Hello Spiritual Seekers and welcome to another episode of Think Spiritual Podcasts!
It’s me! It’s your friend Mark, here talking on a microphone, attempting to do audio and video switching on the fly and I’m reaching out to you, dear listener, and taking you once again on an intimate journey into the depths of our souls.
Well, that is my hope and my goal for each one of these talks that I do. I open up and let you know what’s going on in my head and in my heart and I hope that it resonates somewhere within you.
And I’m going to be open up here a little with you at the moment and let you know that I’m probably not in the best of moods this week and I feel like a bit of a fraud as I attempt to convey spiritual lessons. Of course, I never have said that I’m anything special and, of course, I’m not perfect and it’s impossible to live some heightened spiritual existence all the time. But this week seems like I’ve been especially dumb and have definitely not been my best Self. It seems that I have to keep learning the same lessons over and over and over again.
But I really should that take heart and not be too hard on myself, because I only have to take a look at the Hero’s Journey to understand that spiritual growth and life itself is a cycle. It does repeat. We do have to learn the same lessons more than once and sometimes we need people or certain things in our lives to teach us those lessons repeatedly.
And having teachers and mentors and special tools in our life is what part 3 of the Hero’s Journey series is all about because this is where the first steps into the Great Unknown really take place. This is where you have to open yourself up and be vulnerable and look into the unknown with fear and trembling yet still face it and enter into it...sometimes whether you want to or not...and often knowing that you can never go back once you do.
In part 1 you heard the Call to Adventure.
In part 2 you refused that Call.
Now in part 3 you have accepted the Call...or perhaps you’ve been forced to “accept” the Call and now you need some help to get going or to even know which way to turn. Maybe you’re still hesitant. Perhaps you need something to give you a push, a little bit of courage, a piece of the puzzle, or some magical sword to strap to your hip as you prepare to dive into the forest.
And as the saying goes: when you are ready, the Teacher will show up.
When you commit yourself to the Adventure, the Universe will absolutely respond and Supernatural Aid will arrive to aid you and set you on your path.
I know, I know. I can hear your confusion from here: Supernatural aid? Mark, are you saying that God is going to come to my aid?
No, don’t worry, that is not what I mean. I mean, it could be “God” or something that you deem to be “God” if that is what you need. Much like the Call to Adventure, Supernatural Aid is going to be different for everyone. My Call to Adventure is not your Call to Adventure. My Supernatural Aid is not your Supernatural Aid.
Let’s address the word “Supernatural” here. It works a little bit differently in the context of the Hero’s Journey than it does in everyday conversation. I’m going to take a moment and use Thor Odinson from the Marvel Comics Universe as an example. In the 2011 first movie of the Thor series, Thor is essentially a god. He lives in the mystical realm of Asgard. To us humans he is a Supernatural being.
But the really interesting thing to note here is that when Thor is banished from Asgard, he is sent to Earth: the “natural” realm. Thor’s Supernatural Aid, his guide, his mentor comes in the form of Jane Foster: a human woman.
The point I am trying to make here is that within the context of the Hero’s Journey, the “Supernatural” is what we could call “the Other”. It is something abnormal, something outside of our usual sphere of existence. It is something new and different.
Let me provide you with another example - something from my personal spiritual journey that I have not shared with you yet.
I grew up Evangelical Pentecostal Christian. I lived and breathed that faith for 32 years of my mortal existence. The “Supernatural” was kind of normal for me...not that I ever witnessed anything particularly supernatural or unexplainable, but the concept of the supernatural and a spiritual existence were completely normal for me. I went to church, I prayed, I believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, I believed he was coming back to Earth someday. I believed that I had an everlasting soul that would either praise God in Heaven for eternity or burn in Hell if I continued to be the awful and sinful individual that I felt I was.
And I was also a Nihilist and saw absolutely no point in living this mortal existence if we were all just waiting around to die so that we could either wind up in Heaven or Hell.
So, I lived my life as I thought I was “supposed to”, not as I actually wanted to live it...not that I even knew how I wanted to live it. I really had no sense of “self” at all as my Ego was entirely living according to everyone else’s expectations.
This could be a very long-winded explanation if I get into all the details and you would probably still be left with a lot of questions so, Hero’s Journey time: what I just described to you was my “normal world” and my Call to Adventure was to leave Christianity behind and go out into “The World”.
I Refused the Call for many, many years and eventually the Angel of Life had enough. She flipped to the Angel of Death and ultimately caused some really terrible things to happen...things that made me “wake up” and see my life for the awful, stagnant, death and decaying thing that it was.
So, I finally answered the Call. I didn’t fully decide to leave Christianity (yet), but I did decide that I was going to stop praying for God to “save me” and I went to a therapist and a doctor for help.
