As I watch him interacting with family and friends, and speaking of his daily living away from his childhood home, one thing is true – the hero’s journey we are on is the one we are ready for so as to manifest our character.
Each one of us begins the hero’s journey. We begin as we are compelled to leave our childhood to explore adulthood.
This mythology of human development, which Joseph Campbell wrote in his seminal book, “The Hero with A Thousand Faces”, regards the transition from psychological dependency to psychological self-responsibility, that is, to “die” to our infantile condition, and finding a new source of life to bring us forth to another condition – maturation.
This journey is not necessarily conscious; we could be lured to an adventure which in turn becomes our hero’s journey, or we could be thrown into situations which require us to invoke the journey, or we could intentionally embark upon what know little about. I suspect the hero’s journey could be the result of a combination of these.
Definitely true for my son. He was eager to leave his childhood, lured by the adventure of being an independent “big person” and the promise of individual freedom. He chose new challenges in life, and I have little doubt, there will be unforeseen circumstances which he must traverse.
So we come to the cave, our challenge – to enter, confront and emerge transformed. This cave, dark and shadowy, is a place of stagnation or regression, a place that speaks to the lesser of who we are, a place of our fears and doubts, a place of internal conflict.
The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek. ~ Joseph Campbell
What will my son’s tests and trials be to find himself, the mother in me asks. I may never know. Few know the battles we fight.
Hopefully, he will follow his bliss and be triumphant from each ordeal, and grow in maturity, awareness and altruism.
I guess some of us may never complete the journey, for the cave is indeed a scary place. Becoming ourselves requires more than cognitive understanding and behavioural adaptation. The experience is emotional and spiritual, we are psychically changed.
This is my experience that there does not seem to be “the destination”. Rather, the journey is the step we take each moment of each day… for as long as there is life. Each step is a choice to stay on the journey, or to veer from it. Each step is a decision to do whatever it takes to manifest our character in its fullness, or not.
This transformation of consciousness through trials and revelations – of losing our self, finding our self and giving of our self – is our psychic journey to our humanity.
And as life evokes our character, we ask – is this life I am leading the best expression of my character?
Well, is it?
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