Art, Myth; our Creativity

White Sands, New Mexico 2012

White Sands© Russell K. Davis, 2012

(Originally published October 15, 2015 at Mythosophy.org)

Today’s quote:  “You are an artist; your past is your portfolio.”

At the heart of Traditionalism, also called the Primordial Tradition, is a viewpoint called the Perennial Philosophy.  Briefly, the Latin philosophia perennis was first used by Agostino Steuco in 1540 and later mentioned by Gottfried Liebniz in the early 1700s.

Perhaps the most succinct expression of this viewpoint is given by Aldous Huxley in the introduction to his book The Perennial Philosophy:

“…the metaphysic that recognizes a divine Reality substantial to the world of things and lives and minds; the psychology that finds in the soul something similar to, or even identical with, divine Reality; the ethic that places man’s final end in the knowledge of the immanent and transcendent ground of all being—the thing is immemorial and universal.”  (Huxley A., p. iii, from the Introduction, Harper, New York:  1945)

In other word, (1) there is a divine reality, (2) we share a connection with it and (3) life’s purpose is learning how we participate in this divine reality.

Mythosophy, the Wisdom of Myth is one way of discovering our individual connection with this divine reality through our “true words” and “true stories” (the original meaning of mythmuthos in Greek).  Mythosophy is myth made personal.

Mythosophy is idealistic in that it is the examination, identification and practice of the Ideal we hold most dear; from which our creativity flows into expression.  Our Ideal generates our motivating Ideas which give birth to our creative Images.  Our Images are the substances from which we draw, color and paint the pictures from our hearts upon the blank canvas of our lives.

Creativity is key.

You are an artist; your past is your portfolio.  Moving forward, what will your artistic talent render?  How may we best fill in the blank canvas?

A work of art is a thing of beauty.  What can we do to make our lives works of art?   Mythosophy, the Wisdom of Myth, can assist in improving our art.

Improving our art brings clarity and knowledge of our participation in Divine Reality.

Advertisements
Posted in Gnosis, Highest Ideal, Myth, Spirituality, Wisdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Direct Spiritual Realization

(Originally published September 15, 2015 at Mythosophy.org)

Contemplative Practices: Direct Spiritual Realization

Part 3: Direct Spiritual Realization Technique

Today’s Quote: “We create our paths back to our Source.”

Quote #2: “God Consciousness is consciousness of God.”

Mythosophy is a wisdom path. The Wisdom of Myth is the experience of our true stories and our true words distilled from our lives. In the pursuit of wisdom we will gain and endure spiritual experience. We will learn to talk with Spirit, the expression or “Word” of Total Consciousness. Talking with Spirit means we will mostly listen.

One of the central tenets of Mythosophy is: Anyone can realize any spiritual experience at any point in time.

In offering some spiritual practices or exercises we must also inquire “What is your Spiritual Practice?” We ask this in recognition that you, the individual Soul, are already engaged in your challenging journey through life and practicing successful methods of navigation toward your distant shores of expanded consciousness. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Let’s Think Mythically

(Originally published August 16, 2015 at Mythosophy.org)

Contemplative Practices: Let’s Think Mythically

Part 2: Thinking Mythically about Narcissus

Today’s quote: “Life is a mirror. Life unerringly reflects back to us our states of consciousness and what we place our attention upon.”

Quote #2: “Avoid the possessions of the ego so that you are not possessed by the ego.”

Quote #3: “Our Ideals are messengers of Total Consciousness.”

Life gives; life takes away, but we always have the contents of our consciousness. How then shall we spend this inner wealth? On what shall we put our attention?

The spiritual riches of myth may be unlocked by the practice of thinking mythically as introduced last month here. An earlier reference to this contemplative practice is last year’s “Let’s Jump into Mythosophy” here.

Let us think mythically about a story from Greek myth: “Echo and Narcissus”

Narcissus, an extremely handsome young man, was enamored with his great beauty. Others were attracted, but he rebuffed all comers leaving many broken hearts in his wake. He even rejected the embrace of a beautiful goddess, a mountain nymph named Echo, stating “no, I would sooner be dead than let you touch me.” Heartbroken, Echo wasted away until nothing was left of her body except her voice which even now “echoes” in the mountains. (She had previously offended Zeus’ wife Hera, Queen of the Gods, who cursed Echo with only being able to repeat the words of others).

After another suitor is rejected, a prayer was offered up: “Let Narcissus love and suffer as he has made us suffer. Let him, like us, love and know it is hopeless. And let him, like Echo, perish of anguish.” Someone was listening, a goddess, one named Nemesis. Nemesis, “the corrector,” acted when things go too far in one direction. Nemesis granted the prayer and set a trap.

