The hero’s journey, path of enlightenment.
Given available energy, and the sight to recognize that some paths have more merit or application than others, just choosing the hero’s journey is rare. More often are people saddled with inferior awareness, leading only to seek material comforts, well beyond that level actually required for support, thus wasting the scant time available in a body. Somehow, you can’t speak the truth directly, neither will they hear, nor understand, for having looked upon the face of God, they would die. Thus, resorting to allegory and myth, the speaker gently loosens their bindings.
Ego, Trance States, Development
Let’s not get so involved with the world of sensual perception, materialism and making money, as to forget our search for meaning, creativity and love. First as children, and then later on again as parents, we have a busy schedule. There’s not much spare time in a day to work on your inner self or search for meaning, after you throw in 8 – 10 hours of work, commuting, and just collapsing in front of the TV at night to unwind.
Writing in the field of human potential, John Gowan’s major works are Trance, Art, and Creativity (1975), and Operations of Increasing Order (1980). Gowan’s work led him to the notion of a developmental order within states of consciousness. Disruption of this order can lead to mental illness or lesser cases of emotional inhibition. Gowan used Piaget to define the rational development of the mind, and Erikson to chart emotional development. He notes that most adults become emotionally arrested at the level of vocational fulfillment, financial success, and a stable marriage.
Self-initiation through the inner guide may lead to conscious and unconscious integration. The person learns how to handle issues of identity, love and intimacy, and finally death. However, pushing on our boundaries, we run the risk of losing our sense of identity. This is why true creativity is always associated with the genuine danger of self-destruction. By closing the gap between unconscious emotions and rational understanding of behavioral patterns, psychotherapy may facilitate healing of mental and emotional disturbances. This is ‘The Hero’s Journey’ into conscious transformation, the age-old spiritual quest.
Mystics may use information drawn from the Tree of Life, which depicts interactive elements of the psyche as well as the archetypal forces of the universe. This is a ‘ladder of consciousness,’ which each aspirant may climb toward higher mystical states. The physical basis of experience is symbolized by the bottom of the ladder, and has to do with safety and sensory impressions. From there, we move into the realm of feelings, intuition, and ideas, ultimately progressing to states of deep meditation or semiconscious day-dreaming. The goal is to contact the ‘still, small voice within,’ as it has been reported in many spiritual texts that ‘no man shall look directly upon the face of the Lord and yet remain alive.’
This is a symbolic journey from the ordinary sensory consciousness of physical life toward the psychic capacities encountered in the trance state. A type of trance is achieved in therapy, and native rituals, by interrupting ordinary awareness and creating a discontinuity, wherein the ego is temporarily overwhelmed or simply ignored. Prayer and near-death experiences may help to point the way, but it is up to the individual to tread the path. One harvests not only a knowledge of Self, but also first-hand experience in the imaginary realms, the vision of the soul if you will. We can finally put it all together as an integrated, whole person, enjoying new insights, personal freedom, and enhanced creativity.
Romantic Love & Relationships
Men in love show more activity in the visual part of the brain, while women in love show more activity in the part of the brain that governs memory. Biological scientists speculate that men have to size up a woman visually to see how well she may bear babies, while women have to observe and remember aspects of man’s behavior to determine if he would be an adequate provider. Men and women are biologically wired to express love in different ways. Women often feel loved when talking face to face with their partner, while men often feel closer to their partners when they work, play, or talk side by side. In an experiment, strangers of the opposite sex were together for 90 minutes where they talked about intimate details of their lives, and stared into each other’s eyes. Many felt a deep attraction for each other, and two couples married within six months. The longer and more deliberate a courtship, the better the prospects for a long marriage. On the other hand, people who have intense romances are more likely to divorce after a few years.
Romantic love typically lasts just over one calendar year, perhaps because the brain cannot maintain a state of romantic bliss. As romantic love dwindles, a more stable love sets in. To remain in love for a lifetime, therapists advise couples to listen actively, ask questions about feelings, and stay physically fit. Men are more likely to be flexible in their romantic choices, but when they want to marry and have kids, they become pickier about basic qualities. If a man meets a woman in a dangerous situation, such as on a trembling bridge, he is more likely to fall in love with her than if he met her in a normal setting, such as in an office. Girls are more likely to fall in love if they are looking for adventure, craving to leave home, are lonely, displaced in a foreign country, or passing into a new stage of life. Women around the world are more likely to fall in love with partners with ambition, education, wealth, respect, status, and a sense of humor. Women also prefer distinctive cheekbones and a strong jawbone, which are linked to testosterone levels.