Friday, October 25, 2013

Journey: More than Just a Trip

"Journey" implies adventure, challenge, and overcoming odds.

The human psyche, it appears, is primed for hearing of adventure, for tuning into narratives of difficult experiences, challenging circumstances, and trying ordeals that contribute to someone’s growth as a person as that person strives to achieve something important to her personally. This is why movie-goers flock to blockbusters season after season to watch a hero or heroine face incredible odds in order to accomplish important personal goals. 

Countless studies by film experts have confirmed that the more a film includes aspects of the archetypal hero’s journey, the more likely that film is to be wildly successful at the box office. You could go so far as to say that any film that you loved and found a deep sense of satisfaction from watching likely was the recounting of a story that closely adheres to the patterns of a hero’s tale. 

Historically, the most popular films tell the story of a hero overcoming obstacles.

My theory for this disposition in the human psyche relates to my understanding of destiny. I hold the common belief that we exist as souls before coming into this life. Before incarnating into a body in this world, we make plans and goals, choose spirit guides, choose important relationships, and set challenges for ourselves to overcome in order to learn, in order to experience growth as a spirit being. My “destiny” then, is not something set out for me by some entity outside myself, or even some sort of blind fate, but the very goals that I set for myself, to face the very challenges I choose for this life. 

In this theory, I regard karma not as some unseeing hand of fate that doles out a kind of perpetual reward and punishment based on my deeds in this life or a previous one, but the process of acquiring knowledge and experiences that I have set for myself based on whatever it is I have deemed I need to learn. In this sense, we might see karma as a kind of fate. If I don’t get on to the job of accomplishing goals I set for myself in this life, karma steps in to send things my way to get me on the track I set for myself, my destiny. 

Destiny:  a map I made for myself before I incarnated.

This is indeed the hero’s tale. The hero is lost in a pointless life, mired in various problems, ineffectual in the areas he wishes he were excelling in, and trapped in circumstances that seem insurmountable. Along comes some catalyst, the hand of fate (or karma), to remind him of his destiny, the goals he set for himself as a bodiless soul on the other side. At first he resists these promptings, but as life moves on, karma doesn’t let up and eventually he either willingly or unwillingly embarks upon his journey. And this is but the beginning. 

Having embarked upon this journey, he has certainly undertaken far more than he ever bargained for and will be pressed to the very fabric of his being, perhaps even to death or near death in attaining those goals. Karma brings one lesson after the next, which appear as overwhelming challenges, and at times we—and even the hero himself—think he won’t succeed. But eventually, finding his resolve, he reaches deep inside himself and there finds the most important thing he will find in this life; he finds that he is the author of his own life, one with all that is, and capable of creating that which he has destined himself to create in this life.

The accomplished hero:  capable of creating that which he has destined himself to create in this life.