The Metaphorical Meaning of Sacrifice and Bliss in Mythology

Update: 10/8/14 – Reading over this post, this thought/feeling seemed to “bubble up from my archetype, from my soul:

“When you surrender, the life that is waiting for you will arrive.”

It feels an awful lot like Joseph Campbell’s famous quote:

“You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.”

Notice how “give up” and surrender or sacrifice are synonymous. Ah, wait! I just had an Ah Ha! moment about what this means: You’ve got to quit planning on what you are going to do, just start doing the thing that you love. So you are surrendering control, control of the outcome, control of the results, and instead living, engaging inside that activity that you love to do because you love to do it in and of itself. You love the process of that activity (ie, writing, music, art, acting, but it could also be business or science, just as long as you are engaging your creative, visionary side to these activities, and of course, above all, it is something you truly love, in and of itself, and not for the money. But enough philosophizing! The meaning of the statements is to begin doing it, right now! Go start singing, go start writing, go start dancing and acting, or whatever it is you love. It doesn’t matter if people say you aren’t good enough. If you love the process, you are immune to criticism, and you don’t have an Ego that cares about the results. It cares about the activity itself. And when you are engaged in it, you are living your purpose. You’re on the edge of excitement all the time, as Joseph Campbell used to say.

So, what you are surrending is philosophy, philosophizing, talking about it, and what you are accepting, what you are leaping into, is activity. The activity will guide you, open doors, send “magical” helpers, not the philosophy. Not the thought.

Update: 3/28/13: Now that it’s Easter, and today is Maundy Thursday, if you wanted to bring the Mythology alive in your own life, you could practice, right now, for instance, sacrificing your need to hold on to the past, and your need to control the future. And then by this act, this psychological act, the irony is, you psychologically “rise above” the duality of time, and for that matter all dualities, and you arrive at an “a priori” transcendence, in which letting go and surrendering, ironically, paradoxically, wins you back your true nature, your true gift, your “sacred” treasure and power. When you sacrifice your need to control time, you wind up in a timeless world, living a transcendent life.

Update 3/26/13: I was blown away just now when I learned that the word Islam itself means, literally, “surrender.” Fate, kismet, “Wyrd” are all common archetypes in religion, and so it makes sense that this idea of “surrender”and or “sacrifice” would also be an important archetype that is found in all religion or mythology. These two fundamental archetypes are symbiotic, and almost call out to each other.

“You can’t control your destiny, Jack. You’ve got to just let it wash over you like a bad spray tan that won’t take.” – from “40 Rock”

“You’ve gotta learn to let go. You can’t try and control everything all the time.” – From Celeste and Jesse forever.

“This isn’t turning out the way I wanted it to!” – Debbie, from this is 40 exactly the 44 minute mark.

Orpheus died to himself, in order that he may live on through everybody else. What does that mean, “to die to yourself”? Think about this for a minute. It means surrender. It means letting go. It means dying to your ego, the sense that you and everything else in this world are separate. It means dying to your inner self which only worships eating and sex, and then also dying to your outer self, which has the potentiality for achievement and greatness, but only worships at the feet of social recognition, the addiction or the endorphin rush of attention, of being worshiped yourself.

Sacrifice of the flesh is metaphorical of this idea of dying to the ego. The ego is this psychological structure that is blocking out transcendence and bliss both from the outside and from with in you.
(“The Kingdom is within you and is without you. If you will know yourselves, then you’ll be known and you will know that you are the sons of the Living Father.” – Jesus, from The Gospel According to Thomas.)

Bliss is like a secret underground fountain that’s bubbling up within you naturally, and also like a ocean that’s trying to pour into you from the outside.
But ego blocks off both of these sources that naturally would be flowing, like a damn, or like something that’s blocking off the root of a tree.

So the idea of sacrifice, in part, is this willingness or this sense of psychologically dying to your ego, letting the ‘rat’ that’s in you, secretly nawing at the root of the sacred tree, the Axis Mundi, die. Or letting the “damn” or “dike” that’s in you, which is trying to control and manipulate the waters of life, nature herself, letting that psychological structure be destroyed, not giving it any more energy or “soul” food. Your sacrificing the inner desire of hunger and the outer desire of pride, in order for the waters to flow again through you, or the light to once again shine through you after having become transparent, once again, to transcendence. You’re trying to balance the truth of who you are, of where you came from (“the rag and bone shop of the heart”) without crushing the totality of the human potentiality going forward, but also without cutting off those supply lines from which this very potentiality, the Cerebral Cortex, is made from. Remember Indra had the power to kill Leviathan, the snake that was blocking out the waters of life from nourishing the world, but in doing so he also brought down his own potentiality out of pride of the very act. So one could say that sacrifice is a religious archetype that has been needed to enable life to carry on evolving, while at the same time not losing touch with its origin, its essence, it’s soul.

Paul: “Wouldn’t you rather have me around for less years and I’m incredibly happy rather than longer and I’m miserable?”
Debbie: “Yes, and I just realized that just now!” – This is 40 – 47:15

“I guess the party didn’t turn out like you had planned.”
“Yeah, but it was a good party.”

Here’s another good example of an everyday way of putting this idea into practice: Sacrifice your Ego’s need for attention, and instead put that same energy in the direction of your bliss, you’re “calling”, the things or thing that makes you happy in and of itself, and not because it makes you money or gets you attention (Social Reward). In this post I have used “Ego” and “Flesh” sort of interchangably both in the ideas of “Dying to the Ego” and “Dying to the Flesh.” I think there are two good reasons for the comparison: 1) In Hindu, it is the outward, most superficial “body” of all of our “bodies” that is the most cut off from spirit (the inner body, “Atman”) and needs “religion” (re-linking) back to the soul and 2) If you think about your everyday life, its the experience of your body, the impulses of the flesh, and the experience of the senses that most feed this “illusion” of ‘Ego’.

The ideas of Yoga and Meditation are Eastern exercises in metaphorically “Dying to the Ego” or “Dying to the Flesh.” It’s not that you want to really die to your flesh. It’s that you want to think of the metaphor, the psychological aspect of it. The purpose here is to rebalance psychologically so that you are experiencing the impulses of the “subtle” body (Soul) at least as strongly, or some would say more dominantly, than you are experiencing the impulses of the “Ego Body.”

Neither are wrong. Both are natural. And in a way, the aspirations of a “New Religion” going forward would perhaps be a Unification or “Marriage” of these two separate bodies. That may be the true, ultimate life experience and fulfillment. In a way it’s sort of like the current goal of cutting edge physics is to “Marry” if you will Quantum Theory (Metaphorical of the Subtle Body) and Relativity (Metaphorical of the Physical Body).

I just realized that this idea of “Destiny” and “Letting go” or “Surrender” or in our terms here, “Sacrifice” (When thought of as ‘sacrificing’ your need to control) have a lot in common, that they almost are born from each other. So, if you sacrifice your Ego, then your true Destiny will take over, and then your life’s adventure will be automatic. “It” will begin. You won’t have to try. It’ll be like getting on a ride at Disney World.

The question I still have, that’s burning inside me, is how does one, in practical terms, in terms of your everyday life, actually “Die to Yourself” or “Die to Your Ego”? That’s the question that’s burning in me: how do you do this metaphorically in the everyday, “real” world of your life?

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