Thinking Mythically

(Originally published July 20, 2015 at

Contemplative Practices:  Thinking Mythically

Part 1:  Thinking Mythically

Today’s Quote:  “It isn’t that we shouldn’t worship idols; we must.  We must worship these images in order break through them and move to the truth and freedom beyond.”

Quote #2:  “An idol is a frozen Ideal.”

Mythosophy is a contemplative path via the Wisdom of Myth.

To date, I have expressed much theory in presenting Mythosophy, yet theory must always be balanced with practice.  The Greek word theoria means (in Eastern Orthodox Christianity) to “view God.”  A contemplative practice, then, would be practicing this divine viewpoint.

Theory is fine, but as we know “practice makes perfect.”  Practice is the completion of our inner vision; its realization.

Mythosophy as a practical teaching tool is a contemplative viewpoint on the cultural stories of myth, fable, legend and stories of our own personal lives.  Included as a vital part of this Contemplative Path are the words a culture uses to express its highest ideals and our personal words we use to express our current, evolving Ideals. Continue reading

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What is your Excellence?

Today’s quote: “If you endeavor to follow your heroic ideal and make it real, you will step into the genesis of your creativity; a step toward personal spiritual mastership.”

We naturally seek as part of our creativity to control our lives. But, unless the foundation of our Being is rooted in Eternal Ideals, then what we create will be “less than ideal.” The echoes of our words and deeds may later haunt us as ghostly repercussions; shunned and unwelcome. Our lives will end up out of control despite our best efforts.

The puzzle of life.

We seek mastery of our affairs. But, unless we are consciously rooted in the Transcendent, our creations will, inevitably, be the deformed and mangled creatures of our egos. Dr. Frankenstein’s monster was the result of an egotistical scientist seeking to create life, control it, and thereby replace the Divine with himself, the scientist.

The ego lacking humility seeks to be Divine, but only creates disorder. Thus, do we end up creating false images in the guise of truth, the reverence of which leads to our worship of idols.

We are not to become God, but to become “godlike.” Whether atheist or not, we may adopt and realize the uplifting qualities that spring forth from Transcendental Ideals (Buddhism especially its earliest form is atheistic, yet is a spiritual path).

How do you make contact with or “touch” Transcendence? Let us answer this question with another. What is your excellence? The Greek word for excellence is arête (pronounced “ah-re-tee”). Arête (also a Greek goddess) is defined as a thing or person’s particular excellence; its effectiveness, virtue or purpose. For example, the excellence of a knife blade is the sharpness of its blade; its effectiveness fulfills its purpose.

What is your arête? At what do you excel? What is it that you are “so clear about” or so good at that other people look to you for guidance when an issue arises or an important decision must be made? What do people look to you for when seeking clarity?

Your particular excellence is your clarity, the expression of your purpose. This connects with your particular Transcendental or Spiritual Mastery because it is the creative expression of your Ideal; your purpose made manifest.

Master your ego before you create. Until then you cannot clearly work with Spirit (transcendental energy) and the Ideals of the Transcendent. A controlled life is one controlled by Spirit where the ego has been surrendered to the Transcendental Purpose. A completely effective life is one where our ego has been made the servant of Truth.

And spiritual mastership is being in accord with this high purpose. Follow your highest heroic Ideal. Surrender the ego and begin living the greater life.

Myth (muthos, Greek) means “true story” and “true word, true speech.” If you endeavor to follow your heroic ideal and make it real, you will step into the genesis of your creativity; a step toward personal spiritual mastership.

Mastership is doing what needs to be done, saying what needs to be said; being what needs to be and allowing to be what needs to be.

Follow your spiritual myth and it will take you where you need to go as you master your path.

…and mastering your path is allowing it to master you, too.

You are your path. Mythosophy allows us to better identify the source and products of our creativity (our ideal images; our ideals) along the high and radiant road toward truth. Choose the high road. Awareness leads to conscious creation.

That is something worth knowing.

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A Tentative Conclusion

What is Myth?

Part 5: A Tentative Conclusion

Mythosophy can be defined as the “wisdom of myth” and yet Mythosophy cannot be so defined. Myth can be defined and yet we have seen the scholarly failure to fully define it in our May 16, 2014 post (“Let’s Forget the Scholars”). Wisdom may be defined, yet the living wisdom of higher consciousness may not be defined. Definition is limitation. That which transcends language cannot be directly described by language. Your creativity and clarity cannot be defined by language; it must be experienced in your life’s march. Our march is from our past, through our present, and toward our futures.

