Categories
Mythology Philosophy Pyschology Spiritual

The Essential Function of Mythology and Religion

It’s to put the psyche in accord with nature. Once a hero begins an adventure he quickly learns he has to let go of his ego thinking and let the quest itself be his guide. In some adventures the hero is humbled (Odysseus, Parsifal, Job, Indra). In others he is completely eaten up or otherwise destroyed (Jonah, Jason). In all of these cases some kind of submission is required to an unintelligible, invisible force. That submission has to be utter (Actual death in the Christ story, and a complete willingness to die in the Buddha—at which moment his fulfillment is activated, and he achieves Nirvana). Yet all the while he is still striving for his goal. Though chaos may blow him all over the place for reasons that don’t seem fair, he somehow maintains his inner acceptance even in the face of the ultimate. And continues to try to move forward. The schizophrenic is the person who does the opposite: He won’t let fate wash over him, won’t let his consciousness transform, and keeps insisting on his ego’s program of control. He can’t accept the cards he is dealt and when the world around him won’t conform to his ego’s desire (which in truth like Jay Gatsby’s can never be fulfilled) he finally refuses to play the game. But that leaves him in a frozen state in which the intensity of suffering only increases until he feels he utterly cannot escape it and finally is left wailing on the ground.
So the hero is representative of a psyche that has learned to accept, submit to, and otherwise come into accord with nature, which is also analogous to his subconscious and as Jung put it, his “undiscovered self.”
Some heroes start out too proud and have to be humbled. Others start out too humble (Al-addin, many peasant types in the Grimm tales, Jack, etc.) And their adventure consists of realizing the diamond glowing inside. The lowly peasant boy, usually the third and youngest child, whom no one else respects either, turns out to be the only one in the kingdom with the courage to defeat the dragon and win the princess. Somehow his willingness to get in the game with the same type of straightforward intent, yet without expectation, and even more crucially without desperation, just like the Buddha’s acceptance under the Bo tree, and the Christ’s acceptance hanging ostensibly, metaphorically from that same tree, activated his superpowers, transformed his consciousness and that of the whole world around him.
Religion is simply when the act of being with these stories, symbols, and rituals, has the same effect on your psyche. The labyrinth is your socially conditioned mind and body. What’s trapped inside is your undiscovered self, your soul. Adriane’s flax thread is symbolic of religion and mythology itself, the song of the soul’s calling. One only has to follow it. The Great Way, as the koan says, has no gate.

Refusal of the call converts the adventure into its negative.

Joseph Campbell

Categories
Culture Music Spiritual

A Generation X Woodstock View

As a teen I romanticized it. Now, I realize that’s the same as mythologizing something. Of course the reality of the experience was anything but. Unless you were having a good trip, as it were. As a young teen in the early eighties, maybe from my older sister’s record collection, I was into CSNY, Dylan, Clapton, Beatles, Stones, etc. This was odd for 1983 I suppose. Even though MTV fascinated me in and of itself, I always “hate-watched” the content thinking it was so superficial compared to my beloved 60’s.
But enough about my thoughts on this now. I’ll add to them later including a whole chapter from my novel “The Horizon’s Blue Chance” which is all about a re-enactment of Woodstock at a college party in 1988. (the Chapter that is, not the whole novel. It’s the next to last one in the book, so it serves a prominent purpose to the story as a whole, at least psychologically and spiritually, a sort of “belly of the whale” experience.”)
I saw an article in today’s New York Times entitled “Woodstock Was the Birthplace of Festival Fashion” and like so much of my blog I just wanted to create a repository for media concerning topics I’m interested in.

Categories
1 Minute Tips Lifestyle Philosophy Pyschology Spiritual

The Essence of the Marie Kondo KonMarie Decluttering Philosopy

“When you pick up an item, feel it and think, ‘Does this make my heart skip a beat?'” – KonMarie, [Youtube Video Link]

“In the KonMari Method even the contents of a drawer that is hidden away should spark joy in you.” – [12:08 Mark in NHK Video]

“It is very important to choose what you want to keep rather than what you want to throw away in tidying.”  – [10:36 mark in NHK Video]

“The Goal of my tidying method is not just to reduce what’s in a room and remove clutter. My criterion is whether or not, you, as its occupant are comfortable being in that room.”
– [2:42 minute mark in this Video Link]

“Keep only things that bring joy,” she writes. The rest should be thanked and then discarded. – The Japan Times

“Anything doesn’t make you feel happy, get rid of.”  – Marie Kondo, [Youtube Link]

“If you’re not sure, ask yourself if it’s suitable for you. Does it create the image you have of yourself? No? Look back over the memories you shared with it and say, ‘Thank you.’ You’ll end up with only the items you really like.” – Marie Kondo, [Youtube Link]

“It’s paradoxical, but I believe that precisely because we hang on to such materials, we fail to put what we learn into practice.” – pg. 101 “The Life-Changing magic of tidying up”

It may seem rather drastic, but I’m convinced that letting go, at least once, of anything that doesn’t bring you joy is the ultimate way to experience what it’s like to surround yourself only with things that do bring you joy.
“It might come in handy.” Believe me, it never will. You can always manage without it.
– pg. 21, “Spark Joy”

Categories
1 Minute Tips Lifestyle Philosophy Pyschology Spiritual

The Key That Makes the KonMarie Method Work Better than Others

The Indians addressed life as a ‘thou.’ I mean trees, stones, and everything else. You can address anything as a “thou,” and you can feel the change in your psychology as you do it. – Joseph Campbell The Power of Myth, Ep. 3, The First Story Tellers, 25m 32s

Holding an old pair of Eddie Bauer Khakis, asking not just my conscious mind, but also my “feeling body,” whether they “spark joy,” I suddenly realized that this method allows you to take the time, that it puts you in another state of mind. I walked into my closet, just now, on about “Day 3” of  my “KonMarieing” adventure, and that’s the exact thought that popped into my head along with a very calm, opening of the heart feeling:

“It allows you to take your time. It puts you in another state of mind.”

