In the end, there can be only one.
— famous quote from the movie, Highlander
Are we set up to fail on the hero’s journey no matter what choices we make? If so, is the point to teach us discomfort and humility on our way to individuation? Who lays out this path for us?
We think of heroes as the brave ones among us, and so if you’re on a personal hero’s journey you might tell yourself you’re doing the yeoman’s work. But in a certain sense you are the cowardice of the brain, for the internal hero’s journey is one of cowardice pretending to be brave, valiantly fighting aspects of self as external villains. If its goal is either self-empowerment or self-improvement through taming our shadow sides, then there is no death of self. Instead, there is the realization of a greater definition of self even harder to crack.
Typically, the male hero’s journey involves integrating the feminine, and the female the masculine because one of the universal lessons is about integrating that which we neglect. Enlightenment, as we talk about it here, involves bringing the aspects of you to light that you’ve hidden from yourself, so that the brain understands itself completely and therefore sees the need to dissolve the self for Truth to be the case. Truth, then, integrates and exercises other neglected aspects of the body/psyche so that all aspects of us are sharply conscious and thus prepared for the greater integration within the wholeness transcending and including us. In wholeness, the self is not blinded as a separate entity. Truth is not related to as if an entity apart from self. All is one movement in Being and Being is inseparably you.
The hero’s journey is an evolvement of the person such that one may better navigate the world. Enlightenment is the ending of personhood per se, so that one transcends and includes the world. Navigation, for such a one, comes naturally, choicelessly, not as a teaching and a memory. One need be of sound mind to hear this and so, in that sense, going through a hero’s journey can be beneficial if one remains unattached to the stronger, bolder sense of identity and confidence one becomes.
So many of us feel the lure of Mystery and interpret it as a calling to be something greater than we are. We want so badly to be acting from a higher self, or on behalf of an invisible community of higher beings that we rest in our individuation and call it endgame. Game, yes. But it’s never-ending. It’s never-ending because the lure of Mystery, the tugging in the gut, never ceases and the world will always accommodate us with more world to remain in.
And so higher and higher we climb, searching for the source. If we’re clever, we’ll tell ourselves we are the source. It’s clever because technically it isn’t wrong, but stating it has no meaning. Just try seeing the fullness of that fact as a climber. As the self who feels right about the path you’re on and is taught to trust your gut. As the hero who must act, not take time out to understand so fully that the act drops.
The hero dropping the hero act gets interpreted as the hero losing footing on the climb to glory. And that carries with it the fear of falling, which keeps the hero attached to the journey. All of that is the fear of death in action. And here we are again, struggling to find our truth as a means to never be Truth because Truth does no coexist with struggle, and the self is struggle.
Remember this always, wise one: Your truth is not Truth. And there can be only one.