Tag Archive: Joseph Campbell


A blog that I wrote in 2012 that is all of a sudden going viral this week… Its numbers are breaking records! So, I thought I would share it once again to our Responsive Universe social media family that has grown considerably of the years as well. Thanks for everyone’s energy and consideration! JCB

The Responsive Universe

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…

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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.

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

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campbell

“People whose myths are grounded in nature ground their religion in nature. Those whose myths are grounded in society ground their religion in society. These are radically contrasting attitudes. One divorces you from nature, a nature that is corrupt, and the other unites you with it.”

-Joseph Campbell

Another powerful quote from a powerful thinker…  I recently posted this quote on my Responsive Universe Facebook Page and it garnered a lot of traffic and interest so I thought I would attempt to expand on its meaning.

Joseph Campbell uses western based religion as an example in his writings. The conquest of the Americas is a good example of two completely different religions or spiritual ideologies colliding. According to Campbell the influx of old world European influence changed the social and spiritual fabric of the North American indigenous population (specifically the Indians). These western influences carve an even deeper scar than we may all realize. We all understand the plight of the American Indian but how has religions like Christianity and Catholic dogma affected you and I? How does it affect the world we live in today?

Campbell states, Western powers “did not respect the mystical dimension of the cultures of this land (indigenous cultures predating European influence). They didn’t respect the land itself. As a result there is this quality in America of a concrete highway laid across the land.” Campbell continues, “We are just now – especially among the young people with their ecological awareness – Just now beginning to have a sense of what the land can tell us.”

There can be dual meaning preened from this message. One is the damage we are doing to our environment; climate change, our authoritarian rule of corporations and the wars waged in the name of God – mostly by western influences.  Then there is the spiritual element that has been stomped near dead by biblical verses and the threats of hell. Harsh? Maybe… Still, when there are “radically contrasting” religious and spiritual ideologies; one drawing its energy from nature, from the sun, moon and our own intrinsic True Nature: Yes pagan in character, but true, unadulterated and beautiful. The other finds its source of energy from man in the form of god, scripture and blind faith – a complete divorce from nature according to Campbell.  ….Well, one has to ask; maybe Campbell’s quote is more ominous in its meaning? Maybe the same religions that claim to save our souls could be in essence stealing our soul’s divine connection to nature and Universe? What is God but everything; instinctual energy born from nature – our bridge to everything sublime… Look at the world today and it is easy to see this rift.

There are really two stories within myths. There is the history that has brought us to the present moment; the triumphs and tragedies and then there is our place in this journey; this story of life. It is not religion, but our own inner wisdom that adeptly sheds warm light on a new path; a path of self-discovery. Yes, this is my interpretation of Campbell’s quote. Still Campbell’s quote is pretty clear-cut. Further, there is no one that I know of that has studied myth and religion more profoundly than Joseph Campbell. In my own search for enlightenment, our connections to nature and inner wisdom are undeniable.  It is just my opinion but when it comes to Campbell and his analysis of religion and myth, it is not scripture that speaks the gospel; it is Campbell speaking wisdom…

John C. Bader

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

Now Available: Amazon    Barnes & Noble

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Finding-Joe-Movie-Poster

As luck would have it, I stumbled on to a new documentary film about the philosophy of Joseph Campbell. Luck is really not the appropriate word because when we realize and understand we live in a Responsive Universe, we find there really is no luck; only meaningful connections. This movie found me and now I want to share it with you…

“I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.”

– Joseph Campbell

The film is called “Finding Joe” a new and refreshing movie by Patrick Takaya Solomon. Already the recipient of the Visionary Award, Finding Joe is a unique and masterful journey into the teachings of Joseph Campbell. Joseph Campbell, a true visionary and philosopher, has always been a huge influence on my journey to self-discovery. Much of what I write in blogs and books transcends Campbell’s unadulterated wisdom. Much like Campbell’s message the film makes a parallel of the “Hero’s Journey” through stories of ancient mythology and even the modern movies we see in the theater today. Campbell was successful in connecting parallels in visual media and ancient lore that resonate with the struggles and toil each of us face today. Interwoven into this wonderful journey are familiar faces like Deepak Chopra, Mick Fleetwood and sport legends like Tony Hawk and big wave surfer Laird Hamilton. If you have ever watched the Bill Moyer’s interviews with Campbell (The Power of Myth) then you know how cerebral his message is. Patrick Takaya Solomon takes this message and playfully and skillfully makes it more palatable for the average Joe like me.

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” – Joseph Campbell

We learn that there are many stories in life, some good and some bad; yet in actuality there is only one story – the meaning for this existence – this thing we call life.  A question arises: how do we fit into this story; this hero’s journey? Under the static of ego, materialism and money there is this other world. The myths of the past and stories of the future teach us to go beyond the limits of possibility.  When we wake up to the fact we are the hero in this story of life magical things happen.

