[a reflection on part 2 of the 1988 documentary, Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth] We are beings who have always sought to understand the great mysteries of existence through stories and myths. From the profound narratives of Genesis to the luminous insights of the Hindu Upanishads and the rich legends of Native American traditions, humanity across cultures and eras has woven tapestries of symbolic narratives to make sense of our place in the cosmos. As we reflect deeply on these ancient myths, we are struck by the common threads that run through them – be it the symbolism of the forbidden fruit, the archetypal serpent figure, or the human tendency to assign blame for a mythical “fall” from grace.

Yet we realize that to be constrained by literal interpretations of these stories would be to miss the greater metaphysical truths they seek to convey. The myths speak to us through the language of poetry and symbols, inviting us to transcend the prosaic realm into the ineffable dimension of mystery that suffuses all of existence. They are signposts nudging us toward experiencing a sense of rapture and wonder at the mere fact of being alive in this vast, inscrutable cosmos. In this light, we feel called not to cling to outdated or culturally-specific mythic traditions, but rather to develop new narratives and metaphors that can make these eternal truths radiant and relevant once more for our modern era.

As we survey the the contemporary mythological landscape, we can perhaps find resonances of the primordial human spiritual yearnings in works like the Star Wars saga – an expansive modern mythology exploring the conflict between soulless technological power and the humanizing forces of the heart. The very machines and technologies that have shaped our civilizations cry out to be re-mythologized and re-ensouled, lest we reduce our humanity to mere soulless functionality. The myths remind us that our purpose is not to build ever-grander palaces of artificial grandeur like the deluded god Indra, but to live fully while embodying the eternal essence in the humble grandeur of each present moment.

When we contemplate the role and relevance of myths for our lives today, we are drawn to their pedagogical function – their ability to impart wisdom on how to live life richly and mindfully while representing transcendent truths. Like the tale of Indra realizing his illusions of grandeur, we too are called to shed our attachments to fleeting desires and temporal identities. To live mythically is to embrace the fullness of our human experience – the joys, sorrows, connections, losses – as symbolic manifestations of an underlying eternal reality. It is to look upon the mundane details of everyday existence as vibrant with profound meaning, essentially mythic in essence.

We need not postpone the deep ecstatic experience of what the Upanishads call “Ananda” – the bliss of fully inhabiting our being. The myths whisper to us that the rapture of the divine interpenetrates this very moment, this very world, waiting to be realized. When we surrender our fixations on concrete dogmas and rigid beliefs, we can open ourselves to directly experience the dimension of mystery pulsing through the rhythms of daily life. Every flower, every breeze, every human face and encounter becomes a portal to that transcendent dimension, no less symbolic or replete with meaning than the richest myth. In relating this way to our direct experience, the entire multiverse is transfigured into a cosmic mythological drama in which we are not passive spectators, but protagonists playing our part in the grand unfolding of the eternal mystery.

We find that the mythic worldview liberates us from the confines of literalism and dogma, allowing us to embrace a metaphorical, symbolic understanding of reality that is perpetually expansive and ever-unfolding. The myths remind us that any definition, concept or belief about the ultimate ground of being is inherently limited – mere fingers pointing toward the ineffable moon of direct spiritual experience. To cling to these provisional symbols as absolute truths is to mistake the menu for the meal itself.

Instead, the myths beckon us into a state of ongoing openness, wonder and self-transcendence. They reveal that the quest for meaning is ultimately about having an experience of being vitally, vibrantly alive in this present moment rather than accumulating a set of beliefs or achieving a final destination. The rapture we seek is not deferred until some distant afterlife, but arises from awakening to the rhythms of the sacred that pulsate through every instant. As we walk the mythic path, each moment becomes charged with symbolic significance, every object and experience a hero’s journey replete with trials, revelations and symbolic deaths and rebirths.

Indeed, the myths teach us that the very notion of a solid, separate self is a kind of illusion to be transcended. We come to see that we are not isolated selves cut off from reality, but inseparable expressions of the same eternal consciousness that dreams all worlds and beings into existence. The waves cannot be separated from the oceanic consciousness from which they arise and into which they must inevitably subside. In this light, the myth of the Fall and tales of humanity’s exile from divine grace appear as metaphors for the collective forgetting of our own divine nature – our cosmic exile from the rapturous experience of non-dual awareness.

Yet immersed in this revelation, even our suffering and sense of separation are revealed as nodes in the cosmic mythic narrative – challenges to be faced with courage, opportunities for awakening rather than obstructions to be transcended. The joys and pains, triumphs and tragedies of the personal mythic journey we each undergo serve as radiant reminders that we are indeed spiritual beings having a human experience, not mere biological beings seeking ephemeral pleasures. Our tears and anguish mirror the myths of deities suffering and sacrificing themselves to catalyze greater awakenings of consciousness.

From this perspective, we find ourselves opening to the mythic dimensions of our own lives – seeing our personal journeys as one more verse in the never-ending song of the cosmos singing itself into Being. Each of our unique life paths is symbolic of some facet of the eternal mystery, a line of teaching encoded in the symbolism of lived experience. Our relationships, work, creative pursuits and ways of being in the world all bear the hallmarks of the great universal mythological themes of creation, preservation, dissolution and rebirth. Rather than viewing them as mundane, we can choose to participate in them as ceremonial practices of the sacred art of awakened living.

