Reflections on the Art of Living - A Joseph Campbell Companion

How much do I want to read more? 8/10

What a weird book. I can't really understand the structure of it, or how it is organized.
But still, it is good, it talks about how to live, in a way.
It's a bit philodophic, a bit mysterious, and I like it.
Got to read this.

In the Field

HE privilege of a lifetime
is being who you are.

What you have to do,
you do with play.

Life is without meaning.
You bring the meaning to it.

The meaning of life is
whatever you ascribe it to be.

Being alive is the meaning.

The warrior’s approach
is to say “yes” to life:
“yea” to it all.

Participate joyfully
in the sorrows of the world.

We cannot cure the world of sorrows,
but we can choose to live in joy.

When we talk about
settling the world’s problems,
we’re barking up the wrong tree.

The world is perfect. It’s a mess.
It has always been a mess.

We are not going to change it.

Our job is to straighten out
our own lives.

We must be willing to get rid of
the life we’ve planned, so as to have
the life that is waiting for us.

The old skin has to be shed
before the new one can come.

If we fix on the old, we get stuck.
When we hang onto any form,
we are in danger of putrefaction.

Hell is life drying up.

The Hoarder,
the one in us that wants to keep,
to hold on, must be killed.

If we are hanging onto the form now,
we’re not going to have the form next.

You can’t make an omelet
without breaking eggs.

Destruction before creation.

Out of perfection
nothing can be made.

Every process involves
breaking something up.

The earth must be broken
to bring forth life.

If the seed does not die,
there is no plant.

Bread results
from the death of wheat.

Life lives on lives.

Our own life
lives on the acts
of other people.

If you are lifeworthy,
you can take it.

What we are really living for
is the experience of life,
both the pain and the pleasure.

The world is a match for us.
We are a match for the world.

to find deeper powers
within ourselves
come when life
seems most challenging.

to the pain and ferocity of life
is negativism to life.

We are not there
until we can say
“yea” to it all.

To take a righteous attitude
toward anything is to denigrate it.

Awe is what moves us forward.

As you proceed through life,
following your own path,
birds will shit on you.
Don’t bother to brush it off.

Getting a comedic view
of your situation
gives you spiritual distance.
Having a sense of humor saves you.

Follow your bliss.

The heroic life is living the individual adventure.

There is no security
in following the call to adventure.

Nothing is exciting
if you know
what the outcome is going to be.

To refuse the call
means stagnation.

What you don’t experience positively
you will experience negatively.

You enter the forest
at the darkest point,
where there is no path.

Where there is a way or path,
it is someone else’s path.

You are not on your own path.

If you follow someone else’s way,
you are not going to realize
your potential.

is a dimension
of here and now.

The divine lives within you.

Live from your own center.

Your real duty
is to go away from the community
to find your bliss.

The society is the enemy
when it imposes its structures
on the individual.

On the dragon there are many scales.
Everyone of them says “Thou Shalt.”

Kill the dragon “Thou Shalt.”

When one has killed that dragon,
one has become The Child.

Breaking out
is following your bliss pattern,
quitting the old place,
starting your hero journey,
following your bliss.

You throw off yesterday
as the snake sheds its skin.

The goal of the hero trip
down to the jewel point
is to find those levels in the psyche
that open, open, open,
and finally open to the mystery
of your Self being
Buddha consciousness
or the Christ.

That’s the journey.

It is all about finding
that still point in your mind
where commitment drops away.

It is by going down into the abyss
that we recover the treasures of life.

Where you stumble,
there lies your treasure.

The very cave you are afraid to enter
turns out to be the source of
what you are looking for.
The damned thing in the cave
that was so dreaded
has become the center.

You find the jewel,
and it draws you off.

In loving the spiritual,
you cannot despise the earthly.

The purpose of the journey
is compassion.

When you have come past
the pairs of opposites,
you have reached compassion.

The goal is to bring the jewel
back to the world,
to join the two things together.

The separateness
apparent in the world
is secondary.

Beyond that world of opposites
is an unseen (but experienced)
unity and identity in us all.

Today, the planet is
the only proper “in group.”

You must return
with the bliss
and integrate it.

The return is seeing
the radiance everywhere.

Sri Ramakrishna said:
“Do not seek illumination
unless you seek it
as a man whose hair is on fire
seeks a pond.”

If you want the whole thing,
the gods will give it to you.
But you must be ready for it.

The goal is to live
with godlike composure
on the full rush of energy,
like Dionysus riding the leopard,
without being torn to pieces.

A bit of advice
given to a young Native American
at the time of his initiation:

“As you go the way of life,
you will see a great chasm.


It is not as wide as you think.”

Living in the World

Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, “This is what I need.”
It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment—not discouragement—you will find the strength is there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow.

Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.