Master of Two Worlds: Step 16 of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey

http://thinkspiritual.ca/podcastEpisodes/hj16_master.mp3

To put it mildly, these last few weeks have been interesting and this week has been tragic for many people in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. I would like to comment on that event, but the perpetrator’s motive has not been clarified. I believe I know what his motive was, but I won’t surmise further until the details are released.

As I record this episode, we are entering week 9 of the COVID-19 crisis in Canada and, strangely enough, I’m personally more at peace than I’ve been at any other point in my life. I feel for those who are going through a more difficult time and not at peace and I don’t mean to make less of their experience.

But for me this has been a time of outward reflection and putting effort and work into my physical existence. I’ve been seeing this pandemic as an opportunity to get my life in order even though it seems that so much of the rest of the world has been thrown into disorder.

Disorder is good. It creates change. Disorder is necessary. Without Villains and Bystanders, there are no Heroes.

Disorder is what sent you on your Hero’s Journey in the first place and creating order out of that disorder has been the ultimate goal of your quest.

Yes, I know that there was an Ultimate Boon and a number of other trophies achieved along the way, but the truest and best gift is the one we create for our Self.

And to do that, we have to aim to be our highest Self. We have to become a Master of Two Worlds.

[intro]

Hello, Spiritual Seekers, and welcome to a brand new Hero’s Journey episode of Think Spiritual Podcasts. As always, I’m your host, Mark, and we are getting closer and closer to the end of this Hero’s Journey series. Today is step sixteen of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey: Master of Two Worlds.

On this Return stage of our Hero’s Journey, we have chosen to return to our Normal Existence and taken a Magic Flight. We’ve had a little Rescue from Without and we’ve Crossed the Return Threshold. And now we are at what is a very interesting and unique step of the Journey.

I’ve often said that many of our Hero’s Journey steps can be shifted around and may take place in a different order than how they are presented in Joseph Campbell’s work and throughout this series. The order of presentation is the average procedural order seen in myths and stories.

What makes Master of Two Worlds unique is that this step can be outright skipped. It’s very possible that it may not be your time to become your best and highest self. You may have a lot more work to do and will very likely have to dive into another Hero’s Journey and another and another and another until being that Master of Two Worlds is achieved.

But what Two Worlds are we talking about here? What are these Worlds that we’re supposed to be Masters of?

Well, these are the dualistic natures I regularly talk about on Think Spiritual Podcasts. The Physical World or the World of the Body and the Emotional World or the World of the Spirit.

Well, that’s what I call them. You can term them however you think best.

The World of the Body deals with all things physical and logical and rational and instinctual while the World of the Spirit deals with all things of the soul, the mind and the emotions.

The Body is Land. The Spirit is Sea.

The Body is Psyche. The Spirit is Eros.

The Body survives. The Spirit creates.

The Body sees black and white. The Spirit dances in colour.

The Departure and Initiation stages of the Hero’s Journey take us down into the World of the Spirit where we learn to deal with our emotions and work through our trauma and discover who we truly are.

During this Return stage of the Journey we come back up to the World of the Body and bring with us all of the lessons we’ve learned and the gifts we’ve earned from the World of the Spirit.

And we spend a lifetime learning to integrate those lessons and gifts into our physical existence. It’s not an easy task to accomplish and it’s not only one task – it’s many – and we often fail and we often get up and continue along our next Hero’s Journey on our road to Mastery.

However, there is something very important to understand about being a Master of Two Worlds and it’s something that I brought up in the last episode.

In Crossing the Return Threshold I said that in real life there is no Threshold, there is only you.

And this sentiment carries on into this Master of Two Worlds episode: as Queen Atlanna said in 2018’s Aquaman, “The Land and the Sea are One,” and so it is with you. You are not two. You are one.

Queen Atlanna, by the way, was very much a Master of Two Worlds. We’ll study her and many other strong women characters in future episodes of Think Spiritual Podcasts.

But, back on point: you are the World of the Body and you are the World of the Spirit all rolled into one. The Yin and Yang are not separate – the two parts make a whole – and this is what being the Master of Two Worlds is. It’s not about perfection nor about conquering the Two Worlds: doing that would be only using the World of the Body to dominate the World of the Spirit – it’s what we see manifested in most people in our performance-driven societies.

Being the Master of Two Worlds is about living in and learning to balance the Two Worlds. It’s about taking the best traits and gifts of each and using them to shore up and make the other stronger.

Are you getting a glimpse of what I’m really talking about here?

Achieving true Mastery of the Body and the Spirit is essentially what we could term as enlightenment. Now, that’s a subject I don’t really want to dive into in this episode as it’s a pretty broad and somewhat controversial subject. There are a lot of things that enlightenment may or may not be and everybody’s definition of it may be somewhat different.

However, my personal definition of enlightenment swings very close to what I consider as a true Master of Two Worlds. It’s the attainment of one’s best and highest Self. It means that you are currently at your pinnacle of your personal growth without meaning that you can’t grow further or reach higher levels of being.

I believe that if the Buddha achieved true enlightenment, he most likely still wasn’t “done”. If you don’t think he struggled and sweat and had some supremely “unenlightened” moments, I think you’re fooling yourself and setting up an impossible benchmark.

And all of this surmising and hypothesizing is why I say that this Master of Two Worlds step of the Hero’s Journey can be skipped completely at certain times in our life. We won’t be ready to fully integrate the Two Worlds of our being until we learn specific lessons or attain certain skills. Maybe we have to wait until we reach a certain age or level of maturity.

But if we persist and insist to always be our own Hero, then someday we will attain our Highest Self and be that Master of Two Worlds. Your body and your spirit will come into alignment and you will be truly whole.

However, whether Mastery of the Two Worlds is skipped or attained, every Hero’s Journey must come to its end and at the end there is always a time of peace and Freedom to Live.

But that, my Dear Listeners, will have to wait until the next Hero’s Journey episode of Think Spiritual Podcasts.

Thank you for listening and/or watching today. Please like, share, comment, criticize and subscribe if you enjoy this series.

I have been your host, Mark, this has been a talk about step 16 of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey: Master of Two Worlds and I know that if you work towards integrating the World of your Body and the World of your Spirit into one best version of you – well, that is changing yourself and it won’t change only your world because you may become compelled to teach what you’ve learned to others – which will very likely change their worlds as well.

You have all the weapons and knowledge you need within you. I will see you on the next episode of Think Spiritual Podcasts.

Posted in Podcast, The Hero's Journey.

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