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tariki

A Hero's Journey

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Not suggesting I am a hero of any description (:P) , the idea is Joseph Campbells. He seems to see everything in the context of this idea. Not so sure myself. Anyway, I am reading his "Creative Mythology" at the moment and would recommend it. Nice pictures and the ebook has less typos than some of his others - though I had to laugh at the point where he quoted the zen master who said that we "must seek the face we had before we were BOM"........:D Moving on, I had a dream last night where I saw and met once again the old guy who converted me to the Lord all those years ago. I think he must be long gone now ( with the Lord? ) and I only stayed with his version of the Lord for about six months. But in the dream I thanked him and told him it had changed my life for the better. I remember though that his face dropped when I added that I had moved on. 

Well, my reading "inspired" the blog below, to be found ( with illustrations ) on mydookiepops.blogspot.co.uk. So my own journey has been to return to where I started and knowing it for the first time (where have I heard that before?) The simple love for another. 

I am still ploughing on with Mr Joseph Campbell, now with his "Creative Mythology". I have reached Chapter 3 and a section entitled Symbolic Speech. Here is how that section begins:-

The best things cannot be told, the second best are misunderstood. After that comes civilised conversation; after that, mass indoctrination; after that, intercultural exchange. And so, proceeding, we come to the problem of communication........

What sort of "problem" is communication? What exactly needs to be communicated? What would we wish to be communicated?

Turning once again to Thomas Merton, in one of his very last talks before his untimely death, he had this to say:-

True communication on the deepest level is more than a simple sharing of ideas, conceptual knowledge, or formulated truth...............And the deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion. It is wordless, it is beyond words, and it is beyond speech, and it is beyond concept. Not that we discover a new unity. We discover an older unity. My dear brothers and sisters, we are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are.

So, if this is correct, what we should wish to communicate is the means of becoming who we are. 

(At this point I would just say that more often than not I am talking to myself, even learning from myself. Whatever anyone else may or may not gain from wading through my blogs, in writing them I clarify my own thoughts. Often things come together, for better or for worse)

Just thinking back I remember the little story of the Jewish guy who travelled far upon hearing of a certain holy man - not to hear what he had to say but "to see how he tied his shoelaces." I think all good stories are multi-faceted but this one now takes on added resonance in the context of the questions raised here. 

Anyway, onward, from the Jewish to the Japanese. There is an old word in that language, menju, meaning "face to face transmission", person to person, a learning not to be found in books.

I learnt about this in a book (!) and its author, Hiroyuki Itsuki, spoke there of his own attempts to learn. Itsuki spoke of all the philosophers he had read and yet, he said,  he had "learnt more from his father's sigh" than from any of them. His father's sigh when, at the end of a long day, life's ambitions thwarted once more, he sunk down upon his bed.

Others have said that we can only ever truly learn that which is already in us, that which we already know at some level. If true, this would bring me back to "salvation" being recognition, realisation, and not any accumulation of knowledge. Which again suggests that, indeed, we are already one, and that what we have to become is that which we already are. 

By grace we recognise grace in others; I think not by seeing perfection in them, but simply by seeing their humanity, pure and simple.

 

Lay your sleeping head , my love,

Human on my faithless arm......

.....but in my arms till break of day

Let the living creature lie,

Mortal, guilty, but to me

The entirely beautiful.

(W H Auden, lines from "Lullaby")

I have never really been sure of the exact meaning - or meanings - of the whole of the poem "Lullaby" by Auden. I have gathered it speaks of "gay" love. Of what else I'm not aware. But I have always loved some of its lines.

Moving on, but on the same theme, the love of Heloise for Abelard, a truly tragic story recounted by Joseph Campbell in "Creative Mythology". Campbell summarises the love of Heloise after first calling it "(perhaps) the noblest signature of her century":-

 (her love was) not the natural, animal urgencies of lust, nor the supernatural, angelic desire to glow forever in the beatific vision, but the womanly, purely human experience of love for a specific living being, and the courage to burn for that love were to be the kingdom and the glory of a properly human life.

 

So, communication, or rather communion.

That is it for now. Just the final thought that the love of Heloise was unrequited. Does it take two to tango?

 

Thank you

Edited by tariki
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