Sunday, October 14, 2007

So What Is _Your_ Monomyth?

Image from 'The Lion King', Broadway

Pick Up The Gauntlet In Your Life

We all read up on the biographical stories of the Buddha, Jonah, watch Superman and James Bond movies, feel momentarily inspired by all of them --- and then stow them away. Isn't it just possible, remotely, but just possible, that the same elements of heroism might be there in our own life too? Isn't it just possible, remotely, but just possible, that we might never have valued ourselves enough to look at ourselves as a Hero or a Heroine?

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These folks, heroic all of them, went through the monomythical stages that Joseph Campbell so brilliantly describes in his "The Hero with a Thousand Faces".

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You are leading what you or anybody might describe as an "ordinary" life. Suddenly, out of the blue, a gauntlet is thrown at you. You decide to pick it up, or ignore it. If you ignore it (continue leading the same _ordinary_ life), you take a different life path. Again, gauntlets are thrown at you at different times in the future.

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What could the challenge be? Oh, one of a host of issues. Being given the pink slip is one. Being told that you have cancer or AIDS or some other life-threatening disease, is another. Falling in love is a positive spin in your life. Or getting an offer of a job out of the blue, when you had resigned yourself to a life of a homemaker or a retiree is yet another. Going to college, or being assigned on a new project in the office / factory too come in this list.

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And after picking up the gauntlet, begins a series of stages through which you go through. It is really interesting - to identify what stage you are in at the moment, by comparing with the stages Campbell has laid out in his book.

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Somewhere during the day today, between your daily chores, sit down and go through his book. And quietly introspect and do this identification. You will be surprised at the answer that pops up.

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Do it. And let the hero or the heroine in you emerge.

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