Hello Spiritual Seekers! And welcome to another episode of Think Spiritual Podcasts.
I’m your host, Mark, and let’s just get straight into today’s topic: the second stage of the hero’s journey. Stage One was acknowledging that there is, indeed, a Call to Adventure that goes out to everyone. Now, what that call looks like within your own particular life…well, only you can know what that actually is. Your call to adventure is not my call to adventure.
That being that case, what if every call to adventure eventually leads to the same place and/or uncovering of wisdom?
Perhaps that’s an idea to explore at a later time. For now it is time to look at the most difficult and negative aspect of the Hero’s Journey: Refusal of the Call.
And why do I say it’s difficult and negative?
Well, let’s recap the initial hearing of The Call. Remember that I said that this Call or Cry to Adventure is the Angel of Life knocking on the door to your soul. She is calling you to greater and better things than you can currently imagine.
And because these things are somewhat beyond your imagination or are seemingly impossible you, at first, outright reject them as silly daydreams.
But the Angel of Life will persist. If you are capable of “silly daydreams” then perhaps you are capable of making these daydreams a reality.
And you think, “Well, that’s crazy, I can’t quit my job!” or “What would my family think!” or “My husband/wife would never allow me to do that!” or “I don’t have the skills to do that!” or “Who am I to even consider that idea?”
Need I go on? How many other excuses do I need to come up with? I know them, you know them, we all know them. We all give ourselves ten thousand reasons to not do something all the time!
Some people are born heroes. They may have some initial self-doubts and think of a few excuses, but soon…well…they fly. They don’t necessarily “believe” in themselves anymore than you or I do. They aren’t necessarily “better” at one thing or another than you or I are. What they simply have is the determination to give it a go…and possibly not as much societal programming.
Sometimes diving in can be a very foolhardy approach to take, but extreme caution is not desirable either. Taking the path of safety can actually lead to just as much danger and perhaps even moreso. Because you have to wonder: what happens if you ignore the Angel of Life for too long? What happens when the hero becomes the victim?
What happens if you stay at a job you hate for too long? What happens if you let your family decide what is best for you? What happens if you allow your spouse/partner to control every little move you make? What happens if you never increase your abilities? What happens if you keep belittling yourself and never rise to bigger and better things?
What happens is that you die. The Angel of Life flips to her ugly, alter-ego: the Angel of Death.
Yes, you, the real you begins to die little by little. Don’t tell me that you’ve never seen it. The man with no motivation who is just a shell. The woman who is beaten down and barely has a voice of her own. The boy in a man’s body who constantly complains that life has never treated him right. The woman with a string of bad relationships who blames men for all her problems. The man who can never admit to mistakes and accepts no criticism. The woman who keeps a dead child’s bedroom in pristine condition. The elderly couple who can’t stand the sight of each other, but remain married. The broken gambler, the never-sober drunkard, the junkie on the street.
Again, need I go on?
Every single person living in a situation where their true Self has been repressed and rejected and left unloved is a person who has refused the Call to Adventure time and time and time again leaving the Pretender in control of their life.
The Pretender is a mask that we all wear at some point in our lives – whether for a short or extended period of time. It is a Pseudo-Self that faces the outside world and does its best to do one thing and one thing only: survive. The Pretender will try to live a patterned existence for as long as possible and with as little conflict as possible because conflict is the one thing that the Pretender cannot tolerate. Conflict forces the Pretender to look inward and that is the most terrifying place for it to be. Looking inward means seeing your real Self locked in its prison. Looking inward means the Pretender has to die and the life it has worked so hard to build will fall to pieces.
Nothing is more frightening to the Pretender than having her life fall to pieces. It doesn’t matter if it’s a terrible life, it doesn’t matter if he is happy or sad. All that matters is that your body survives. That your world is predictable. That you stay safe.
Survival. Predictability. Safety.
Does this sound familiar to anyone?
Survival. Predictability. Safety.
I can tell you right now that those are the banner cries of both the extreme left and extreme right in human societies today.
On the extreme left there is the promise of safety by a government that will create laws and/or war to make certain that your personal sensibilities are never offended. They promise predictability by making sure that everyone adheres to a regimented system of vocabulary and correct thought. They force survival on all through equality of the masses.
On the extreme right there is the promise of safety by a government that will create laws and/or war to make certain that you never have to experience people or cultures that are different from yours. They promise predictability by making certain that everyone thinks exactly as you do. They force survival on all through labour and regimented belief in the system.
Folks, we are living in a world of Pretenders.
I apologize for getting political in this episode of Think Spiritual, but I feel that I needed to point out the extremes society can go to when the human spirit, when the Self, when the Call to Adventure is ignored and all importance is given to the Pretender.
On an individual level ignoring the Call to Adventure to the extreme allows the Angel of Death to sit on the throne of the kingdom of your soul. And when Death rules your soul and Nihilism leads her armies then sociopathic behaviour develops thus leading to suicide, murder, rape, rioting, school shootings, bombings, terrorism, fear- mongering and warmongering which leads to communist/socialist or totalitarian/theocratic governments and such a grand host of sins that…*sigh*
Now do you understand why I said this was a difficult and negative step in the Hero’s Journey? The extremes are dangerous and polarizing and we are seeing them happen before our very eyes right now.
Okay, but don’t be afraid. As I said, these are extremes and it is possible to pull yourself back from the precipices of these extremes.
I was on the brink of disaster myself at one point and only barely pulled myself back in time. Or I should say that my Self pulled me back just before I plunged over the edge. But it was close…oh so very close. I lived the life of the Pretender for a long time, but I triumphed, I won, my real Self is free.
How? Well, let’s get the Foo Fighters in on this conversation and see what they have to say in their song The Pretender. I think this particular portion sums it up well:
I’m the voice inside your head
You refuse to hear
I’m the face that you have to face
Mirrored in your stare
I’m what’s left, I’m what’s right (implying balance)
I’m the enemy
I’m the hand that will take you down
Bring you to your knees
Hell, in their music video for this song the band is even facing down a group of government police in riot gear. How much more Truth do you need?
Listen to the voice in your head. Look deeply into the mirror. You cannot wait for the Hero to come and save you. You are the hero. It is time for you to answer the Call to Adventure and begin the quest to save your Self. Face the Pretender’s nightmare and set your Self free.
Refusal of the Call is completely natural and normal for a while. If you wish to avoid the extremes and wish to avoid the Pretender you must heed the Angel of Life at some point and open the door to her. When you do, there will be Supernatural Aid waiting for you on the other side…but that…well, that is the next stage of the Hero’s Journey and will have to wait for the next Hero’s Journey episode of Think Spiritual podcasts.
*Whew* Well, I’m spent after that rant. I apologize if it seemed a little out of left field. For the last number of years I have been very frustrated with our society and with the current of extreme polarized thinking and today I channeled some of that frustration into something I truly believe in.
Sorry folks, but I know that politics will not save us, religion will not save us and God is not going to come down out of the sky and save us. You have to save your Self in order to save your world.
So, change your Self and change your world. And go listen to The Pretender by the Foo Fighters.
Thank you so much for listening. I’ll see you on the next episode of Think Spiritual podcasts.
Change your Self; change your World.