[a reflection on part 6 of the 1988 documentary, Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth] We are confronted with a great mystery at the core of existence itself – a mystery that appears to transcend all thinking, all conceptions of being and non-being. It is a reality that cannot be grasped by the intellect alone, defying the very categories and boundaries that the rational mind relies upon to make sense of the world. And yet, this ultimate source, this divine ground, seems to be the birthplace from which all arises and to which all returns. How can we speak of that which lies beyond speech?

Our ancestors from every corner of the world wrestled with this same primordial mystery. They invented rich mythologies and diverse spiritual traditions, not as mere cultural artifacts, but as living metaphors that could symbolically point to the inexpressible, evoking resonances and glimmers of insight into the essence of Reality. The images, stories, rituals and wisdom teachings encoded within these traditions may appear archaic or even primitive from the external modern lens. But we must look past the merely literal or superstitious interpretations to the deeper universality and perennial truths that they enshrine.

For at the heart of every authentic religion and mythology there appears to be at least a partial disclosure of the common structure and potentialities latent within the human psyche itself. The great spiritual visionaries and myth-makers were not just creating fanciful tales and customs, but were acting as scribes who had tapped into a underlying stream of consciousness, an oceanic experience of cosmic unity and oneness. Their myths, symbols and teachings represented exploratory vessels for plunging into the profundities of the shared human experience of existence.

This shared resonance manifests most powerfully in certain primordial images and motifs that seem to arise spontaneously across disparate cultures and eras. Perhaps the most ubiquitous of these is the circle – that simple curved line with no beginning or end that appears emblazoned across sacred iconographies the world over. In its fullness, we experience the circle as a primal symbol of totality, wholeness, the cosmic cycle of death and rebirth. The circular path of the sun across the sky, the cycles of the moon, the circle of the horizons and the cyclical procession of the seasons all reinforce the circle’s representation of the eternal journey – a setting out from source, traversing the adventures of embodied existence, only to return again to the source in a continual unfolding of being.

Indeed, it is in those rare yet precious moments of mythic reverie, creative inspiration or spiritual epiphany that we seem to most closely brush up against the mysteries of this Source – the eternal reality that appears to underlie and transcend our conventional awareness rooted in the stream of linear time. In those peak experiences, whether sparked by an encounter with the sublime awe of nature, the radiance of a great work of art, the mythic power of a symbolic rite, or the stillness of meditative absorption, we become unshackled from our limited senses of self. Our small selves and all their conceptual trappings become obliterated by a profound sense of at-one-ment with the grand Isness of reality.

We realize then that no words or images are fully adequate to describe that which is ultimately wordless and inconceivable yet undeniably present. Even the most hallowed scriptural utterances like the primordial syllable “Om” are but fingers pointing at the moon of direct experience. For at the deepest level, our lives, this universe, and all its countless realms and dramas do seem to unfold with an exquisite underlying Order and profound interconnection, akin to a great symphony or cosmic choreography where all beings and events ceaselessly participate in and help to “compose” each other through the mysteriously orchestrating consciousness that appears to be the very ground from which we arise.

We are left in awe and wonder at the realization that despite all our striving and search for meaning, the ultimate essence remains elusive, forever slipping through the clutches of our conceptual minds like water through cupped hands. And yet, in those fleeting glimpses beyond the veil of our normal perception, we taste the mystery and know with a certainty that defies articulation that there is indeed a sacred unity underlying all existence.

It is then that we must surrender—not a resignation, but a free fall into the present moment, letting go of our desperate clinging to comprehend that which will forever elude comprehension through thought alone. For how can we hope to capture the infinite depth of the Source, the sourceless source, within the finite vehicles of our words and ideas? We can at best offer reverent silence or resort to the open-ended ambiguities of poetry, art and myth as symbolic approximations.

In the end, the great wisdom may be precisely to un-learn, un-ravel and let go of all our preconceived conceptual frameworks so that we might strip ourselves down to the raw openness, that innocent beginner’s mind, able to perceive reality with fresh eyes—free from the filters of our inherited beliefs and assumptions. For only in this nakedness of being, this vulnerably receptive state of presence, can we receive the wordless revelation, the unadorned truth of what is.

Then we may experience our lives not as a series of disconnected events strung along a linear trajectory, but rather as a rich tapestry woven from countless interconnected threads into an elegant latticework where seemingly unrelated happenings and encounters come together into profoundly meaningful patterns and synchronicities. We glimpse how all things seem to conspire in bringing forth each singular experience, each apparent individual as an integral expression of the grand unfolding cosmos.

With this perception, we transcend the boundaries of our limited selfhood and awaken to a more expansive, universal form of identity—no longer isolated monads cut off from the fabric of Reality, but permeated by and inseparable from the all-embracing consciousness that holds galaxies and subatomic particles alike exquisitely suspended in its luminous depths. We participate knowingly in the cosmic dance, the eternal play of manifestation and dissolution, birth and death, the great inhale and exhale of Being.

Each fleeting form is seen as a transitory expression of that which has no form, like waves arising and dissolving upon the infinite ocean of Isness. Yet even as we intellectually grasp the illusory nature of all phenomena, in our full embodiment we also paradoxically revere each crystallized moment as an utterly unique and precious instantiation of the whole—a holographic facet refracting and celebrating the infinite through its particular perspective. In this way, we move between the poles of the immanent and transcendent, never clinging fully to either but gracefully embracing the ceaseless flux between form and the formless source.