Collapsing the past and future into the present is the beginning of eternity.

The unspoken truths of higher consciousness cannot be encapsulated in language. They may, however, be hinted at through song, music, poetry, lyrical prose, and soaring rhetoric. These are skills whose purview belong to the nine Greek Muses; goddesses of creativity.

The transcendent cannot be a syllogism, but may be a poem, a song, a well turned phrase, a mood or action. The fragments of wisdom made manifest as the stories of myth and mythic speech are hints of greater truths and are as signs pointing the way in our march toward truth. The ideals they convey are grist for our spiritual mills.

From my 2001 book, Mythosophy: The Wisdom Of Myth; A Defense Of Perennial Thought In Post-Modern Times, p. 156: “Hidden within … myth are parables of wisdom which point the way to the transcendent realization of one’s being. As knowledge differs from wisdom, so does a state of mind stand in contrast to a transformation of being. Only under the smile of Sophia, wisdom, may we truly step into greater versions of ourselves and, then, give to the world our new found wealth.”

While myth denotes “speech” and “story” its connotations are endless; each expression is approximate to the One. As one cup holds water so does an inspired word and story hold truth. And, when we hear truth we often wish, if ready and thirsty, to drink deeply a draught from that chalice.

Myths are stories about spiritual realities. They often appear garbled precisely because the totality of what they describe is so vast and so far beyond the ken of human understanding and language, that they appear much as the separate pieces of a puzzle; a chaotic jumble that nonetheless may be crafted or processed into a greater picture.

Myths are the broken pieces of a mirror indiscriminately reflecting images, but reflecting nonetheless.

Many myths are of remote times because they are reports of consciousness when time was coming into being.

Let us become as artists and gather these scattered images to create a picture or mosaic that reflects the truths of our higher consciousness. Let the old truths serve as mid-wives for new insights. Let the artist, you, communicate them.

Mythic speech is truth spoken from the heart; true words from a true heart. Mythoi (plural) are often aphoristic in form. Have you ever spoken or heard words that led to a shift in consciousness in yourself or another? Let yourself, as artist, listen and hear these words. Let yourself, as artist, communicate your words; your truth.

Poesis is mythic speech and art.

Do you have a favorite saying that expresses some wisdom you have earned? Here’s one I heard recently: “Do less and be more.” May we find good answers to good questions and may we give to the world (each other) our highest truths.

In tentative conclusion, myths are compilations of sacred stories and words about facts and values that are crucially and vitally important for a culture. In mythology, the study of myth (the logoi of myth), they must be treated preeminently as an expression of a particular culture; a mythos is its ancient voice. They must be considered in the context of a particular time and place. In mythology, I do not believe in a Campbellian “monomyth” existing as a substrate to all myths. For me, the only pure commonality to different mythologies is that all humans have manifested a body of myths.

In mythosophy, however, the wisdom of myth (the sophia of myth), I suggest the possibility that all myths contain portions and segments that point to a transcendental beyond. Mythosophy is the accent on a certain part of each compilation, or “heap” if you will on that which is most important. As such, Mythosophy considers all stories rather than the select high tales of myth in that story facilitates inner transportation to different ideals and an expansion of consciousness and being.

“When the ego is crying, the Soul is laughing” so say some mystics.

Through contemplation, meditation, or prayer the ideals of myth and mythic speech can lead us to a greater clarity. With clarity comes purpose; with purpose comes the fulfillment of our beingness in this world and the transcendental realms. Mythosophy can heal and align the axis of our being so that we may commune and communicate with the Absolute, much as physicians heal our bodies.

Sometimes healing is painful. Birth is often painful, yet a new consciousness is the result.

And so I wonder, have you ever noticed a higher purpose that, sometimes, appears to operate in your life? What is your story? How would you narrate it?

Look and you will see; listen and you will hear. Place your attention on your highest ideal and follow your path. This is our tentative, or evolving, conclusion.

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Mathematics of Consciousness

Can mathematical truths be identical with divine truths? Are numerals possibly symbolic of spiritual realities?

