Sacred journeys and sacrifice

Morning Solitude

Morning Solitude  
Original: Watercolor on Paper (Sold)
View Available Limited Edition Print

You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments that stand out, the moments when you have really lived, are the moments when you have done things in a spirit of love.
    - Henry Drummond, from The Greatest Thing in the World as quoted in The Heron Dance Book of Love and Gratitude

As we love ourselves, we move toward our own bliss, by which Joseph Campbell meant our highest enthusiasm. The word entheos means "god-filled." Moving towards that which fills us with the godhood, that place where time is not, is all we need to do to change the world around us. Then we, naturally and without effort, love others and allow them to move beyond their self-imposed limitations, and in their own ways. The goal is to evolve to that place where the energy that had been projected outward to correct the world is turned around to correct oneself—to get on our own track and to dance, in balance, between the worlds.
    Following your bliss, as Joseph meant it, is not self-indulgent but vital; your whole physical system knows that this is the way to be alive in this world and the way to give the world the very best that you have to offer. There is a track just waiting for each of us, and once on it, doors will open that were not open before and would not open for anyone else. Everything does start clicking along, and yes, even Mother Nature herself supports the journey.
    I have found that you do have only to take that one step toward the gods and they will then take ten steps toward you. That step, the heroic first step of the journey, is out of, or over the edge of, your boundaries, and it often must be taken before you know that you will be supported. The hero's journey has been compared to a birth; it starts out warm and snug in a safe place; then comes a signal, growing more insistent, that it is time to leave. To stay beyond your time is to putrefy. Without the blood and tearing and pain, there is no new life.

The goal of the hero's journey
is yourself, finding yourself.
    - Diane Osbon, from A Joseph Campbell Companion

Treva Mathur wrote in Lifelines, the Trees for Life newsletter, that nothing important comes without sacrifice. The more important the task, the greater the sacrifice. When I asked Balbir Mathur about that, he said that everything that is sacred requires sacrifice. Balbir and Treva founded and continue to run Trees for Life, an organization that has facilitated the planting of millions of fruit trees in rural communities in India and other countries.
    Balbir’s sacrifice can be compared to Joseph Campbell’s first step—the step toward the gods, the step out of and over your boundaries. The sacrifice at the beginning of a sacred journey is a surrender. You give up the thing or things that while important to you are less important than a really full life. You give up what stands between you and who you know you could be. You confront very real fears, and continue.

. . . . . . .

Doing things in a spirit of love
Easier said than done
A sacred journey
Requires sacrifice
A step towards the gods
A step over the edge of your boundaries
    - Roderick MacIver