Bliss, etc.

Joseph Campbell formulated what became his most quoted dictum, "Follow your bliss" in the decade before his death. Join this conversation to explore this idea and share stories.

Moderators: Clemsy, Martin_Weyers, Cindy B.

Locked
CarmelaBear
Associate
Posts: 4087
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 3:51 pm
Location: The Land of Enchantment

Post by CarmelaBear » Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:27 pm

JamesN. wrote:Hey gang.

Here is a link to a David Kudler clip from his " The Job " video that approaches the nebulousness of this subject rather well I think. There are several ways to go at this; but concerning Andreas's question this is probably a good place to start. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKtZrJOyW9k
I needed to see Kudler and Moyers and Campbell, and hear the words afresh.

8)
CarmelaBear
Associate
Posts: 4087
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 3:51 pm
Location: The Land of Enchantment

Post by CarmelaBear » Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:30 pm

I'll get back to you on that site, Zoe......I'm in the moment here.

8)
CarmelaBear
Associate
Posts: 4087
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 3:51 pm
Location: The Land of Enchantment

Post by CarmelaBear » Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:56 pm

Andreas wrote:It is indeed. :)

I am talking about the other kind of bliss though that has to do with my calling as in career or something like that.

Suddenly the concept of bliss became complicated, lol!
There are sparks that light the way for this extraordinary journey that is life. Some of them feel like a right to which I am entitled. Others feel like the natural consequences of living. Still others feel like profound privilege and grace bestowed from a mysterious place far beyond the mundane.

I'm not sure that the word "career" applies to folks like me. I serve others and the assistance I provide has recently changed.

In terms of work and career, I acquired non-monetary "wealth", enjoy mental travels all over the globe without leaving my hometown, and I feel most appreciated here at the JCF conversations.

8) :!:
JamesN.
Associate
Posts: 2187
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:46 am
Location: Nashville, Tn.

Post by JamesN. » Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:15 pm

Andreas wrote:Thanks James. I need to watch POM again. :)
Andreas I hope that is helpful.

I would also recommend watching the video documentary on Joseph Campbell: " The Hero's Journey " - A Biographical Portrait; although you may have already seen it.

Your question brings up an interesting distinction and dimension of this topic that I think sometimes often gets overlooked; namely that of confusing Bliss with " The Monomyth "; " The Quest "; " The Call to Adventure "; or " The Journey " itself. Joseph Campbell addresses what these ideas are in " Power of Myth " when he talks about how the different manifestations or forms of this realization can take place within one's experience.

( Now of course because individuals are all different and unique; and an individual's understanding concerning one's own opinion is going to be subjective with this topic; we can probably assume some latitude of interpretation. That I think is a given here. :wink: ) That said; one of the ways he mentions about finding out what your " personal myth " is would be being thrown into the ( adventure ); " following the deer into the woods " and getting lost with the adventure beginning there. While another would be an actual intentional seeking out of the Journey itself; ( Telemachus - " go find your father " or the " Atonement " version. And in this sense the ( personal myth ) is the vehicle by which an individual would find or discover within their own individual experience what their " Bliss " is. And one of the problems concerning this process of finding one's Bliss is for many people in various cultural situations the identity of an individual as projected within the confine of one's ( job description ). This may not be an accurate assessment of a personal myth at all. Also the understanding of the relationship of what " Tat Tvam Asi " - Thou Art That " means and how it relates within this dynamic.

So I would suggest that the interrelationship of these concepts has just as much to do within this process of finding and identifying one's Bliss as the realization itself.

I would definitely recommend reading: " Pathways to Bliss " in which certain chapters seem to identify many of these understandings as more of a total process as opposed to separate concepts. This is not a new definition; just the same material presented in a more accessible way; ( at least to me :wink: ).

I would also offer that the notion of " finding one's bliss " may also depend on one's life stage and that these questions may be pursued from a different view as to personal relevance as well as the meaning itself. ( Each life stage has different outlooks; and the questions asked may vary as well. )

This is my take on Bliss; so I hope it's not too muddled. Other folks may have something else to add.


Cheers :)


Carmela:
In terms of work and career, I acquired non-monetary "wealth", enjoy mental travels all over the globe without leaving my hometown, and I feel most appreciated here at the JCF conversations.
Indeed Carmela; you certainly are! :)
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
Andreas
Associate
Posts: 2274
Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2009 6:07 am

Post by Andreas » Tue Sep 03, 2013 6:26 am

James thank you very much for the post. Very illuminating and you are indeed on to something. This whole bliss business is so complicated that I don't know where to begin. Let me think of it a bit more and get back. In the meantime if others have some insight they can chime in.
“To live is enough.” ― Shunryu Suzuki
Ercan2121
Associate
Posts: 824
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 2:15 am
Location: Istanbul

Re: Bliss, etc.

