Jacob Wrestling with the Angel (Gustave Doré, 1855)
"What we most frequently see when the mind is focused and clear are the habits of mind that create unnecessary suffering, habits fueled by greed and hatred and delusion. Over and over we struggle with our lives, resenting our experiences, blaming ourselves for not being other than who we are. We are unable to see past the immediate, overwhelming drama of our personal story to find relief, indeed, liberation, in the consoling realization of an astonishingly lawful cosmos: paying attention to current experience stops the stories that create and recreate suffering." - Sylvia Boorstein, Buddhist teacher.
There are stories and there are stories. I understand what Ms. Boorstein is writing of. These are not the other stories, the deep stories, the "just so" stories designed in fact to open us to the dreamtime, to the Golden Age, to the Kingdom, to the realm of the Grandfathers. There are so many ways to envision our place in the scheme of things, what it is now, what it once was, what it can be. We have a spirit history and a spirit destiny. We have a journey, a quest, a path. We yearn and oddly enough what we yearn for is to be ultimately released from yearning, but not yet, not yet.
Under the right conditions, myths are not silly stories, not obstructions at all. Under the right conditions myths are elixirs designed for awakenings. Not THE awakening. There are no stories for the whole enchilada. There is only getting it or not getting it. However there is also the Path, and there are waystations along that Path. These stations are not like locations that can be mapped in some geography, nor are they accurate timepieces. Something else figures in, soul figures in, the process of unfolding figures in. There are waystations. Myths illuminate with the inner light.
And myths are always new as well as timeless. That is why sometimes for some of us an author can create a book that works today as the old myths once did. There are motifs and types. We can actually study those as Joseph Campbell certainly did, and know what comprises a myth. The other way, we can become creators ourselves and find them rising up out of some mystery within us. We paint, or dance. We perform the music and write the story, or the song, or the poem. Some will sculpt, some will weave. Many of us are driven and the Greeks had a word we still use. Of that drivenness we speak of the Daemon, the Daimon, the Demon, the Divine Man, a spirit that comes upon us and compels the work. To live close to that possibility is to come closer to being the vessel that God calls us to be.
Of all the calls possible in this world, God calling us out, the common thread in them is the act of creation in this way, and in our creations we will find a spark that we share in common with God. Once that spark is expressed, a common and true expression in our lives, we have become potential sons and daughters of the Divine, on the true path toward our realized destiny.
That is one piece of my theology, that creativity is at root Divine. I write this as a follow up to the video of Elizabeth Gilbert that I posted on facebook a couple days ago. If you didn't see it there, here it is again:
Addendum: This posting first occurred in December, 2010 and over its life was visited over twelve hundred times. That lifts it out of the obscurity of most of my postings which are lucky if they get even a few hundred visits. Most stay well under one hundred. I think it is time to renew its presence here, though I do not really expect such a glowing run this time around.