I wonder. Mythosophy begins in wonder.

The spiritual master Pythagoras has come down to us, primarily, as a mathematician and progenitor of the Pythagorean Theorem:  a2+b2=c2

Let’s see: a2+b2=c2 …when a triangle has a 90⁰ angle, and squares are extended off each of the three sides, then the biggest square (the square of the hypotenuse) equals the other two squares combined.

Yet, Pythagoras was also, preeminently, a spiritual teacher; a mystic and knower of divine truths.

I wonder, if a2+b2=c2 and we substitute Wisdom for “a” and Divine Love for “b”, then what will that equal? What will Wisdom2 + Divine Love2 equal?

That is what I want to solve for.

Wisdom2 + Divine Love2 = X

I want to solve for “X.”

The square of that hypotenuse would be something. It would be my spiritual number. What’s yours?

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Inner Peace: There is no App for That

This post’s quote: “Are you a body that has a Soul or are you a Soul that has a body?”

It has lately been popular to describe divisiveness within our electorate as “identity politics.” Following the principle that “we tend to become what we put our attention on,” let us forget politics and wonder instead about what may uplift us: “identity metaphysics.” Turning away from outer divisive dramas, can we find wholeness and unity within our subjective beings? Can we find peace within amidst a world of conflict and strife?

Mythosophy answers yes. Mythosophy, the Wisdom of Myth deals with identity, specifically, your identity as a being involved in your own story (your life story) and learning your life’s wisdom; finding your true voice and speaking your truth; your true words. When living your spiritual vision you become heroic.

Fear often blocks us and shuts us up.

Dr. Robert Shiller (Nobel Laureate in Economics) recently returned from the annual economics meeting in Davos, Switzerland and observed a profound unease and fear in investors. (CNBC 1/28/15) To summarize, things are changing so fast that investors are extremely uncertain about the future and fearful that their jobs may no longer even be in existence much less that they would be gainfully employed in any endeavor. This fear combined with the last market downturn in 2008 left many frozen with fear and not investing precisely when they should be. Dr. Shiller noted that part of this fear stems from the belief that whatever we know will likely be supplanted by some future technology (a future “app”) that will render us unnecessary. Dr. Shiller cited his own childhood efforts in learning the stars and constellations being now rendered unnecessary due to computer programs. Why expend the energy in learning astronomy or anything when there is, or will be, “an app for that?”

Technology can devalue the joy and accomplishment of learning, if we let it. However, let us never forget our inner subjective worlds where we filter and experience all of life. We don’t live in the outer world; we always live within.

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” (Folk Saying)

Don’t put all your hopes, dreams and ideals in the outer world, the objective basket. Hold the jewels of your inner consciousness close and treasure them. Choose carefully how you share your wealth.

It is natural to have some outward focus in order to make our way in the world, but too many are so lulled and seduced by outer reality that they ignore their inner beings. Some even question the very reality of their subjective selves. For example, many of us believe we are our physical bodies. If we focus all our attention, hopes, dreams and ideals into the outer world, we should not be surprised when some of them or all get broken. Worse, we are left inwardly unbalanced because we lack the poise derived from subjective growth. So enthralled are we with the outer world and the gifts of science and technology that we are inwardly immature.

Who am I? Who are you? What are we as beings? Are we primarily a physical body? Or, are we primarily our emotions? Are we our thoughts? Who are we? What do you identify with? Are you a body that has a Soul or are you a Soul that has a body? (Paraphrase: “…not that men are bodies and have souls, but that they are souls and have bodies.” From Rev. Dr. R. Thornton’s October 1881 paper to the Church of England’s Church Congress, New Castle)

Above the temple of Apollo at Delphi, Greece was a saying, “Know thyself.”

What does it mean to know yourself? Examining the contents of consciousness, I witness thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations rising and falling away. Thoughts and feelings comprise a range from baser inclinations to more aesthetic moods. Intuition and subconscious urges inform mind, feeling, and even, occasionally, physical sensations. Yet, something more remains; me, the observer; the witnesser.

Who is this observer; this “witnesser?”