I went to a therapist who said to me, “I can’t help you with your spiritual problems, but I can help you with learning to deal with your emotions.”
I went to a doctor who did some blood-work and then gave me a 3 month testosterone supplement.
Both of these men were my Supernatural Aid. Both of these men were from the “other”. They were outside of my normal existence and my usual patterns of behaviour. They were mentors that pointed me down a new path and they both provided me with “magic talismans” to help me along the way.
The testosterone boost normaled out my hormones and provided me with the first depression-free months of my life since my early teens. It also gave me the courage I needed to stand up for myself and see how people were really using and abusing me. It helped me to create healthy boundaries within my relationships and ultimately to see that my toxic marriage had to end.
The talk-therapy helped me learn to deal with my emotions and ultimately made me face my real Self and decide who I was, what I really believed, and what I wanted out of life.
These Supernatural Aids helped me decide that I would no longer live my life for other people. It was mine to live as I saw fit.
As I’ve said numerous times, I have mostly created Think Spiritual Podcasts for myself. I figured that the best way to move forward on my own Spiritual Journey was to talk about it. I had the idea that if I talk about the Hero’s Journey that I would learn more about it: and, guess what? I was right. I learned something amazing as I wrote this episode.
As I wrote this particular episode, I wanted to continue a trend from the previous two Hero’s Journey episodes. I wanted to make certain that I had a song to emphasize this particular stage of the Journey. The last two used Whiteheart’s The Cry and The Foo Fighters The Pretender respectively and I kind of found and added those songs by pure inspiration and in a relatively quick process.
Not so with this part of the Hero’s Journey. Finding songs that even hint at the idea of Supernatural Aid was not easy at all. I spent four hours running through dozens of songs that I find very meaningful and not one of them fit this topic.
And then I found a song in the most surprising place and from the most surprising person...someone I have heard on the radio for decades, but never paid the slightest attention to. If I had known her lyrics were so deep, would I have listened to her a long time ago?
Perhaps not since the right time to hear her was now. Again, when the Seeker is ready, the Teacher will be there. I found this song and I learned something incredibly, amazingly important: sometimes we don’t even recognize our Supernatural Aid until it’s long behind us.
This entire song is so important to really hear and I hope you have a listen to it when this episode is over. Every bit of the lyrics is fantastic, but here are a few of my favourite lines:
“How ‘bout me not blaming you for everything,
How ‘bout me enjoying the moment for once,
How ‘bout how good it feels to finally forgive you,
How 'bout no longer being masochistic,
How 'bout remembering your divinity,
How 'bout unabashedly bawling your eyes out,
How 'bout not equating death with stopping,
Thank you terror
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you frailty
Thank you consequence
Thank you providence
Thank you nothingness
Thank you clarity
Thank you thank you silence.”
Well, I guess I just read a good two-thirds of the song and in case you still don’t know the name of the song, it is Alanis Morissette’s Thank U from way back in 1995.
Until I really heard this song in this context and at this time and actually read the lyrics I didn’t have any positive nor negative feelings about Alanis Morissette or her music. And now...well...this metal-head is going to have to consider himself an Alanis fan.
As I said, what I learned from Alanis’s song is that Supernatural Aid is coming to us at all times, but sometimes it isn’t obvious, it may not be pretty, and we may not like it at all...I think I may have even experienced a little of it this week. But if we choose...and that’s the word of the day “choose”...if we choose to learn from our terror, from our disillusionment, from our frailty, from our consequences, from the silence...again, if we choose to learn from these things, then we will gain great wisdom, peace, understanding, courage, insight...whatever you want to gain, you will get...if you choose to.
And what did I learn as I listened to Alanis’s Thank U? I wondered: Can I thank my church upbringing for my pain and suffering? Can I thank my ex-wife for our terrible marriage?
Because without those two, awful things in my life I would not be who or what or where I am today.
So, I think I can thank those difficult things in my life for being there when they were and for doing what they did. And I think if you examine and thank your past and look at what is being given to you now that you may find your Supernatural Aid is closer at hand than you may realize.
And you need that Supernatural Aid. You need a mentor or mentors and you need some powerful talismans, because you are about the Cross the First Threshold into the unknown and the normal rules and patterns of your life are about to fly out the window.
But, once again, that step of the Hero’s Journey will have to wait for the next Hero’s Journey episode of Think Spiritual Podcasts.
I have been your host, Mark, this has been Part 3 of the Hero’s Journey series of Think Spiritual Podcasts, and I know that if you choose to pick up the magic sword given to you by your mentor and begin the quest to slay the dragons within your Self, that you absolutely will change your world for the better.
I’ll see you on the next episode of Think Spiritual Podcasts.
Change your Self; change your World.