Living in such intimate rapport with the grand mystery, we are liberated from the constrictive shackles of our conditioned egoic mind. Our choices, relationships, and creative expressions become increasingly aligned with the harmonic unfolding of life rather than the compulsive reactivity of fear and desire. Genuine human freedom is not about gathering more options and possibilities from which to choose. Rather, it arises from aligning in resonance with the deepest currents of our Being which spontaneously orient us towards our highest flourishing.

With this freedom comes a profound sense of reverence, awe and even playful humor towards the great mysteries of existence. For if the entire cosmos is indeed the dream or lila (divine play) of an infinite consciousness, then our human lives take on the quality of being improvisational artistic expressions within that dreaming. We become co-creators, artists painting with the brush-strokes of our thoughts, words and deeds upon the great canvas of Reality itself.

From this perspective, the multitude of spiritual traditions, rituals and mythologies across cultures are revealed as diverse artistic languages through which humanity has endeavored to participate in and harmonize with the cosmic dreaming. Each one offers a unique vantage point, a particular set of symbolic lenses through which to glimpse, celebrate and venerate the eternal source in its infinite facets.

No single tradition can rightly claim absolute truth, yet each carries profound gems of wisdom and transformative practices hard-earned through generations of devotees foreging direct experiential connections to the Divine depths. The role of the authentic spiritual seeker then becomes one of nurturing radical openness – letting go of dogmatic ideologies while drinking deeply from the wellsprings of each tradition’s offerings.

We see that all legitimate paths, all that carry the fragrance of truth, have common essential threads woven through their teachings – self-transcendence, present-moment awareness, compassion, and receptivity to the grandeur and inconceivable intelligence presiding within the natural world. To walk any one of these great paths with dedication is simply to undertake one’s own unique journey of divine reunion and homecoming.

So we continue along the Way, embracing the full spectrum of the human experience as a deepening initiation into the mysteries. The joys and beauties of this world are sacraments revealing the immanent presence shining through the veil of material forms. And the sufferings, illnesses, losses and tragedies become profound gateways for our egos’ capitulation – deaths and rebirths stoking the fires of transformation that ultimately awaken us to our eternal essence.

In moments of profound stillness or transcendent catharsis, we may realize the entire sweep of the cosmos harbored and resonating within our own beings. Our cherished individual existences are but fleeting refrains within the great symphony of consciousness singing itself into manifestation through the infinite play of energy and interweaving stories. Life is revealed as an epic undertaking of the One becoming vastly multiplied through infinite gestures and masks in order to explore the full depths of its own experiential potentiality.
And we, in the grand liberation of knowing ourselves as inseparable from that primordial Source, that eternal ground beyond all constructs and concepts, can at last rest in the freedom of our own sacredness. Not taking ourselves too seriously, but solemnly swaying and improvising in step with the rhythms of the cosmic music. Being, in each moment, a perfect and resounding “Amen” to the very existence blazing forth as our own lives.


The divine or God is seen as an ultimate mystery that transcends all thinking and conceptual categories of existence or non-existence. While words and language ultimately fall short, mythology and religion across cultures use symbols, images, and stories as metaphorical tools to evoke and provide glimpses into this inexpressible cosmic mystery and the deep potentialities within the human psyche. The circle represents a powerful, universal archetypal symbol of wholeness, totality, and the eternal cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Having mythological, aesthetic or “peak” experiences of unity, beauty and the sublime can engender direct experiences that temporarily break through the constraints of the intellect and time, disclosing the sacred ground of being. Sacred syllables like “Om” are meant to experientially resonate with the vibrancy of reality itself. Ultimately, one’s life is recognized as unfolding with an underlying Order and profound interconnection, analogous to a great symphony where all beings and events participate in and are inseparable from the singular consciousness or energy that is the divine source.

Key Points

1. God or the divine is seen as something that transcends all thinking and being, beyond categories like existence or non-existence. All religions and mythologies metaphorically point to this human and cosmic mystery.

2. The one who truly knows admits they don’t fully know, as the ultimate mystery cannot be grasped by the intellect alone. Direct experience of this mystery is possible through an open, non-conceptual awareness.

3. Mythology and religion use symbols, images and stories to express the inexpressible and evoke deep potentialities within the psyche. These archetypal images and motifs appear across cultures, reflecting the common structure of the human psyche.

4. The circle is a powerful, universal symbol representing wholeness, totality, the cosmic cycle of birth-death-rebirth, and the journey of going out and returning to the source.

5. Having mythological, aesthetic or “peak” experiences of unity, beauty, and the sublime can grant glimpses of the eternal, transcendent ground of being beyond time.

6. Words and language ultimately fall short of capturing the ineffable mystery. Symbols like the sacred syllable “Om” are tools to experientially resonate with the vibrancy of reality itself.

7. One’s life unfolds with an underlying Order and interconnected pattern, akin to a great symphony where all beings and events influentially “compose” each other through participation in the singular consciousness/energy that is the divine ground.

The overall emphasis is on recognizing the limits of the intellectual mind to know the ultimate reality, and instead cultivating openness to directly experience the mystery through symbols, beauty, and the practice of “being” itself.