The hero’s journey has been told from times when stories were first told. We read tales of the journey in some of the most ancient and the most modern of books: Homer, the Book of Exodus in the Bible, The Lord of the Rings. Even Harry Potter books tell us of the search to understand, to resolve, to seek and find something that each of the searchers hope will be for their betterment.
We are a curious people; the need to know, to find and discover inhabits each one of us. Curiosity has sailed men on ships in seas that were once said to lead to the very edge of the world itself. People have traveled in tiny capsules to the Moon to satisfy an ancient and insatiable desire to intimately know the silver, bright orb that each of us have at one time or another contemplated and wondered about. Some have taken such journeys in the hope they will find reward and fame for the betterment of their own lives. The reward of gold was the catalyst of many a maverick explorer. Gold was the exploitation of the Incas of what is now South America. Spices were the tantalizing scent for the European explorers of Asia. Slavery brought American and European ships to the shores of Africa. The hope for something more is an important incentive in understanding the reasons behind any journey, though many such journeys were tragically taken out of an incentive of greed.
Many peoples’ began their journeys to escape the conditions existing in their own land, or the lands in which they were living, in the hope they would find better living conditions elsewhere. The Israelite’s classic exodus from Egypt was undertaken to escape slavery. The pilgrims left England and sailed to America escaping persecution. Many of the Irish in the nineteenth century sailed to Canada and America to escape the blight of the potato famine and the tyranny of the English landlords who cast whole families onto the streets when their exorbitant rent demands were not paid on time. Something was not working in these people’s lives, and so they set out to discover something better, not knowing whether they would find improvement, or even at times what it was they were heading into.
It is the same with our own journey. It often begins with the knowledge, sometimes with the feeling that something in our lives is not working: whether it is in our relationships to others, in the work we do, in our reactions, the fact that we are not feeling happy or fulfilled, or in how people see or respond to us. Often we don’t know what that something is. Rarely do we know where the journey will take us. But, like the Israelites, like the Irish or the pilgrims, we set out anyway, because we are pulled to do so, because we believe there must be something more, because it would be better for our children, because something doesn’t feel right inside and something needs to be done about it.
This something is usually the trauma that each one of us has experienced. Trauma creates inner emotional separation. Inner separation breeds outward separation in our outside world: separation, or a disconnection from our friends, our lovers and our children. We may be around these people we love and care for each and every day of our lives, but we may still be unable to relate, to communicate with them, to feel fulfilled around them. Inner separation borne out of trauma creates the feeling that there is something missing in ourselves, and therefore in our lives. It feels limiting – and we feel held back, unfulfilled, that we are fakes and that there is something more, much more to life, but we just cannot seem to put our finger on it. Trauma creates all this.
Reading this and believing it to be true, it would become easy to throw your hands up in the air and shout out, “I wish trauma never happened to me, because if it hadn’t I would be happier,” or, “I wouldn’t have had to suffer in the way I did.” But it could be that all of us, each one of us has had to experience some kind of trauma, because each one of us is meant to take his or her own mythical journey, as if we are meant to lose our way – then find our own way back.
Thus, the human need and desire to improve ourselves, to better our lives sets us on our epic journey. The journey is one of recovery: the recovery from the repercussion, effects and limitations of our own trauma. The end result of the journey is emotional reconciliation and a fulfilling inner relationship. It may seem a sublime, uninteresting and even insufficient reward to enter on our journey of recovery, but truly, it is the foundation of self-satisfaction and fulfillment.
This is our coming home. The journey of recovery then is our return. This book, A Return to Consciousness, sets out to help make our return journey a conscious experience.
Do you believe you are on a personal growth journey?
If so, what drew you onto your journey?
Do you believe your personal growth journey will (or will not) end someday?
Join me next Friday for the start of a brand new chapter from A Return to Consciousness.