One of the many distinctions between the celebrity and the hero … is that one lives only for self while the other acts to redeem societyBill Moyer, paraphrasing Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth
How does your life influence your environment?
How does your life influence you?
How we view and engage the world influences how we influence the world.
This truth appears in the teaching of multiple religions and spiritual practices. Actually, I think it is the core of all of these practices.
The idea is that these teaching provide the personal foundation for engagement by telling you “right” from “wrong.” You are then expected to behave accordingly.
These external frameworks are often helpful. Individual interpretations of these frameworks might not be – but, as Joseph Campbell notes, there are common themes that appear throughout the religious and spiritual traditions.
- Each of us is on a Hero’s Journey – with its challenges and victories.
- Each of us has a place in the world and an expectation to serve within that world.
- Our purpose is to determine how we can best use our experience to serve.
- Love thy neighbor.
Our current environment expands the definition of “neighbor.”
It invites us to stand in different places to see differently.
“The shift from a geocentric to a heliocentric world view…seems to have removed man from the center – and the center seemed so important. Spiritually, however, the center is where sight is. Stand on a height and view the horizon. Stand on the moon and view the whole earth rising – even, by way of television, in your parlor.”Joseph Campbell, quoted by Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth
Campbell made that observation after observing the video from Apollo 11 in 1969.
50 years later, we have more options around where we wish to stand. The Internet and technology allow for new perspectives. New ways of defining “neighbor.” New options for determining what “local” means.
It is this wealth of options around where we can place our center that may be causing the anxiety and angst many of us are feeling.
It’s hard to be agile if the floor we are dancing on is unstable.
Before, it was pretty easy to know where you were dancing. There weren’t as many options.
Now, we are forced to take responsibility for developing a strong center.
We can’t rely on our institutions to provide that for us. (Please see the recent US Government partial shutdown for an example).
Where are you standing right now?
How stable is it?
Who are your current neighbors?
What does your environment look like?
What is your center?
Is it stable enough to build on?