“Life issues a call; it makes a demand on every living individual…Only as you become aware of your own illusions can you simultaneously become more aware of the truth within yourself, and therefore in life. Consequently, you will understand in each moment what the call of life wants to convey to you.” ~ Pathwork Lecture 145
How has Life has been calling you lately? Is it whispering for you to surge forward on a new adventure, nudging you to make a slight correction in course, or maybe screaming for you to turn completely around and run like hell?
Does it sometimes feel like Life speaks a foreign language that you cannot begin to understand?
Just under the surface of the daily details of our life, the soul’s evolutionary journey is under way, whether we are aware of it or not. This journey can be likened to the metaphorical “Hero’s Journey” as coined by Joseph Campbell, and as we learn to translate the messages that are all around us, the obstacles fall away and the path can open up in astonishing ways.
There are several stages of the journey that Joseph Campbell has illuminated, which can be broken up into three distinct phases. Let’s take a look at these as they may relate to your Soul’s Journey:
The Departure. This is the phase when the Hero (that would be you) hears the Call. We often become open to hearing this call in the midst of a personal or spiritual crisis or life transition, but it can come anytime, and it can be experienced differently for each individual. I know I have been called when I have that “moth to the flame” kind of feeling. You know, when there is a sense of excitement mixed with a bit of fear, dread or apprehension, and yet you feel like even if you wanted to you couldn’t turn away from the flame? Other times I just have a deep knowing, “this is the place to go now.” Even if you haven’t a clue where you are headed, you usually feel the call as an inexplicable pull from a place much deeper than the personality level. Consciously or unconsciously, a decision is made to cross the threshold in search of the ultimate treasure, your Real Self. It is at this point that a mentor or guide often shows up to support and accompany you and help you navigate the road ahead. As the saying goes, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” It’s important to remember that you never walk the spiritual path alone.
The Initiation. No journey of value is without its challenges. Answering the call of the Soul’s Journey brings purpose and meaning to life, but you shouldn’t expect a walk in the park. This is the phase where the hero meets and befriends his/her dragons….the internal, shadow-dragons. While challenging, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The Pathwork offers supportive tools and practices to traverse this land, revealing character defects, hidden negativities and misconceptions, destructive behavior patterns and suppressed emotions. It is a time of accountability, self-responsibility, compassion, forgiveness and healing. The most amazing discovery on this part of the journey is that we need not fear our dragons! We find they are really beautiful messengers in disguise, and as we put down our swords and embrace them with love, they are transformed before our eyes. They become wise, mystical beings of light with gifts of wisdom to bestow. When the hero summons the courage to face what he/she fears will result in annihilation, the illusion of death is seen for what it is, and his/her consciousness and worldview are transformed. Have you ever had the opportunity to embrace your dragons, and see through their disguises? I think of it like the monster that I believed was under my bed as a child. Until my mother took my hand and lifted the bedspread, revealing that there was nothing to be afraid of, I was sure I was in mortal danger!
The Return. There comes a time in the Soul’s Journey when, while not perfect by any means, enough healing has taken place that it is time for the hero to return to every day life to bring the gifts he/she has received to others. While some initially begin their journey on an ego level with the goal of relieving the pain and suffering in their lives, the soul always knows the journey — your journey — has a much higher purpose! When this soul understanding reaches the ego level, it is time to return. Having experienced the rewards of the journey thus far, the temptation can be to want to stay in this magical place forever. And yet the quest is not complete until the hero accepts both his/her limitations AND gifts, and becomes willing to embrace life on life’s terms, integrating the wisdom that has been received and discerning the unique expression he/she has to offer the world. The hero returns as a servant, committed to an ever deepening surrender to a God of one’s understanding.
A surprising aspect of this journey is that once you return, you realize that the magical land you didn’t want to leave now lives inside you! The obstacles, the challenges, and the dragons, as well as the beauty, the wonder, and the wise mystical beings.
I feel tremendous gratitude for the call I answered so many years ago, and for the Pathwork Helpers and Teachers who guided my way through some challenging terrain. I encourage you, wherever you are on your journey, to trust that call. Let it lead you on the adventure of a lifetime, as you discover the Hero that you have always been.
Would you be willing to share this post, so that together we can offer the invitation to others who might also be ready to begin their journey?
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