Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Dragons in the Garden of Bliss

December 15, 2018
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In his 2016 lecture Mythological Elements of the Life Story — and Initiation (at 58:39) Jordan Peterson speaks about the path of initiation, and more generally about improving oneself and growing up in life, and he cautions, “it’s not follow your bliss”.

This is a direct counter to another modern champion of mythology and archetypes, Joseph Campbell. From Campbell one can get the impression that if only we would “follow our bliss”, our life journey would be a fun and exciting process, a garden of delights. In other words, we’d be pursuing what inspires us, doing work that we naturally enjoy working hard at, and experiencing more aliveness and engagement in our daily life. It makes a lot of sense. So why isn’t everybody doing this?

Because, from an archetypal perspective, says Peterson, there are dragons.

There are many dragons which we dare not confront, and which confine our life to a small territory. Dragons that can devour us if we get too close. And they are not a metaphor for external obstacles. They are that which lurk within and obstruct our way. External obstacles, by contrast, merely awaken the dragons inside us. And we’re full of them. We’re full of dragons which dictate our lives, but quietly… so long as we keep a low profile. However, we become ever more viscerally aware of them when we dare to venture out of our comfortable world, toward whatever new territory our “bliss” is calling us into. And the “virgin” the dragon guards (virgin territory) will never be ours until we defeat it.

Maybe defeat isn’t the best word. Perhaps it’s more appropriate to say, as Jung might suggest, that our task is to integrate them. This makes sense. In order to have access to the whole new realm of possibilities that was guarded by the dragon, we ourselves must have a whole new way of being. That way of being is exactly what the dragon is, albeit in a repressed and pathological form. Put another way, dragons are the shadow of virtue that we have failed to realize in ourselves.

Sometimes the dragon wins. When that happens, we become the dragon, or a slave to it. We lose our identity to it (fear, addiction, lust, pride, etc.). Usually, however, we try to avoid our dragons. In which case, they will still dominates us from afar, limiting us to our small world, while also emerging from time to time to wreak havoc and remind us of their presence. But every dragon that we successfully face down is assimilated into us. Then, as part of us (and not the other way around), we become master of all its strength and territory.

Back to the typical strategy of avoidance. In general, most people can manage to get through life without facing their dragons. It’s not a great life, and yet we tolerate it. But how many unrealized dreams have perished in this manner? The earth is littered with the bones of those who never activated the bold daring visions lying dormant within; those who spent a life circling their dreams from a distance, “orbiting their bliss” perhaps, but never fully actualizing it. The dragons live unconquered, and the treasures of possibility lie unclaimed at their feet.

“Follow your bliss”, seen from this perspective, appears to be the advice of a trickster, taking us down a primrose path straight into the dark dragon filled cave of the unconscious; the underworld of our own shadow. Who knows what we’ll encounter as we venture forward into the darkness of the unknown, towards the hope of treasure? The ominous unstated requirement of “follow your bliss” is “conquer your dragons”. Because it will involve great challenge, difficulty, and fear. As it must. It has to be all these things in order to wake us up to our full potential, to make it a true hero’s journey, to transform our being, and to make the treasure real and meaningful.

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two for one

August 25, 2014

If everybody likes you, you’re doing something wrong. Whereas, the more we allow ourselves to express who we are, the more we become a lightning rod for the frustrations of negative individuals.

Furthermore, if we can experience this rejection without returning it, we leave the other person in a true dilemma. Whether to face their guilt or deny it. 

Theory #9

January 24, 2013

One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is to be totally open to our feelings. To have the courage to experience any emotion without rejecting it. No matter how negative or traumatic it is. Especially when it’s about ourselves.

Theory #6

November 14, 2012

We are fundamentally irrational beings.  All of our logic has its roots in emotions, and never vice versa.  Everything exists in feeling.  Logic is a tool that can be used for guidance, for self-defense, attack, and as an escape.

As a great man once said: “you can be subjectively objective, but not objectively subjective.”

Theory #5

October 26, 2012

To be non-judgmental is impossible.  Our goal should always be to judge better.  To see everything for its true value.