Post by Ercan2121 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:58 am

CarmelaBear wrote: What's bliss again?!! I forget.
Carmela,
I thought a little and decided that bliss is somewhat related to
my sense of freedom (thinking-feeling-acting freely) even when there's
a price to be paid :idea:

And isn't there a price to pay anytime we say no to the system and all
its 'requirements' ? (in Campbell's own words) :evil:

So, in this respect, following one's bliss can even turn to a matter
of determination :oops:
CarmelaBear
Associate
Posts: 4087
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 3:51 pm
Location: The Land of Enchantment

Re: Bliss, etc.

Post by CarmelaBear » Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:49 pm

Ercan2121 wrote:
CarmelaBear wrote: What's bliss again?!! I forget.
Carmela,
I thought a little and decided that bliss is somewhat related to
my sense of freedom (thinking-feeling-acting freely) even when there's
a price to be paid :idea:

And isn't there a price to pay anytime we say no to the system and all
its 'requirements' ? (in Campbell's own words) :evil:

So, in this respect, following one's bliss can even turn to a matter
of determination :oops:
Yes! Yes! Yes!

I was recalling two particular periods in my life when I experienced a sort of grief over the loss of something that, at that time, meant a great deal to me. I used to be Catholic, and I used to think that attending a Catholic school was terribly, dreadfully important to me. Not being able to attend the school of my dreams happened before I realized that my faith in the church was going away, away, away.

In a similar way, I am a member of the Democratic Party and an American who has harbored dreams of public office. Not being able to participate in politics is like the dream of attending Catholic school. It is happening before I am in full realization that my faith in the political system and the nation-state is going away, away, away.

Until there was something else, public school, I felt pretty lost. I remember how difficult it was to transcend that moment and to think in proactive terms, precisely because it felt as though ANY alternative would have to be a kind of failure, a terrible loss, a step down from what I thought was something terribly, dreadfully important.

I remember feeling left out of something that seemed valuable.

That's how I've been feeling lately, and for that matter, how I feel every time there is a national election for president.......since my admission to Harvard, which.....silly me......I took to be the ticket to equality and achievement and recognition in America.

Of course, when I went to Harvard, I did not know that poverty was a lifelong condition from which I would never escape. I did not know that I would be punished for the rest of my life for having a boyfriend capable of violence against me (Gloria Steinem, herself, implies that the choice of a partner is related to whether women become victims, as if we unconsciously set ourselves up......pisses me off so badly that I just want to throw her a big ol' fat finger). When I went to Harvard, (a pivotal moment in my personal myth), I did not know that I am a blood Native who is universally recognized as somehow an Outsider Victim.

I did not know that Harvard was not a commencement. It was a consolation prize for persistence in the face of futility.

There is a wide and wonderful world out there. Government is not the end-all and be-all of living in community. I have lost nothing. Doors are opening, and I have everything worth having. I am not a victim. I did not just survive. I am thriving. The potential is very real.

I remember realizing that I would never be taller than I am. There is no myth of upward mobility in that department. Mr. Tall Man, Abraham Lincoln, did not put much stock in height. He said you have to be tall enough to have your feet on the floor.

I am in a stage of life that requires a different set of adaptations. Something I have never encountered before. This disorientation, this newness, this shock is the same one I had when I was facing having to be weaned from breast feeding. It bloody never ends. There's always something. Someday, I may have to actually grow up and drink from a bottle. (Red wine will do.)

~

Bliss? There is Catholic bliss and there is recovering Catholic bliss. They are decidedly different.

There is American Dream bliss and there is the knowledge that no other place will have me. America is primitive and ignorant and amazingly backward. I am stuck here. People here are into Judeo-Christian dogma, and it is impossible to enlighten people whose only focus is a male warrior God-centered fantasy that hates and punishes and demonizes people. God's American achievers target those they view as dangerous outsiders. They use every available resource to do awful things and to leave people and the planet out in the elements, without shelter from harm. Even Black Obama is one of Them. He is smart until he isn't, and then he goes into warrior mode, and he may be starting another one in Syria. Crazy country.

Bliss......if there is a way to achieve anything, anything of significance.......if there is a way to do it effectively and enjoy the journey.......it is a determination to see things more clearly and do things that are good and lasting and.....well, fun.

Before I discovered the new wonders, the old losses created challenges that had to be overcome in order to move on to the next step, and the next step.