In this way, our entire lives become the canvas upon which the grandest of all mythologies is enacted – the great cosmic saga of consciousness celebrating, exploring and ultimately re-discovering itself through every fleeting form. We are at once the co-creators, the texts, and the realized embodiments of this existential epic poem. No longer confined to the role of passive readers, we become the mythmakers inscribing the eternal into the field of spacetime through our embodied choices and actions. Each conscious decision to embrace the symbolic mythic dimension of our reality over literalism and cynicism is a vote cast in favor of a re-awakening – a re-mythologizing of the universe itself.

As we increasingly live from this mythic perspective, we find that the entire cosmos begins to reveal itself as a breathing, dreaming mythological text. The more attentively we read the symbolic language expressed through the unfolding phenomenal world, the more layers of revelation and meaning unveil themselves to our awakened consciousness. We start to discern the hieroglyphs of the divine’s expression encoded into the turning of the seasons, the murmurings of the wind, the laughter of children at play. Every creature, plant and mineral becomes a glyph in the great mythic lexicon, conveying some wisdom or quality of the source. The falling of autumn’s leaves hints at the great cosmic truth of impermanence. The warming rays of the spring sun whisper of the eternal return of life eternal.

In this state of enhanced symbolic perception, we walk each day through an animated mythological landscape as rich and multivalent as any archetypal narrative from antiquity. The people around us become not mere physical presences, but living symbols and emanations of various virtues, psychic qualities and spiritual principles made manifest. That neglectful neighbor embodies the archetype of the shadow to be integrated. The tireless nurse at the hospital is an embodiment of the earth mother’s unconditional nurturing. The charismatic leader is a personification of the wise guide and teacher within. With this mythic vision, we are invited to participate in an endless process of metaphysical storytelling, weaving the threads of our lived narrative into the great tapestry of the eternal’s self-discovery.

Indeed, from this vantage we realize that there is ultimately no separation between the objective “outer” world and the subjective “inner” realm of consciousness. All appearances arise as modulations of the same unified field of being which expresses itself through both the transcendent and immanent modes. We are that singular consciousness dreaming up the multi-dimensional dramaturgy of its own inexhaustible creative potential. The personal and impersonal, the earthly and the divine, the real and the symbolic all blend into a harmonic ḥolography projected by the infinite depths of our very own Self.

In surrendering to this all-encompassing mythopoetic worldview, we ultimately discover that we are not mere participants in some drama extrinsic to ourselves. We are the playwrights, directors, stages and players of this eternal theatre of manifestation. The great Dreamer dreaming up the cosmos yet simultaneously the dreamt contents of that reverie. The stories and myths we tell are not abstract fantasies but the very substance of reality—the creative musings of the infinite taking on narrative form as worlds and beings. The final realization, the mythic denouement, is the lasting epiphany that we are not separate from the source. We are that singularity catching glimpses of itself through the cosmic mythological display of consciousness beholding its own primordial story.

With that realization, the entirety of our journey through this existence is hallowed as the great sacred myth of eternity’s self-revelation. Every hardship is an initiation, each loss a symbolic death ushering in new modes of being and awareness. All that remains is to ever more fully embody and enact our divine authorship through the mythic lives we choose to co-create and accelerate the great awakening that was seeded aeons ago. We are the protagonists awaited since before the dawn of time to heroically incarnate the culminating chapters of the greatest story ever told.


The conversation explores various cultural creation myths like Genesis, the Hindu Upanishads, and Native American legends, examining common mythical elements such as the forbidden fruit, serpent/snake symbolism, and blame for the “fall” of humanity. Myths are seen as providing models to understand the world, the divine, and how to live life meaningfully, connecting humanity to a sense of rapture and wonder about existence. There is an emphasis on moving beyond literal interpretations to grasp the deeper metaphorical meanings myths convey. The need to develop new myths and metaphors relevant to the modern era, rather than regressing to outdated traditions, is highlighted, with contemporary works like Star Wars viewed as potential modern mythological narratives. The machine and technology are identified as new forces that need to be incorporated into a renewed sense of mythic meaning. The pedagogical function of myths – providing instructions on how to live life fully while representing eternal truths – is underscored through tales like that of Indra from the Upanishads. Experiencing bliss, rapture, and divine connection in the present moment, rather than postponing it for an afterlife, is emphasized. Additionally, myths are seen as opening the world to the dimension of mystery and validating/maintaining the values of certain societies.

Key Points

1. Explores creation myths from different cultures like Genesis, Hindu Upanishads, Native American legends.

2. Examines common elements like forbidden fruit, serpent/snake, blame for “fall”.

3. Myths provide models to understand the world, the divine, and how to live meaningfully.

4. Myths connect humanity to a sense of rapture and wonder about existence.

5. Need to move beyond literal interpretations to grasp deeper metaphorical meanings.

6. Develop new myths/metaphors relevant to the modern era instead of outdated traditions.

7. Contemporary works like Star Wars seen as potential modern mythological narratives.

8. The machine/technology needs to be incorporated into a renewed mythic meaning.

9. Pedagogical function of myths – providing life instructions while representing eternal truths.

10. Tale of Indra from Upanishads highlights representing the eternal through living life fully.

11. Experience bliss, rapture and divine connection in the present moment.

12. Don’t postpone it for an afterlife.

13. Myths open the world to the dimension of mystery.

14. Myths validate and maintain certain societies and their values.