Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell

“The aim of all religious exercises is a psychological transformation. You can make up your own meditations and rites based on knowing, loving, and serving the deity in caring for your children, doctoring drunks, or writing books. Any work whatsoever can be a meditation if you have the sense that everything is ‘brahman’: the process, the doing, the thing that is being looked at, the one that is looking—everything.”

Joseph Campbell, A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living.

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Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell

“How does the ordinary person come to an experience of the transcendent? For a start, I would say, study poetry. Learn how to read a poem. You need not have the experience to get the message, or at least some indication of the message. It may come gradually. There are many ways, however, of coming to the transcendent experience.

“A significant approach is the way of ritual. A ritual allows us to participate in the enactment of a myth. One prepares internally to move with the image and the transcendent comes through.”

Joseph Campbell, Thou Art That, p.92-93

The missing message in today’s churches

The missing message in today’s churches

You don’t have to be a sociologist to know that we live in a culture of asphyxiating “performancism.” Performancism is the mindset that equates our identity and value directly with our performance. It casts achievements not as something we do or don’t do but as something we are (or aren’t). The money we earn, the car we drive, the schools we attend, aren’t merely reflective of our occupation or ability; they are reflective of us. They are constitutive rather than descriptive. In this schema, success equals life, and failure is tantamount to death.

Performancism leads us to spend our lives frantically propping up our image or reputation, trying to have it all, do it all, and do it all well, often at a cost to ourselves and those we love. Life becomes a hamster wheel of endless earning and proving and maintenance and management, where all we can see is our own feet. Before long we are living in a constant state of anxiety, fear, and resentment. A few years ago, Dr. Richard Leahy, an anxiety specialist, was quoted as saying, “The average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950s.”

As someone who loves the church, I am saddened by the perception of Christianity as a vehicle of moral control and good behavior, rather than a haven for the discouraged and dying.

God after the Death of God

God after the Death of God

A rather thorough overview of life, the universe, and everything (you know, everything) by Richard L. Rubenstein, via Andrew Sullivan.

by Richard L. Rubenstein (February 2013) When I reflect on the question of God after the death of God, I recall a crucial conversation with the late Swami Muktananda of Ganeshpuri that took place at a major turning p…