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”  – Joseph Campbell

There are really two stories within this film. There is the wisdom and energy of Joseph Campbell which Patrick Takaya Solomon successfully brings to illumination. And then there is our place in this journey; this story of life. This film adeptly sheds warm light on a new path; a path of self-discovery. We find that we are really not that different from each other. We find that we all struggle and are faced with challenges. We see the heroic stories of past and present and then this incredible realization takes hold: When we look in the mirror we do not just see a reflection of ourselves, we see a hero looking back at us. Yes, this new and inspiring film is about finding Joe, but it is also about finding you!

For more information please visit Finding Joe

 

John C. Bader

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

Now Available: Amazon    Barnes & Noble

The Responsive Universe on Facebook

John C. Bader on Twitter

 

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.

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

Now Available: Amazon    Barnes & Noble

The Responsive Universe on Facebook

John C. Bader on Twitter

Reference: “The Power of Myth” by Joseph Campbell

image credit: ovguide.com

As humans born into a social world of triumphs and tragedies, love and loss, we will face a myriad of challenges in life – nothing is seems is more difficult than the loss of a love one.

Joseph Campbell once said, “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us”. This statement rings wisdom on many levels. We as humans like to be in control of our destinies. Being that suffering is intrinsic to life; the habit of trying to control our surroundings can in itself cause suffering. Americans especially have this need or urge to be in control. Here in the west, there is a need for immediate gratification and convenience as well the need to manipulate and manage our surrounding environment. You see it with the pressure to be financially successful and even with the United States government and its sometimes misguided foreign entanglements. Of course not all aspects of control are considered a bad thing, but it does cause problems when life rears unpredictable results like loss. We also attach ourselves to such adornments of love, companionship and communion. Losing something or someone dear to us is exacerbated by attachment and loss of control. Love and friendship connects us in ways that create immense grief when this love and friendship is taken away. We can’t be at fault for loving someone or something – it is human nature. Still, there is a need to let go of the attachments that cause us suffering. Grief is one of those attachments. Being that loss is inherent to life, it is also something we can’t control. When we can’t control something as intricate and amazing as the life of a love one; there can be this feeling of helplessness that envelopes us. Much like earlier blogs in regard to the concept of space as it relates to our mind and the universe, we need to make space for loss. We need to not cling to transient affections when all that is left is memories. Cherish the great memories but let go of the guilt, anger and grief. Letting go does not mean we do not care. Letting go simply means we stop trying to control outcomes that are completely unavoidable. It means to stop doing the impossible by trying to control destiny. Instead, we should focus on what we can control which is ourselves. This is done with love: Love for ourselves and how it relates to our True Nature and love for those here in the now and hereafter.

John C. Bader

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Star Wars and Buddhism?

Okay, I got to laugh… I just got back from the movies with my wife and 10 year old son Ethan. We saw Star Wars, the Phantom Menace. I was truly amazed by all the Buddhist symbolism in the movie. I recall stumbling across some Joseph Campbell musings on the Star Wars subject years ago and I really paid attention to the symbolism today in the theater. After doing a little more research I found that others were interested or at least intrigued by the connection.

Per Eli Williamson-Jones website and even a book written by Matthew Bortolin, titled, the Dharma of Star Wars, I found this interesting scribble of info:

In the beginning of Star Wars Episode I, The Phantom Menace, we learn the Jedi Knight’s teachings of mindfulness of the Living Force is identical to the Buddhist teaching of mindfulness of the present moment. Jedi Master Qui-Gon instructs his student Obi-Wan to not center on his anxieties and to keep his concentration in the here and now where it belongs. Anticipation of the future is sometimes necessary but not at the expense of the moment. This is being mindful of the living Force. Only by touching the present moment deeply in the here and now, are we able to live fully. There is no life outside this present moment in the past or the future. When asked why his monks were so peaceful and serene, the Buddha said, “They do not repent the past, nor do they brood for the future. They live in the present.”  – Matthew Bortolin

I thought I would google and see if creator, George Lucas was indeed a Buddhist – would be kind of funny if he was a re-born Christian – it certainly would not make any sense… Turns out Lucas was a friend of famous philosopher, Joseph Campbell. According to adherents.com Lucas is in fact a Buddhist and the force is strong with him (except maybe not with Red Tails – ouch!)

I guess it all makes sense now.

Well, anyway, Ethan and I are stoked about the next five Star Wars movies being released in the coming months.

Enjoy your Saturday evening – My son and I will be dreaming about star fighters and far off planets tonight.

John C. Bader

www.responsiveuniverse.com

Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell greatly influenced the Responsive Universe. How about a little Campbell wisdom for today?

“Every religion is true one way or another. It is true when understood metaphorically. But when it gets stuck in its own metaphors,
interpreting them as facts, then you are in trouble. ”

“God is a metaphor for that which trancends all levels of intellectual thought. It’s as simple as that. ”

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls. ”

– Joseph Campbell

 

Peace, love and energy….

John C. Bader

 

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