Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Hero's Journey

The other night we watched a video about Joseph Campbell's writings and teachings that our son gave us for Christmas. I fell in love with Campbell's philosophy when I discovered his research about how every great mystical story contained the same "Hero's Journey." It became the theme and outline for my final paper on my personal philosophy on Human Development. Campbell's work was a rich discovery for me and made all my undergraduate studies make more sense and unite with my religious beliefs.

I wanted to share that little serendipitous story of how I came across Joseph Campbell's work. I was in my final class for my undergraduate, human development studies. As the final paper, we were assigned to write an extensive paper based on our personal human development theory. I was looking for a theme for my paper and struggled to find one that I could work with. As the deadline was drawing near, we were scheduled to take a family trip to Chicago for a legislative convention. I was tempted to stay behind and work on my paper as I was feeling pressure without direction.

I decided to go realizing that my paper shouldn't take precedence over my family. When I started back to school, I had promised myself that I wouldn't allow it to take over and become stressful; so off to Chicago I went.

The most amazing thing happened while we were at a museum and going through a traveling exhibit. It was based on Star Wars as it related to Joseph Campbell's discovery of the "Hero's Journey." As I walked through and read what each step was about in Luke Skywalker's hero's journey, the light of inspiration was gradually building. Then the final step was illuminating. It was entitled, Atonement. There was my inspiration. Using the steps of Luke Skywalker's journey, I likened each to different theories of human development. I was able to capture and connect how the theories I had learned about related to not only to hero's journey of Star Wars, but to my religious beliefs.

Because I kept my promise to put family first, I also discovered the very thing I needed academically. My paper flowed effortlessly when I got back home and I was happy with the result. After my presentation to the class, my professor, who also shared my same religious beliefs, told me she was glad that I tied spiritual faith into my thesis because it is something that professors can't do. Too bad because I believe in a separation of church and state but not separation between spirituality and state.

I did enjoy being immersed in Joseph Campbell's work once again as I watched the video. I loved what he said about following our bliss. It is something I am determined to do; and realize as I talked the other day about questioning authority and what others tell me I should be doing and instead following the inner workings of my heart, that I am giving myself permission to follow my personal bliss. I know that I am my best authority on knowing what is my bliss.

1 she gave a sigh of bliss: joy, happiness, pleasure, delight, ecstasy, elation, rapture, euphoria. ANTONYMS misery.
2 religions promise perfect bliss after death: blessedness, benediction, beatitude, glory, heavenly joy, divine happiness; heaven, paradise. ANTONYMS hell.

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