All the gods, all the heavens, all the hells, are within you.”
– Joseph Campbell
This is a very powerful sentence…. It sometimes takes great minds like Joseph Campbell to effectively wrap up the Cosmos – everything that exists – in one eloquent sentence. Carl Sagan was able to effectively do this as well. Sadly both of these great teachers have passed but their words live on eternally. That is the distinct power of words isn’t it? The inspiration of this particular sentence comes from the great realization of the Upanishads of India in the ninth century B.C. I find it interesting that even thousands of years ago, people were reaching for the heavens and also inward to find the meaning of existence – the how and why…. But what I find truly interesting is that even thousands of years ago, wise people were connecting to this sublime dynamism that connects humans with the world around us – not just a father figure to follow which takes our energy and turns it into blind faith; but an energy that is ours to wield – a destiny that is ours to mold and fashion.
Joseph Campbell writes that religion is in many ways mythology: “Myths are metaphorical of spiritual potentiality in the human being, and the same powers that animate our life animate the life of the world.” He continues, “All the gods, all the heavens, all the worlds, are within us. They are magnified dreams, and dreams are manifestations in image form of the energies of the body in conflict with each other. That is what myth is. Myth is manifestation in symbolic images, in metaphorical images, of the energies of the organs of the body in conflict with each other.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, in his splendid essay called “On an Apparent Intention in the Fate of the Individual,” points out that when you reach an advanced age and look back over your lifetime, it can seem to have had a consistent order and plan, as though composed by some novelist. Events that when they occurred had seemed accidental and of little moment turn out to have been indispensable factors in the composition of a consistent plot. So who composed that plot? Schopenhauer suggests that just as your dreams are composed by an aspect of yourself of which your consciousness is unaware, so, too, your whole life is composed by the will within you. And just as people whom you will have met apparently by mere chance became leading agents in the structuring of your life, so, too, will you have served unknowingly as an agent, giving meaning to the lives of others. The whole thing gears together like one big symphony, with everything unconsciously structuring everything else. And Schopenhauer concludes that it is as though our lives were the features of the one great dream of a single dreamer in which all the dream characters dream, too: so that everything links to everything else, moved by the one will to life which is the universal will in nature.”
Life is but a learning experience… sometimes it takes years of wisdom to put your finger on a single moment in time. The sentence – All the gods, all the heavens, all the hells, are within you speaks this wisdom; we are connected in a grand symphony – the tapestry of humanity woven into the colorful Cosmos. It is within that the beauty lies… the wisdom and energy and it is this notion that never dies…
John C. Bader is a photographer, 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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Reference: “The Power of Myth” by Joseph Campbell
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