The mystery of mankind

We all use labels to describe who we are – a mother; baker; blonde; lazy – but such narrow definitions limit who we really are and who we can be.

‘Science has dispelled many traditional myths so that we no longer believe them. There are, however, still many mysteries to be solved, especially those that are within us all
Man himself is now the crucial mystery. Man is that alien presence with whom the forces of egoism must come to terms, through whom the ego is to be crucified and resurrected, and in whose image society is to be reformed. Man, understood however not as “I” but as “Thou”: for the ideals and temporal institutions of no tribe, race, continent, social class, or century, can be the measure of the inexhaustible and multifariously wonderful divine existence that is the life in all of us.’

Joseph Campbell. The Hero with a Thousand Faces

As a child, you saw things afresh, but as you grew up, things became familiar and no longer exciting. A rainbow doesn’t get you jumping for joy, washing the dishes isn’t a fun task and you ignore a plane flying past. Mindfulness encourages you to reinvigorate the miracle of being alive and see things with a beginner’s mind. The fact that you’re alive is a huge mystery itself. By being mindful, you can begin to live in this exciting way, as if everything is miraculous.’

Shamash Alidina and Joelle Jane Marshall. Mindfulness Workbook for Dummies.


* In a series of posts I call mythology Monday, I look at quotes from the work of mythologist Joseph Campbell and consider them alongside extracts from books and papers on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and related publications.

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