everyone should carry their copy of Joseph Campbell.

Joseph Campbell

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