Sunday, January 9, 2011

Following Your Bliss

Earlier this week, my wife and I plugged in a DVD set we hadn’t watched in a long time: Joseph Campbell’s “The Power of Myth.” Most of you, I’m sure, are probably familiar with this. In a few of the episodes, Mr. Campbell talked about “following your bliss” and how, in doing so, it put you in union with the transcendent. He very much believed that the livelihood of being was supported (if not originated) by the unseen realm which exists outside space and time, and myths were a way of describing and intimating this vast, superconscious reality.

In following your bliss, he made it clear that each person will be unique in what type of journey he/she will embark on. For some, they may choose an artistic path, such as musician, painter, or actor. For others, their bliss may be more hands-on, such as constructing with tools, exercising the body through manual labor, or solving puzzles in the mind at a computer.

Of course, not all of us follow our bliss. In today’s world, we are taught from the moment we take our first breath the need to focus on economy, monetary stability, and socially “fitting in.” We were all indoctrinated to consider the same journey: go to school, college (or some form of higher education), and find ways of becoming more “marketable” in order to land that “decent job” that will sustain you for the course of your lifetime. In addition to that, you must also raise 2.5 kids, put them through college, have a white picket fence, yada yada yada.

We were told this path would lead to bliss, or is at least what bliss is about. Now, I’m sure such a life may have many great moments of joy, but does it really classify as bliss? Does it really make you feel alive and in union with the transcendent? For some, it might. And that’s fantastic. However, I suspect for most others, this isn’t the case.

In hearing Mr. Campbell talk about bliss, I quietly reflected upon myself and honestly asked – What is my bliss? If I were to take Campbell’s definition – being in union with the transcendent, feeling outside space and time, eternal, and completely alive – then what form or journey would my bliss take?

Surprisingly, the answer didn’t come right away. The question, supplied with the definition, does make one pause for consideration.

There are many things I enjoy doing, which could certainly borderline the sense of bliss, such as composing music (you can check out a few songs here on this page), drawing (which I haven’t done in years, but it used to provide such a wonderful meditative, relaxing experience), or story writing (never could keep track of time during that either). But to access what I felt was the transcendent and be knocked out of the field of space and time, I could only settle on one thing: the study of the soul, the nature of psi, those experiences that exposed the universal mysteries within the natural world and our own beings.

Funny, it was only a few days earlier that I had thought about how colorful my life really was as a result of pursuing psychic phenomena. If I didn’t have the experiences of ghosts, thought-transference, precognition, or mediumship, how incredibly flat and sepia toned my existence would be. Without having such things in my experience, everything in the world would seem flat, monochrome, and anything but bliss. Psi related phenomena, I realized, is what gives my life its vividness, turning it from a dull black-and-white world to amazing Technicolor. At times throughout my life, I have often wondered if my preoccupation with such things was a detriment rather than a benefit. Was I being too self-absorbed? Too weird? Unable to fit into the mundane “normal” world because I was not always on the predefined “path of life”? Some of you may answer “yes” towards me on all these points. But I’ve come to realize, when following your bliss, there’s something else Mr. Campbell talked about: Sacrifice.

Sometimes you must sacrifice things that were once perceived as noble or of immense worth in order to reach greater heights. There’s a saying that goes “You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose site of the shore.”

In pursuing your bliss – if once you have discovered what it is – there may be some uncomfortable acts (ironic, huh?) that you will go through on the journey. Your bliss may not be applicable to higher education; it may not require raising 2.5 kids; it may have nothing to do with a white picket fence. For many, still caught in this cookie-cutter illusion, you may suffer what at first appears to be social stigma.

That’s okay. Boldness never resulted in mediocrity.

But this is not about winning friends and influencing people. Rather, it goes a bit deeper: unraveling yourself in order to experience (and ultimately give yourself permission) to engage with your bliss and land in the field of transcendence.

In defining what your bliss is, you might discover that it is something completely foreign to what you have been doing for many, many years. This is not to say your bliss may be something completely brand-new in terms of experience, but it may be an activity or experience that you’ve only done periodically without much consideration of “following it.” Then again, it may be something you’ve never done before, but often dreamed about.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, following your bliss isn’t necessarily going to be an easy path. One would think “bliss = easy.” I mean, bliss is supposed to feel good, so it should be wonderful to pursue, right? Well, no, not when you have to deal with years of programming and conditioning – not only with social society outside of you, but also with the thick matter between your own ears.

Though I consider psi and psychic phenomena “bliss” in the definition that Campbell offered, it has not been an easy road. Parts of my life, my thinking, my lifestyle, have all had to die in some way, shape, or form over the decades, piece by piece, little by little (and it’s still an ongoing process). I’ve struggled with myself in how I thought I should behave with others – being a closet psychic, more or less, and fears of being “discovered” and ridiculed within “normal” environments. There were years where, if I was not in the process of conducting a sitting, I would “close myself down” as a course of self-protection – attempting to be “right” versus “weird.” These (as well as potential others) are the battles that can wage inside your consciousness when you are not aware of your bliss, but are still following something. Even when you do declare your passion and march down the road within that awareness, these kinds of things can still pop up.

At some point on the “bliss trail” a choice will have to be made: follow what the bliss demands of you, or succumb to mediocrity. This doesn’t necessarily mean dropping everything at once, but may require you to take a better look at the road and plan for what may lie ahead, and what you may need to leave behind in order to engage it. You might need to strategize in order to gain the most from what the road of your personal bliss offers.

The tricky thing about following your bliss – there is no map. The entirety of the road is not revealed to you. However, being as that it is bliss, this piece of the puzzle is not as hard to deal with so long as you are truly enraptured with the journey and not stuck on its future-oriented outcome.

What’s the benefit of all this? In following your bliss, you will not only connect with that essence which is beyond space and time, but you will live life feeling completely Alive. You won’t be able to wake up in the morning and tell yourself “It’s going to be another drab day.” You also won’t die feeling unfulfilled. But on the journey, you may encounter stresses the push and pull you, which are still part of the journey of a blissful life.

In following your bliss, it stands to reason that you will enjoy more of your life. That enjoyment, rightly so, will emanate from you in ways you can’t imagine, to positively affect those around you – again in ways you may not perceive. Genuinely happy people, let’s face it, are just more fun to be around. And the more people who can be happy on planet earth – following their bliss and saying “to hell” with the cookie-cutter life – will undoubtedly produce more positive energy that can help this planet grow and heal versus decline and die.

So … what is your bliss?? Are you prepared and willing to follow it?

Til next time,

1 comment:

  1. Jeffrey, I couldn't agree more. Once the 'other side' opened up to me life took on new meaning and I can not imagine life without being in communication with that realm. It is truly my bliss! But I've also learned to love the 'bliss' of the phsyical life. What a joy this life, this place of phsyical matter is to our soul! It is truly a playground of joy, beauty, creation, experience, and expression. Life is bliss!!!