mandalaIs it suffering and tremendous emotional pain that unknowingly thrusts those solemn few on to the path that is the Heroes Journey? What is it that motivates us to follow our Bliss? When you look at the world that surrounds us, I suspect the Heroes Journey is a gift that everyone receives; but few disembark on… I could be wrong, but I would imagine it takes some cultivated levels of mindfulness and awareness to see the signs; to walk the hero’s path; to accept the gifts of this Responsive Universe. The Hero’s Journey for me was acknowledging and then confronting my ego facilities; thus connecting to this sublime notion of True Nature… But my journey did not begin there… An abusive childhood may have been the beginning point. Low self-esteem, Attention Deficit Disorder, addiction and most definitely the bludgeoning defeat that brought my suffering full circle: The late-term, still-born loss of my first-born and namesake – truly a devastating day and a defining time in my life that saw me reach rock bottom both inward and outward. It seems as we age and mature our soul becomes calloused by the layers of ego and societal immersion. We tend to be defined by society and by our successes and failures. The cold, stark walls of that hospital continue to be a grim reminder of that awful day I lost my boy. And yet while holding my lifeless child in my arms that fateful day; it may have been that moment that I unknowingly began my own Hero’s Journey.

I recall a quote from Joseph Campbell: ““We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” Ironically for me, surrendering to life instead of fighting against it became the veering path I eventually chose. It was several months later that something unique happened that changed my life forever. After the loss of my son and after weeks of depression, sadness and self-loathing, the sun came out and showered me with the warmth of wisdom and spiritual illumination; a stark difference to the wintery, cold grip that previously enveloped my life. The sky looked bluer, the clouds seemed whiter. The trees and plants all seemed brighter and more colorful. My thoughts were clear and concise; my mind boundless; my challenges and suffering palatable. It was if I had poor vision all my life and suddenly began to see clearly for the first time. I experienced an awakening – I stumbled upon the concept of awareness and space and how it related to me, my life and surroundings, my hardships and my place within this Universe – my intrinsic connection to this Universe. This source of empowerment was not of religious origin. I knew immediate it was a much bigger picture: A vast boundless world of energy, vibration, love, wisdom and connection. In fact, religious dogma began to look very weighted and dogmatic. Thus began the process of deconstructing my belief systems and living life with an open mind.  My Hero’s Journey evolved as I allowed more space, clarity and responsiveness into my life. I no longer blamed myself for the loss of my son. I no longer blamed God or the Universe. I redefined God and the Universe…. I no longer blindly demanded answers for life’s mediocrity. For a brief moment, I saw myself connected to every atom in the Universe – a part of something so vast and immense it boggled the imagination. My fear dissolved and an illuminated path revealed itself to me. It was my True Nature… The concept of True Nature is the intrinsic, immortal potential for reaching enlightenment that exists within the mind of every sentient being. Its source and energy are born from the Cosmos. True Nature is your transcendent link to the Universe. It is everything that exists and when you consider everything that exists you must consider yourself part of that equation; connected and purposeful.

I discovered that True Nature is the opposite of ego. True Nature is everything left behind when you are egoless. Imagine stripping away negativity, evil, fear, guilt narcissism and jealousy (all ego facilities) – what are you left with? Only love, wisdom and positive energy – the heartbeat of existence. Mythologist Joseph Campbell once said, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls”. Following my bliss involved accentuating mindfulness and self-discovery. Through meditation and daily life practice I became acutely aware of my ego and what reinforced its maligned energy on my actions and reactions. Through synchronicity and awareness, I began looking for the signs and genuine thoughts and epiphanies that shifted my mainstream perceptions away from the majority. There is a price to pay to society while on this Hero’s Journey – I have found that as I walk uphill most people that surround me are walking downhill. Yet, there is an acute awareness that my path is noble and genuine. By centering myself in the moment, I took the necessary steps to act and react with unadulterated empowerment.

My Hero’s Journey is not always a perfect sunset. Life can be messy. I will make mistakes and from failure will come triumph and wisdom. The key to this journey is always stepping forward and never backward. No matter how small the step, I will continue my Hero’s Journey with karma, clarity and my center of being aligned as best as possible with my True Nature. I have confidence the Responsive Universe will take care of the rest….

John C. Bader

John C. Bader is a wellness advocate and consultant specializing in spiritual self-evolution, meditation, and bio-energy healing. In his writing, he bridges science with spirituality and provides steps to encourage more mindfulness in daily life. His new book, The Responsive Universe – Illumination of the Nine Mandalas is a step by step process on how to begin your very own Hero’s Journey.

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