Be Self-Centered: needs and barriers part 2

August 23, 2011

There is ultimately only one way to address our internal emptiness and the emotional neediness, insecurities and barriers they create. We have to develop the ability to be good to ourselves. This gives us the strength and courage to break out from being dependent on others, to face our negative emotions, and to start moving our lives in a positive direction.

Furthermore, we have to be good to ourselves for nobody else but ourselves, becoming totally self-centered. To do otherwise is selfish. Selfishly attempting to influence the external world. Controlling and manipulating others to please us. Or, controlling and manipulating ourselves to please others. What’s the difference?

Is it selfless and commendable to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of others? By striving to please others we do all sorts of things that leave us more and more frustrated, stressed, and emotionally drained.

We pretend to be someone we’re not, acting how we think people want, taking on extra work, and doing things we don’t enjoy. Gradually forsaking our true self, even to the point of giving up on our wants and dreams. And for what? Fools gold.

By not giving to and fulfilling ourselves, we foster a need to seek fulfillment externally. Usually centered around the approval of others… and money, drugs, work, food (insert your coping mechanism here). We’re addicted to it.

Look at how much time and energy we put into things like social media, how we dress, or even dedicating years toward an education or job that we don’t really care for. The difference between us is only in who we’re trying to impress (parents, peers, potential mates, all of the above, etc.) and the extent we’re willing to go.

But if these people cared about us, then they would want us to pursue what was genuinely positive and fulfilling for us. And deep down, that’s what we all want for each other.

Why let the superficial attachments of others, born of their own needs and insecurities, make us miserable? Few would disagree that we should always pursue our dreams and strive to be more self-fulfilled.

Here’s the snag. Our true feelings and desires (which are real and positive) are often hidden. They are buried deep within us, covered up by the garbage we’ve bought into about who and what we are supposed to be (ideas we got by trying to please the external world). So even as we try to do what’s best for us, it ain’t necessarily so.

Nothing we do is good unless the motivation behind it is good. No matter how difficult some of our accomplishments may be (extreme exercise, years of advanced schooling, even “spiritual” things like serving on missions), chances are that we’re still secretly looking for that fix from the outside (approval, money, etc.).

The more difficult the accomplishments, the more we can rationalize how great we are. If we don’t feel great, well… that’s just negative thinking. Of course we feel great! We have to right? I mean, look at all the hard work and wonderful things we’ve done! But unfortunately we’re still playing the game of barriers, performing to get the results we think we want.

And what is the result? We truly reap what we sow, because the reward for external pursuits is external returns. Some form of external recognition. We can’t seem to impress ourselves, but we sure can impress others.

Which may seem exciting at first, but it’s like a picture of food for the starving. Unfulfilling. No good in the real world of our emotions. And the better we are at getting that reward, the more empty it all feels.

What then? Maybe we should be good to ourselves by accepting who and what we are, instead of trying to conform to some unrealistic idea of how we’re supposed to be. Without a doubt.

As long as it doesn’t leave us mired in complacency, “accepting” who we are to the point of making no effort at self-improvement. Sanctifying our less than good qualities with a “that’s just how I am.”

We probably don’t realize when we’re doing it, because it sounds positive to “accept oneself.” It is. But when that includes our unreal garbage, we end up rejecting the true self, and excluding happiness. Giving up on the hope of a truly fulfilling life, and instead waiting/seeking for something external to do it for us.

And self-acceptance takes more than some affirmations and good intentions. It is not being cheerful. It is not being comfortable. Your garbage will knock you down and drag you through the mud, over and over again. It’s a battle.

We have to fight with ourselves, for ourselves. Being determined to resolve the junk that is blocking us from experiencing our real self. Then, only as we come in touch with our real self can we begin to enjoy the peace of self-acceptance.

Sound easy? Remember, no matter what we do, whether it’s an attempt at self-improvement or accepting who we are, it always runs the risk of being yet another barrier, where we’re really just acting out the way we think we ought to be.

So how do we know? How do we navigate through all this to a positive path that is genuinely fulfilling?  

Theory #2

April 22, 2011

Truth cannot be written.  Any idea, no matter the source, is nothing but a theory to an individual until it is lived, experienced, and felt for its true meaning.