People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think that what we are seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have the resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.
- Joseph Campbell
I used to really hate religion and not see a point to it; that all it did was create war and opiate the masses. I believed that would should live in a totally atheistic society that's completely modern. But such views are shallow and childish. I have been reading lots of Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung, both are very in-tune with reading symbols, archetypes, and mythology. They've opened my eyes to the fact that these myths and symbols give our experience over to the the "rapture of being alive." They are the cosmic keys to our creation and times.
With today's technology and advances, and further plunges in secularism, it is ever more important to remember these myths. The myths and stories are as part of our world as the plants, trees, and animals. They grew out of our collective experiences of birth, growing older, coming to sexual maturity, and ultimately death, the one thing we all face. These myths, like our environments, are being destroyed, and like destroying our home, we are killing ourselves by forgetting these myths. It's hard to say what the fallout of these myths will be, only time will tell, but to me, these myths connect me to the magic of the universe, you begin to see the synchronicity of time and the elements, and how "all things are Buddha things." It puts me in touch with the "creator." I am not suggesting religious conversion, nothing of the sort. But to read and appreciate these stories and to open our mind to a higher plane of thinking, as they are just apart of our existence as breathing.
Campbell mentions this story, which I think is a good myth, on the importance of myth.
Of course, we moderns are stripping the world of its natural revelations, of nature itself. I think of that pygmy legend of the little boy who finds the bird with the beautiful song in the forest and brings it home. He asks his father to bring food for the bird, and the father doesn't want to feed a mere bird, so he kills it. And the legend says the man killed the bird, and with the bird he killed the song, and with the song, himself. He dropped dead, and was dead forever.
If we forget these myths, what part of ourselves are we killing? We are no doubt killing apart of character, our humanity, our sanity.
Those interested should pick up a copy of Joseph Campbell's book "The Power of Myth," it's a very entertaining read and you might find yourself being captured by the magic of Mythology. The book is based on a T.V. series featuring him being interviewed by Bill Moyers. What amazes me is how poetic this guy talks off the cuff. It's incredible how beautiful and immaculately he speaks.