Contrary to popular belief, a myth is not a falsehood. In the classic sense, a myth is a very real story representing some important aspect of reality. For indigenous and ancient peoples, a myth tells of the way things really are in the world. Just as scripture in the world’s religious traditions, myth operates at the sacred level.
The most common and profound archetype in mythology is that of “the hero’s journey,” a form of the pattern of birth, death, and rebirth, or in Joseph Campbell’s words: departure, initiation, and return. This particular myth, the journey of the hero, expresses a built in pattern of transformation, a process in which a dialectic of opposites clash, merge, and are recreated to form a new whole. It is an interaction of conflicting archetypes, as in thesis and antithesis, which culminates in a synthesis combining and transcending them both.
This happens to be the most profound archetypal story of all, and a timeless, universal story at that. It is the one story we all share as human beings undergoing change and transformation in our lives. It is the one story that connects us to everyone else who has ever lived on this planet.
Living this universal story is how we get to the sacred level of our life story. Sharing it with others is how we all recognize that we are all connected, not only to those we know directly but also to those throughout all of time and across all distances. Our lived experiences are similar and we know this through the archetypes we have mutually shared in our lives. This is how and why our universal story carries a sacred and enduring truth.
Even if we are not aware of this truth that we are living, as it might be especially difficult to do so when we are right in the midst of a struggle or conflict actually meant to lead us to and trough our own transformation, it is precisely this kind of challenge or “muddle” that is needed to show us the necessity of the difficulty. This is how we are led to a “resolution” and the completion of the transformation process.
Was there a particularly difficult time in your life when something you didn’t want or didn’t like the feel of led you to a seeming dead end, but eventually and ultimately showed you its value and importance by opening a new path for you where you came to a new realization, clarity, or awareness? Write down this one story that connects you to everyone, and share it with someone close to you.