The steps are getting fewer. I am facing a kind of terror with aging.

For me, bliss begins with Campbell ideas and this forum. This is thinking. This is writing. This is publishing. This is intelligent, caring feedback. Is it going nowhere, and is it being buried in all the noise? I don't know. What I know for sure is that it exists and it works for me. It is an interest that makes sense no matter what happens. I just ramble on, and nobody says they mind. If they do, they don't say so.

This Blah-Blah-Blah I do here is a key to my little heaven.

Everything must be okay. I will keep on going. If I don't understand it, at least I feel it.

Thank you James, Cindy, Clemsy, Ercan, Ron, Andreas, everyone. You are my main buddies on the air. My campaign is to get out of the forest of my dreams and into the light of the real life I am living.

Does any of this make sense?

:arrow:
JamesN.
Associate
Posts: 2187
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:46 am
Location: Nashville, Tn.

Post by JamesN. » Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:25 am

Carmela:
My campaign is to get out of the forest of my dreams and into the light of the real life I am living.

Does any of this make sense?


Carmela; yes it makes sense.

Cindy B. wrote::)

I just want you to know that you're not alone with all this, or, as it can seem, that you're not the only one who has to factor in this sort of recurrent emotional life. It's not the easiest path to find oneself on, for sure.

And:


Cindy:
I cycle through such periods, too, Carmela, so I do have some sense of what your living this way must be like. Two ideas I hold onto during slow or down periods--that this, too, shall pass, and it always does, so patience, and that from the perspective of individuation, in some way I'll be better off for the self-reflection that such periods always elicits. Maybe these ideas will somehow help you, too. My best to you. :)
And:


Clemsy:
Carmela, this is the very definition of the hero journey. :)

If I am understanding you correctly; I think it is very important to emphasize here that there is often a distorted societal image that is constantly re-enforced and projected through the media that a hero is ( always ) brave, certain and confident in their conviction, without doubts, without fear, and that image is always presented between a definable and clear cut right and wrong. ( In short many times an illusion. :roll: ) And part of my sense of what Joseph Campbell's themes address are for " human beings " with all their doubts, fears, and uncertainties trying to navigate their lives the best way they know how. And also that part of the " journey " of the hero is through the dark forrest where these aspects of life reside. ( A place that is difficult for us all to venture into. )

And indeed perhaps what much of the hero's journey is all about has to do with the individual who takes up the quest of trying to find the " Holy Grail " of their own life; not just the glorified media image portrayed of fighting demons and villains, and rescuing helpless victims. And perhaps it is here that many of the answers to the questions we are seeking lay waiting for us to discover. ( That's my sense of this anyway. )

I can't speak for anyone else; but I suspect that we all have these moments where we feel uncertain. Maybe it's in reaching out to others though that we really and truly begin to find ourselves.


Carmela just know that you are not alone here; and that you are not the only one who struggles with these kinds of issues.


I hope this is helpful. :)
Last edited by JamesN. on Wed Sep 04, 2013 2:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
CarmelaBear
Associate
Posts: 4087
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 3:51 pm
Location: The Land of Enchantment

Post by CarmelaBear » Wed Sep 04, 2013 2:17 am

I hear you, James.

I know that I am not alone, and that is a comfort.

The question lately is:

Who the hell am I, anyway? What was all the fuss about?

It just seems like I am not connected to the Big Picture, whatever that is.

It is a dilemma that only hits me between the eyes when uncertainty comes for a visit and stays and gives me the heeby jeebies.

~
User avatar
romansh
Associate
Posts: 2277
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:25 am
Location: In the woods, BC, near US border
Contact:

Post by romansh » Wed Sep 04, 2013 2:57 am

CarmelaBear wrote: The question lately is:
Who the hell am I, anyway? What was all the fuss about?
It just seems like I am not connected to the Big Picture, whatever that is.

~
It's funny - like I said before - when I look into myself, I see the universe staring back at me.
"That's right!" shouted Vroomfondel, "we demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!"
JamesN.
Associate
Posts: 2187
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:46 am
Location: Nashville, Tn.

