“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” – Albert Einstein
We all have a hero buried somewhere within us. For most of us this hero lies dormant, expressionless and cut off from the world. To connect with it is to begin the difficult path toward individuation and self-actualization. We, the hero initiates, discover our hidden hero through an inward journey broken up into four stages. This article covers the second stage: the encounter with the Inner Mentor.
For those of us who have not refused the call from the inner herald, our second encounter on the inward journey toward hero initiation is with the inner mentor, also known as the higher self, Super consciousness (Yoga), objective consciousness (Gurdjieff), Buddha consciousness (Buddhism), Cosmic consciousness (Hinduism), Christ consciousness (Christian Mysticism), The Übermensch (Nietzsche), and the Collective consciousness (Jung). As Joseph Campbell said, “One has only to know and trust and the ageless guardians will appear.” This ageless guardian is our own inner wisdom, representing the benevolent, sheltering competence of our potential destiny.
Each and every individual has a higher self. But just as the call to adventure can be difficult to hear, so too can the wisdom of our higher self be difficult to hear. Until we are able to, it can be argued that we are only partially aware of our own potential, as we are mostly preoccupied with subordinate emotions and lesser impulses.
As a result, we are not much more than sleepwalkers caught up in mechanical and neurotic modes of conduct, grinding through the hours of a meaningless day. Gurdjieff called this ordinary condition of humanity “waking sleep.” I call it the slumbering rank and file of the status quo. Either way, it’s a condition of precondition that our higher self can help us recondition. Joseph Campbell said it best, “A hero is not a champion of things become, but of things becoming; the dragon to be slain by him is precisely the monster of the status quo.”
Mindlessly marching in rank and file to the music of the status quo is one way to waste a good life, but it is antithetical to our purpose as hero initiates. Rousing ourselves from the “waking sleep” requires much self-discipline, but it can be achieved through daily mindful meditation, specifically on the third eye (Ajna) and crown (Sahasrara) chakras.
Opening the third eye chakra teaches us how to master our minds, how to see beyond our lesser impulses and past the doldrums of the daily grind. Opening our crown chakra teaches us interconnectedness and interdependence and how to transcend the oppressive soft-mindedness of the status quo.
Through meditation and examination of self-knowledge, we encounter the inner mentor. Through the inner mentor we learn about personal capacities that we were insensate to before. We learn how to focus our power and our energy effectively and efficiently. We are taught how to balance Ego with Soul. We are given new eyes. The path becomes radiant, clear beyond what we could fathom in the time before. Most of all, the inner mentor gives us support and the spiritual provisions we’ll need for the arduous journey still to come.
Through communion with our inner mentor we gain spiritual wisdom. By exercising our relationship with our higher self, we gain the ability to manifest our desired future. When we align our Ego with Soul our higher self is united with cosmos and we earn the capacity to create our own reality. Through such power our true destiny manifests itself. But the abyss is ever-present, glaring up at us and mocking our progress.
The threshold of the self is buckling, collapsing in on itself to reveal the journey is probably not what we thought it would be. It turns out we’ll need a good sense of humor to withstand the trials, tribulations, and vicissitudes of the heroic journey.
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