Gaining a Sense of Your Own Destiny Through Personal Mythology
I think it’s incredibly important that each of us cultivate a knowing of our own personal mythology and a sense of our own destiny. These things intertwine past and future into a grand story – something bigger than our present circumstances.
This [having a sense of your own destiny] will provide you with an unwavering feeling of inner security, even in the face of your greatest challenges. It’s the knowing that you are “on path”, but it’s also a larger than life understanding that to be reborn we must be crucified. (DO Watch the four and a half minute video at the end of this entry.)
It’s more than the belief in fate, it’s loving that which is fated for you – all of it, because you know you are the hero of your own story, and even heroes face the mundane (from the Latin mundus, meaning “world”), and all heroes must face their own unique adversities (from the Latin adverture, meaning “to turn toward”).
It’s the ancient idea (From The Stoics) that the obstacles in our path become our path. This is the heroes journey that we are all taking. Knowing this will help guide you, and will greatly strengthen your inner intuition.
What Makes a Hero: Must Watch
Note: The seed of this idea came about from four separate things that came into my life.
The first was a therapist who told me that “It’s important that you cultivate your own personal mythology”, at the time I didn’t know what she meant and didn’t ask her to elucidate. The second was something I read in a book about Walt Disney, someone who knew him said “He had a sense of his own destiny”. The third was in reading Joseph Campbell’s Hero With a Thousand Faces, and The Power of Myth. And the final thing that reinforced this concept was reading The Obstacle is The Way, and of course, in my perpetual reading of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations.
I came across the following quote, which I felt should be added here. Ironically, I am a big Carl Jung reader; however, I certainly did not gain this notion from reading Jung as I had innately felt my own “sense of destiny” long before I knew of Jung; although, I am not surprised to have read the following quote from a man who was deeply in touch with his own inner world.
“From the beginning I had a sense of Destiny, as though my life was assigned to me by fate and had to be fulfilled. This gave me an inner security, and, though I could never prove it to myself, it proved itself to me. ‘I’ did not have this certainty, ‘it’ had me. ” C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections
Future Reading on Myth as a Mirror For The Ego
I want to continue exploring the idea of myth as a mirror for the ego, as Joseph Campbell called it. The following books have been added to my reading list:
- Personal Mythology: Using Ritual, Dreams, and Imagination to Discover Your Inner Story
- Pathways to Bliss: Mythology and Personal Transformation
- The Grand Design: A Meditation on Creativity, Ambition, and Building A Personal Mythology
Update: I am not a big fan of Ted talks; however, I was doing more research on personal myth after I published that and I came across a TEDx talk titled, Personal Myth Busters: Opening the Door to Possibility, and I am very glad I watched this talk all the way through as it led to the following.
The Stories We Tell: Creating Your Own Destiny Though Personal Myths
If personal mythology is your story on a grand scale, then personal myths are the slogans and paradigms that shape the way we see our lives on a daily basis. They are the myriad and often limiting lenses of our perception.
Viewing personal myth as slogans that define our limits and our destinies, Heather Evans gives a valuable talk on “the stories we tell each other (and ourselves) everyday”, and whether or not they are serving us. On the purpose of these micro-myths she says, “We create these myths because we find comfort in them”.
Heather Evans on Personal Myths as Limiting Slogans
In the talk she covers three phases of personal mythology. The first phase she describes our beliefs as being restricted to the myths we learn through our parents – even absurd ones, such as eating a watermelon seed and having a watermelon grow in you. These stories we grow up serve to keep us safe. The next phase she talks about is that we start playing with different personal myths – trying them on, much as someone would put a bumper-sticker on their car. During this phase of deciding what we want and “dipping our toe” in the water, these myths start playing themselves out in our lives. For example, the person who subscribes to the personal myth that “Everything is a lesson” begins to learn from everything – but not necessarily the lesson they need. As an aside on this, for a long time I subscribed to the personal myth that “I grew through adversity” – as such, I created a lot of adversity in my life. And the final stage, she doesn’t go into great detail on; however, she describes it as finding new myths by asking “what is calling me?” As an example of this shift, she provides a cartoon from the New Yorker, where a woman is saying “I don’t want to be defined by who I am”. We can learn a great deal here. By changing our personal myths – the stories we tell ourselves – we can change our life, and as I wrote about yesterday, perception is reality.
Personal Myth as Story Reading List
While the above reading list deals with personal mythology as a way to navigate our way through life, this list focuses on myths as stories that define the limits in our day to day lives.
- The Mythic Path: Discovering the Guiding Stories of Your Past — Creating a Vision for Your Future
- Change Your Story, Change Your Life: Using Shamanic and Jungian Tools to Achieve Personal Transformation
- Change Your Story, Change Your Life: A Path to Success
- The Power of Story: Change Your Story, Change Your Destiny in Business and in Life
Note: I just realized that I wrote about changing your life by changing your story almost exactly one year ago to the day, and in revisiting that entry tonight I have such a clearer perspective on the matter – so much so that some of the things I wrote in it are almost uncannily ironic. Having now watching this TEDx talk, it’s clear to me what my therapist had meant in telling me that it was important for me to cultivate my own personal mythology.
Interested in changing your stories?
Read this next, Meditations Session One: On Stories and The Waking Dream, Self-Worth, and Happiness