Home' Nova National : Nova January 2016 Contents 8 SPIRITUALITY
to live, to be inside the process.
Our suffering often points to whatever
is not working for us. For growth to occur,
we must learn lessons and accept what
we cannot change while taking proactive
action on the things we can change. It
is not some mystery hidden away in an
Until our self realisations are living and
breathing in actions, we are not finished.
As souls, we are here to learn. This
is our school and training ground.
Each ideology is like another school.
Specific dynamics (like being born male
or female, rich or poor, country of
origin, religion and race) carry different
opportunities for learning.
As we learn lessons from our life
experiences, so our capacity for compassion
and wisdom grows.
All recorded history and our oral
traditions before that reflect our journey
to survive, develop and achieve mastery
of our environment. Swiss psychoanalyst
Carl Jung wrote about the “archetypes”
– characters that recur in dreams of all
people and in the myths of all cultures.
Jung believed that archetypes were part
of a deeper source of knowledge and
mythology forming part of the “collective
unconscious” of our intrinsic human mind.
The inner realm is the collective mind of
all humanity – it binds us all together in a
shared experience. Each person experiences
a range of personalities that play out in the
unfolding drama of life. This is the story of
In the European divination cards called
the Tarot, the 22 Major Arcana (greater
secrets) cards depict the hero’s journey.
American scholar Joseph Campbell in
his classic, The Hero with a Thousand
Faces, one of the most influential books
of the last century, set out to map the
human condition and define a pattern
of development by the hero. Campbell
describes the story of the “hero” common
to myth, ritual, drama and storytelling,
reflecting our individual and collective
The archetypal hero goes out on
an adventure of discovery for his own
personal growth and redemption, as well
as representing something from his tribe
or particular group. All of humankind is
embodied in the hero’s journey – the story
of our collective and individual origins.
Each time we evolve, especially
during significant life phrases, we
come back to repeat the story and re-
experience its lessons.
As American writer Willa Cather
wrote: “There are only two or three
human stories, and they go on repeating
themselves as fiercely as if they had never
Campbell believed that all stories were
essentially one and the same story told in
unlimited variations and following the
terms of the hero myth or “mono myth” he
laid out. The universal myth is universal,
common to all cultures, to all people.
Campbell uncovered a pattern that lies
within every story ever told.
Each person’s personal developmental
process follows the hero’s journey and,
in this way, we are all heroes of our
own lives. Self mastery requires that we
journey to sometimes uncomfortable
places, find and clear the debris (slay the
dragon) and come back renewed and
inspired for our next journey. Each time
we depart our homes (our comfort zone),
We are all heroes
charting our own — and
the universal — journey
to self knowledge, says
The Hero’s Journey
‘ Until our self realisations are
living and breathing in actions,
we are not finished.’
illions of individual stories have
brought us here. There must surely
be a pattern, a common thread
that ties all of humanity together.
If we could unlock an implicate order
or system for living, it would show us a
method to understand our lives better.
Was Danish philosopher Kierkegaard
mistaken when he suggested, “Life
must be lived forwards but can only be
A pattern language exists in all human
systems. In all human history there is
something we are learning about ourselves,
beginning with a quest. Within every
story ever told is the oldest story known to
humankind and embedded in our collective
memory – the story of a hero.
As we mature from childhood to
adulthood and beyond, we all encounter
and have to face a variety of personal
challenges where we are tested, often
severely so. What builds character and
defines our destiny is the ability to conquer
our personal fears and doubts and face our
challenges head-on. If we can overcome
these challenges (and nullify the giant
or demon in the process), then we will
be liberated from these dark forces, and
advance with the lessons learnt and our
The purpose of life is within life itself –
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