Thursday, May 12, 2005

Follow your bliss

I like what Joseph Campbell has to say about how to live:

"If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are - if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.

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Now, I came to this idea of bliss because in Sanskrit, which is the great spiritual language of the world, there are three terms that represent the brink, the jumping-off place to the ocean of transcendence: sat-chit-ananda. The word "Sat" means being. "Chit" means consciousness. "Ananda" means bliss or rapture. I thought, "I don't know whether my consciousness is proper consciousness or not; I don't know whether what I know of my being is my proper being or not; but I do know where my rapture is. So let me hang on to rapture, and that will bring me both my consciousness and my being." I think it worked.

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My general formula for my students is "Follow your bliss." Find where it is, and don't be afraid to follow it."

And from an interview by Bill Moyers:

BILL MOYERS: Do you ever have the sense of... being helped by hidden hands?

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: All the time. It is miraculous. I even have a superstition that has grown on me as a result of invisible hands coming all the time - namely, that if you do follow your bliss ... you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.


I have to say I've found that this does happen: you find something you want to do, or feel you should be doing, you pursue it and suddenly doors start to open; you meet the right people, ones who can help you along or mentor you, opportunities and openings keep presenting themselves...

It's like giving a little push to a line of dominos and watching them fall smoothly into their pattern. You can't be apathetic and wait for things to happen, but a little bit of effort seems to cause a veritable avalanche of opportunities and new experiences to come your way.

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