The answer to knowing ourselves is balanced between our subjective and objective experiences with strong emphasis or accent on the subjective. Mythosophy is preeminently a subjective exercise by means of sacred stories and sacred words. It is through our individual subjective awareness that we find our excellence and clarity. The outer, objective world is, in essence, merely the context through which we move; the setting and background of a theatrical production in which the plot unfolds via the actors. To be a good actor one must be a good observer; a good witnesser. This observer plays many roles in many dramas. Sometimes the part is well played; other times perhaps we need to learn our lines better. Call the observer consciousness “Soul” or “Higher Mind” it is nonetheless the actor choosing what part to play.

Are we not Souls projected into objective experiences as actors are projected into the stages and plots of their play? We forget that we have contracted to perform in a theatrical production (one that spiritualy matters). Ego tells us our temporary roles are ultimately real, thus we chase the chimeras of material wealth and honorific titles.

Seek thy true stories; thy true words. Immerse and bathe in the wisdom of your subjectivity. There is solace therein. Your peace is in your heart. May our hearts beat in rhythm with the Heart of the Eternal.

There is no app for that.

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The Way

Religions derive from spiritual paths. Spiritual paths derive from spirituality. All are guideposts along the way.

If you seek spirituality, look in the eternal mirror. If your reflection has a smudge, start polishing.

Where there is a Soul; there is a way.

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Do a Life Review Today

Today’s Quote: “May our lives bear better fruit and not bitter fruit.”

Once upon a time and many years ago my brother almost died. Traveling apart from our families, he and a friend had biked cross country to the ocean and were swimming at the shore. They got caught in an outgoing tide and were desperately trying to swim back to the ever receding beach. My brother who was a better swimmer, in addition to his own survival, was trying to pull his friend along also.

They made it. Barely. Exhausted, they collapsed on the isolated beach for a long time to gather their strength.

Funny thing was, in hearing this story years later, my brother also told me that he had experienced a “life review” as he faced growing belief in his imminent death. This occurred just before he and his friend gained a last second edge over the current; a renewed hope in life. That edge just saved them.

Life review?

My brother had seen, in several flashes, all of the experiences he had gone through in his young life, as if seeing an array of pictures each containing their own video reenactment or movie segment. He had witnessed the major events as well as the most minor, insignificant moments. He had seen it all in several instantaneous flashes before his eyes.

He literally had a near death experience (NDE). Part of his subjective experience was a sort of “opening” of normal consciousness into a greater expansive vision; he could see every aspect of all his life experience in several separate instants; unlike the way our “everyday” consciousness knows things sequentially; in parts and pieces.

His awareness seems to have, however briefly, transcended time.

In Mythosophy, we redefine myths as “truths” as opposed to falsehoods or deceptions. Myths are our true stories based on our experiences. Myths are also our true words, true speech based on our experience. Our stories and words express our spiritual wisdom.

Many spiritual traditions have myths reporting a life review that occurs upon the demise of the physical body; what is called death. Many of these myths additionally report an evaluation or assessment of one’s life experiences. Often these reviews are prequels to our next spiritual steps or future lives. Examples range from the ancient Zoroastrian myth of crossing the “Chinvat Bridge” into the afterlife to Hinduism’s myths about “Yama, the King and Judge of the Dead.” Another is Plato’s “Myth of the Warrior Er” at the end of the Republic who returns to life upon his funeral pyre and reports what he has seen.

We all eventually face death. My question is: Why wait for death? Why not perform a life review now; today?

Some questions to ask, spiritually, in self-evaluation are: “What were some lessons?” “What was learned?” “What did I do well?” “What could I have been done better?” “What were my patterns?” “Out of what consciousness was I, at times, acting?” Remember, this is about you, not someone else. Whatever someone else could have done better is for their own life review, not yours.

What are your insights? Do you see themes? What is your story; your wisdom, your true words? Mythosophy as a practice is a special type of insight into stories and speech. Practice is part of the Contemplative Path traveled always through your heart. Mythosophy, the Wisdom of Myth is all about the insights conveyed by our story; our lives.

In the face of death my brother had realized that his consciousness had a transcendental component that, however blocked out by everyday life, was always present.

Those who have been near death experience a greater appreciation of life. Awareness of death may, paradoxically, be a tool to a better, more fruitful life. Yet, we don’t have to die to do a life review. You can do it today. What might one change now? Changing our present presence changes our future.

Let us pause to reflect. May our lives bear better fruit and not bitter fruit.

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