Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) wrote a pivotal book called The Hero with a Thousand Faces where he pointed out commonalities between various religious stories. The idea taken from that of the Hero’s Journey seems to fit many “coming of age”- type fictional stories like the Ramayana, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, various superhero stories, etc. It doesn’t fit others such as tragedies and comedies like Hamlet and Oedipus. Also, I’m not sure it fits Gilgamesh or Beowolf either, though they are ancient heroic epics. The Hero’s Journey, however is clearly an archetypal story and part of our human collective as Jung described, and is a useful story-structure to consider for our own life-story. We might even look at our relationship with meditation in this way. How did you first encounter the idea of meditation? What made you decide it was something you needed to do? As you learned to meditate when did you stop searching here and there and realize you just needed to practice? What was your impossible challenge that you overcame? how was your first experience of jhana? then after that how did you see yourself as a different person? Did you share your new experience with those who were with you when you started the journey? Personally I’ve gone through the full circle with Chapel as my starting/ending point. Maybe I’ll write my own little epic someday. Think about writing yours, even just for yourself.

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