Deep in a glade on Mt. Helicon there was a pristine crystal clear spring never sullied by animal or man. Thirsty, Narcissus leaned over the pure pool’s edge for a drink and saw a lovely visage looking up at him. He began gazing at this image’s great beauty. Intrigued, he wondered who this person was. He spoke to this image and its lips silently moved in response. Leaning over in hopes for an embrace and a kiss, the image seemed to respond, but then cruelly vanished at the last moment in a shimmer of watery ripples. He fell in love and only then realized he had succumbed to an illusion. Compelled by this great beauty, his beauty, he could not look away. Transfixed, Narcissus wasted away (like Echo) and eventually died gazing at his reflection. (Tales From Ovid, Ted Hughes, summary of pps. 69-78; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York: 1997)
What does thinking mythically (contemplation) reveal?

Life gives; life takes away, but we always have the contents of our consciousness. What then shall we choose to contemplate? Taking a few deep clearing breaths and perceiving with our whole being; not just our minds, let us look and see.

Life is a mirror. Life unerringly reflects back to us our states of consciousness and what we place our attention upon.

What does Narcissus choose to contemplate? He puts his attention on his physical image. Narcissus is enraptured with his reflection; not his real self. Rather than looking within toward the Ideals of Soul, Narcissus looks outwardly at his surface image whose personality is the ego. In the story he is literally taken with his physical appearance. Falling in love with the lowest aspect of himself leads to his undoing and death. His physical death is preceded by the death of his consciousness: his immobility in the face of his reflection. Narcissus represents the exact opposite of consciousness which has the water-like qualities of fluidity and flexibility. Rather it is water (consciousness) that is the backdrop for Narcissus’ frozen image. Narcissus has narrowly focused on one small part of Total Consciousness to the exclusion of all else.

Narcissus has tunnel vision. The reflection of his truth is excessive self-love. He is the source of our word narcissism.

When we muse upon our higher Ideals, we allow our consciousness to flow creatively. When we place our attention upon lower objects, we become transfixed by those images and stop our creative flow.

The satisfaction of the ego is not possible because it always wants more. It is never satisfied. To pursue the way of the ego is to stumble along a winding, tortuous path that will lead to the land of shadows and echoes. It is a path by which one can easily get lost.

“Midway upon the journey of life I found that I was in a dusky wood; For the right path, whence I had strayed, was lost.” –opening verse of Dante’s Inferno

The theme of self-love directly applies to us today because, more often than not, it is in the glassy reflections of our smart phones and tablets that we see our egotistical reflections.

We live in an era of insufferable narcissism.

So attached are we to our “smart devices” that it is now common to see people walking, heads down, into walls and other objects or persons. Once while I was driving, a young woman walked off the curb directly into the street in front of me. Her head was down looking into her phone oblivious to her surroundings. Only quick braking saved her from injury.

These devices may be “smart,” but we sometimes are not. Mythosophy is about looking, seeing and finding our inner path through the stories and words of myth.

Just like Narcissus, we see our images reflected in the mirrored, glassy surfaces of our computerized screens. Poignantly, like him, we are unable to look away. As Narcissus gazed into the glassy pool surface, transfixed unto death; so, too, do we stare into the glass surface of a technological device oblivious to all else.

Narcissism isn’t awareness; it is loss of awareness.

What truths reflect back to you in your internet searches? Let us wisely and carefully choose what we place our attention upon. For that which we contemplate we move toward and gradually become. If our attention is on the little self, we become small. If it is upon the Soul, then we can become spiritually great. Shall we step into lesser or greater versions of ourselves?

Let us not seek the narcissistic ways of the ego. Rather, let us seek the realization of a Divine Image whose riches flow from Ideals such as Truth, Beauty, Justice, Honesty, Courage, Nobility or their other sibling spirits.

Avoid the possessions of the ego so that you are not possessed by the ego.

The result of thinking mythically is to illuminate the transcendental image or ideal of a story. This is important because when we resonate with ideals, they become the stepping-stones of our spiritual path; of what we really honor and revere in our lives.

Our Ideals are messengers of Total Consciousness.

 

Posted in Creativity, Highest Ideal, Narcissus, Spirituality, Wisdom | Leave a comment

Thinking Mythically

(Originally published July 20, 2015 at Mythosophy.org)

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

Posted in Spirituality, Wisdom | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Excellence, Hero, Highest Ideal, Mastership, Myth, Spirituality, Transcendent | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Art, Birth, Clarity, Creativity, Eternity, Freedom, Healing, Highest Ideal, Inspiration, Parables, Poesis, Spiritual Journey, True Speech, True Story, Wisdom | Leave a comment

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?

Posted in Divine Love, Pythagoras, Spiritual Number, Wisdom, Wonder | Tagged , | 4 Comments