The narrative pattern of much of the world’s mythology known as “The Hero’s Journey” has been most famously described by Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero With a Thousand Faces. It is a cyclical journey that involves setting out from home to go on an adventure of truth-seeking and self-discovery, only to return right back where we started. Coming to truth is never a comfortable task because it means leaving behind or even destroying the past, although—if completed properly—we eventually reestablish this lost connection. The difference is what happens within. The conquest of any great hero’s journey is that of the mind: through an outward journey in the external world, we come to better understand ourselves and thus gain more control over our minds, our egos, and consequently establish a kind of harmony between the self and the environment as we discover that truth comes from within. We also see that life is cyclical and that it is more about the journey itself rather than a particular destination. The beginning and end prove to not be so different.
One Universal God
“We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man. We have all seen this when doing arithmetic. When I have started a sum the wrong way, the sooner I admit this and go back and start over again, the faster I shall get on. There is nothing progressive about being pigheaded and refusing to admit a mistake. And I think if you look at the present state of the world, it is pretty plain that humanity has been making some big mistake. We are on the wrong road. And if that is so, we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on.”
“If God had so willed, He would have made you one community, but He wanted to test you through that which He has given you, so race to do good: you will all return to God and He will make clear to you the matters you differed about.”
“Did you think We had created you in vain, and that you would not be brought back to Us?"
“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.”
"Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."
“And the importance of cosmogony for mystical speculation is equally exemplified by the case of Jewish mysticism. The consensus of Kabbalistic opinion regards the mystical way to God as a reversal of the procession by which we have emanated from God[…]It is here that Kabbalism comes nearest to Neoplatonic thought, of which it has been said with truth that ‘procession and reversion together constitute a single movement, the diastole-systole, which is the life of the universe.’ Precisely this is also the belief of the Kabbalist.”
“Briefly; the journey of the soul is necessary. The pathway of life is the road which leads to divine knowledge and attainment. Without training and guidance the soul could never progress beyond the conditions of its lower nature which is ignorant and defective.”
“Though the fact of ‘Return’ is mentioned in the Divine Books, by this is intended the return of the qualities, characters, perfections, truths and lights, which re-appear in every age, and not of certain persons and souls. For example: If we say this lamp is the return of that of last night, or that the last year's flower hath returned in the garden, in this sense the return of the individual, or identity, or personality is not meant; nay, rather, it is intended that the same qualities and states existing in that lamp or flower, which are now seen in this lamp or flower, have returned.”
''There are hundreds of paths up the mountain, all leading to the same place, so it doesn't matter which path you take. The only person wasting time is the one who runs around the mountain, telling everyone that his or her path is wrong. "
“We say true existence comes from emptiness and goes back again into emptiness. What appears from emptiness is true existence. We have to go through the gate of emptiness.”
“Lieh Tzu was following the Tao and one day he was eating by the roadside and saw a one-hundred-year-old skull, which he pulled clear of the weeds and addressed, saying, ‘Just you and I know that you never died nor were you ever born. Does this distress you? Do I really enjoy myself? Where does everything come from?[...]Sheep’s Groom comes together in intercourse with bamboo that has not put forth any shoots for years and they give birth to Green Peace plants. These give birth to leopards, leopards give birth to horses, horses give birth to humans, humans eventually sink back to what was in the beginning. All the multitudes of life arise from the mystery of beginning and return there.”
“Death helps the unscrupulous person to put an end to the misery of desire. Death, then, for everyone, is a kind of homecoming. That is why the ancient sages speak of a dying per son as a person who is ‘going home’ On the other hand, a living person is a traveling person. Normally, if a traveler fails to find home when his journeys are over, everyone will agree that this person has lost his way. However, in the journey of life, many travelers only know how to wander but do not know how to return home. And yet people do not see that these travelers have likewise lost their way.”
“As in the case of making a mound, if, before the very last basketful, I stop, then I shall have stopped. As in the case of levelling the ground, if, though tipping only one basketful. I am going forward, then I shall be making progress.”
“The hero, therefore, is the man or woman who has been able to battle past his personal and local historical limitations to the generally valid, normally human forms. Such a one’s visions, ideas, and inspirations come pristine from the primary springs of human life and thought. Hence they are eloquent, not of the present, disintegrating society and psyche, but of the unquenched source through which society is reborn."
“Then will everything that was taken from you be returned, as to Job, a thousandfold; then you will be—back where you started, as the foolish say in their mockery; they do not know that it is one thing to stay at home, and quite another to return home after one has been abroad for a great length of time.”
“It is only when we understand the truth of daily existence that we can go far. You must begin near to go far but most of us want to jump, to begin far without understanding what is close. As we understand the near, we shall find the distance between the near and the far is not. There is no distance—the beginning and the end are one.”
“A man in the view of absolute goodness, adores, with total humility. Every step so downward, is a step upward. The man who renounces himself, comes to himself.”
“That’s the drama. So, to be frank and sum up my metaphysics: there’s the central self—you can call it God or whatever you like—and it’s all of us. And it’s playing all the parts of every single being throughout the universe, and it’s playing the game of hide-and-seek with itself. It gets involved in far-out adventures, it gets lost, but in the end, it always wakes up and comes back to itself. And when you’re ready to wake up, you’re going to wake up. And if you’re not ready to wake up yet, you’ll keep pretending that you’re just some “poor little me.”
“Without going out your door
you can know the whole world
without looking out your window
you can know the Way of Heaven
the farther people go
the less they know
sages therefore know without traveling
name without seeing
and succeed without trying”
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.”
"The Lord had said to Abram, 'Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.'"
“The sage sees his role as that of a wanderer, sees knowledge as a curse, convention as a glue, virtue as just a means, and effort as common trade.”