I think this is the key why this method works whereas many others don’t.

We’re so used to rushing in every area of our lives: making appointments, phone calls, paying bills, getting this or that done by the end of the week or month. It puts a stress on the subconscious, on the soul.

And you would think that a project like “decluttering” would also demand such a sense of rushing and stress. And when I first started, I found myself almost spontaneously trying to rush, thinking,  “Oh I’ve got to get this row of clothes done in the next hour!”

But here’s the special key: Hoarding is a psychological problem, not a time one.

So the part of her program where you actually hold each and every item allows you to slow down and bring calmness into the picture. It becomes a ritual. Your spirit is invited to the party. A transformation of consciousness occurs. This is the essence of a ritual. And a ritual like this, one that’s sincere and from the heart, allows the hoarder to break the psychological bond. And that’s freedom.

You can feel it.

Although not large, the space I live in is graced only with those things that speak to my heart. My life-style brings me joy.    – KonMarie, “The life-changing magic of tidying up,” pg. 31

Categories
Lifestyle Philosophy Spiritual

What Marie Kondo Means by Spark Joy

“You can also define things that spark joy as things that make you happy.” – Marie Kondo, “Spark Joy,” pg. 82

“It is very important to choose what you want to keep rather than what you want to throw away in tidying. In other words, you choose from what’s in your house things that you feel happy to keep, things that you can cherish, and things that strike your fancy. That’s what it means to choose what ‘sparks joy in you.'” – KonMari [10:36 Mark in NHK Video]

I finished reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”

Well, actually I finished reading it last year, and now, everytime I walk into my closet, I say, “Tomorrow, I’m gonna start!” That’s been going on for a few months.

But today I’ve really started! I’ve just finished filling two garbage bags. But now I’m becoming just a little hesitant, losing a little confidence. A lot of things are easy: Jeans, socks, and sweaters with holes.

Some things caused me to hesitate: There was a long sleeve, rugged, thick shirt perfect for cold days. In fine condition. I paused. But the fact is, it doesn’t bring me any joy. It’s not my color. It’s not embarrassing to wear, but it is a little on the “kids” side of things, if you know what I mean. The style isn’t very adult. So I held it, thanked it for its years of service, and into the trash bag it went. It’ll keep someone else warm this winter. Or the next.

But I’m still hesitating. After two bags, I wondered if there would be anything left in my closet to wear! I wondered if I should go up to Barnes & Noble and buy her latest book “Spark Joy” to get back in the spirit of things. Even though I hate to lose my momentum, I remember that when I was engrossed in her book, one day something clicked in my mind, I and understood it in my soul. (I’m holding her book now and its radiating great energy!)

I also did a little googling. The first thing that came up was this LA Times Article. I think it provides a good summary. I’m going to quote one thing that they actually quoted from her book:

“[Hold the item] firmly in both hands as if communing with it. Pay close attention to how your body responds…. When something sparks joy, you should feel a little thrill,” Kondo says. Conversely, something that doesn’t elicit joy creates a sensation of heaviness. – Bonnie McCarthy, The Los Angeles Times Home

When I was thinking of going to Barnes and then decided maybe to get the Kindle version, I read some reviews. One guy’s review had some good things in it that I will quote:

In a nutshell, the konmari method involves getting rid of anything in your life that doesn’t spark joy. Starting with clothes, you go through each item and decide what stays or goes based on whether or not it sparks joy when you hold it. Joy is the only criterion: ‘If it makes you happy, then the right choice is to keep it confidently, regardless of what anyone else says.’ – Moi Surtout – from Amazon Review for “Spark Joy

See, just doing this is starting to get me back into the spirit. Clothes are interesting, and definitely the best place to start. Does this bring me joy to wear this? Does this make me feel good to wear this? Most of the time with clothes, at least, it has to do with their age. They’re faded, out-dated, or have holes. They’ve lost that “luster.” But that value isn’t always the criterion: I remember a very special T-Shirt that Marie described in her book. It was old. It was maybe considered childish by others. But she loved it, and still loves it. She loves to wear it when she’s at home relaxing alone. It’s one of her favorite things: So she keeps it. I have a similar relationship with a blue Adidas sweat suit: Thing must be almost 20 years old, but no other sweat suit has ever fit me so perfect and felt so good exercising in. I love it. I totally love it!

Try to get the voices of other people out of your head, when you are deciding whether to throw something out. And ask yourself, “Does this make me happy? Does this give me joy to have in my life?”

The answer will be spontaneous.

Categories
Philosophy Pyschology Spiritual

The Cure for Fear is Following Your Bliss

“I’ve said in the ‘Hero with a Thousand Faces’ that if you go on your own proper voyage, there will be protection, magical aid to come to protect you. If it’s not your proper voyage, that will be missing, and you’ll be in trouble. But if it’s the voyage of your own spirit and soul and destiny, don’t be afraid. There will come assistance.”

– Joseph Campbell, Collected Works, Audio Series II, Volume II – Perspectives on Creative Mythology, II.2.2 ‘Hermes, Alchemy, and The Voyage of Ulysses,’ The Adventure of Circe (1:43)