Post by JamesN. » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:03 am

Carmela:
The question lately is:

Who the hell am I, anyway?
Carmela;

If I may suggest; these conversations we have been having on threads like this and " Jung in the Weeds " are addressing some of these issues. However this is not always easy material to navigate and sort through; ( for anyone :roll: ). But with that said here is where the work and effort really begins; ( at least for me ). It takes a lot of patience, time, and thoughtful reflection. Listening to things deep inside yourself and trying to understand what they mean and what they have to reveal to yourself about who you are. ( This Jungian process of " individuation " if I understand correctly; is about part of what Joseph Campbell's themes point toward in the later half of life. )

Two books that have been very helpful with this for me for starters have been Diane Osbon's " Reflections on the Art of Living - A Joseph Campbell Companion " and " Pathways to Bliss ". Cindy's ( Jung in the Weeds ) has more than enough material to keep anyone busy for a very long time. For me this is where much of the resources and important reference material concerning these understandings is located and about all I can handle right now as I struggle through my own forrest in my journey. ( Not a frolic in the meadow; but these have been very helpful for me as I struggle through. If you are looking for a good place to start; this would be my suggestion; but that's up to you. )

I might suggest something else that may be helpful; ( at least it has been for me ). Go back over some of the things you have written here; things that were meaningful to you. I am no professional therapist on this but some of your personal writings may have some clues for you that may have some benefit. One last thing that I might add that has probably helped me the most is working on learning ( " how " to listen ). And I'm still trying to get better at that one.

Cheers :)
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
JamesN.
Associate
Posts: 2187
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:46 am
Location: Nashville, Tn.

Post by JamesN. » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:26 am

Rom; Crossing posts is always an interesting surprise. :lol:

Sorry folks but it is late. I'm not so sharp and losing steam here. I have to work in the morning so I'll bid everyone a good evening. :)

Cheers
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
Andreas
Associate
Posts: 2274
Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2009 6:07 am

Post by Andreas » Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:54 am

Everything must be okay. I will keep on going. If I don't understand it, at least I feel it. - Carmela
You know there is so much effort trying to understand or achieve a goal that in the process we forget what the adventure is supposed to evoke in us. I am not saying anything new ofcourse.

I highly recommend Pixar's Up. It is a great story.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1049413/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

It helped me understand what this is all about. The adventure does become a nightmare until we understand what in life is most valuable and that is life itself. And that needs heart. Not an easy adventure. I know. But this is why stories are so important especially in this fast pace age we are living in.

And together with this there is this James Hillman interview which changes the notion of the adventure a bit.

http://www.scottlondon.com/interviews/hillman.html
London: What about the idea that we are self-made, that since life is an accident we have the freedom to make ourselves into anything we want?

Hillman: Yes, we worship the idea of the "self-made man" — otherwise we'd go on strike against Bill Gates having all that money! We worship that idea. We vote for Perot. We think he's a great, marvelous, honest man. We send money to his campaign, even though he is one of the richest capitalists in our culture. Imagine, sending money to Perot! It's unbelievable, yet it's part of that worship of individuality.
....
London: In our culture we tend to think of calling in terms of "vocation" or "career."

Hillman: Yes, but calling can refer not only to ways of doing — meaning work — but also to ways of being. Take being a friend. Goethe said that his friend Eckermann was born for friendship. Aristotle made friendship one of the great virtues. In his book on ethics, three or four chapters are on friendship. In the past, friendship was a huge thing. But it's hard for us to think of friendship as a calling, because it's not a vocation.
Anyways. :)
“To live is enough.” ― Shunryu Suzuki
JamesN.
Associate
Posts: 2187
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:46 am
Location: Nashville, Tn.

Post by JamesN. » Wed Sep 04, 2013 2:50 pm

Hey Andreas.

Some nice things you have brought up in this post. How we view the life process, the adventure we undertake, the understanding of the role of friendship, how we perceive work, doing, being, vocation and it's calling among others as components of a larger mosaic. ( Indeed living itself is a complicated undertaking that we human beings are asked to address anyway; no? :roll: )

All in all a great piece by Hillman that I had to read hurriedly while getting ready for work. But here is something in it that I'm not sure about so therein may lie the possibilty of a misinterpretation. I'll give it another read through later when I have more time.

Thanks Andreas. 8)

Addendum: I revised some of this post because I just didn't think my earlier impressions of Hillman's piece were correct. ( Note to self ); I should probably wait till later before jumping to any conclusions. :wink:
Last edited by JamesN. on Wed Sep 04, 2013 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
CarmelaBear
Associate
Posts: 4087
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 3:51 pm
Location: The Land of Enchantment

Post by CarmelaBear » Wed Sep 04, 2013 5:06 pm

romansh wrote:
CarmelaBear wrote: The question lately is:
Who the hell am I, anyway? What was all the fuss about?
It just seems like I am not connected to the Big Picture, whatever that is.

~
It's funny - like I said before - when I look into myself, I see the universe staring back at me.
My universe is overweight.

~
Locked