Knowing What We Want

Raising Duncan Classics

To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.
—Robert Louis Stevenson

People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality….
–Joseph Campbell in “The Power of Myth”

I was lucky to know at an early age that I was looking for what Joseph Campbell was describing, long before I read his description. It took me a long time to figure out how to get that resonance, but it was enough to know what I wanted and that I could figure it out if I kept exploring. The search itself was an adventure worth having.

So what resonates with my “innermost being and reality”? Playing with ideas and sharing them with other people is a big part of it. (My Brain Is My Favorite Toy.) I’m a visual thinker so finding or creating images to help me express my ideas is another big part. Immersing myself in a Photoshop project is one of my favorite forms of meditation.

I’ve always been interested in history and biographies as a way of understanding the world, so at the moment I’m spending a lot of time not only on history but also following some of the revolutionary changes occurring in the world today. A lot of those changes are scary and upsetting, so I get almost daily practice in staying centered and using that emotional energy creatively. As well as practice in keeping my sense of humor.

It goes back to my basic philosophy

Stay curious and open to life. No matter what happens keep learning and growing. Find what you love to do and find a way to share it with others.

That’s what resonates for me. What about you? Do you feel that resonance that Campbell was writing about? If so what is it like for you? If not do you think it’s worth trying to find it?

Thanks to Mike, Evan, bikehikebabe, Rummuser, Cathy, Ursula , tikno and Magpie 11 for commenting on last week’s post.


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14 Responses to Knowing What We Want

  1. Mike says:

    I’m certainly not seeking the meaning of life and I don’t know that I’m actually seeking anything. I do like exploring though and right now I am doing a bit of that in historical documents, writings, and diaries from the days just before the civil war.
    Mike´s last blog post ..I’m part of a facebook “fan” page

  2. bikehikebabe says:

    If the world seems scary & upsetting, remember that all those things you worried about never happened.

    The world problems get to the brink before changes are made & we don’t fall off the cliff–if you get my meaning.

  3. Jean says:

    More simply Campbell is saying find what really turns you on. It sounds as if traveling, taking pictures and doing history does get you fully involved in your life. Am I wrong?

    I don’t waste time worrying, but I’m not sure I agree that people never fall off the cliff. A lot of people who suffered through World War I and World War II would disagree with you. I can think of a lot more examples, but the devastation of World War II affected the most people. We’ve been incredibly lucky to have been born at the right time and right place.

  4. Mike says:

    No, you’re not wrong, but for me, it’s less about any kind of seeking and more about just doing those things, if that makes sense.
    Mike´s last blog post ..I’m part of a facebook “fan” page

  5. Jean says:

    I no longer have to seek…that was years ago. My interests are completely different from the interests and expectations of the people around me when I was little. At the time the supposed roles of women were very limited.

    I had to do some exploring before I could figure out what worked for me. It sounds as if that wasn’t a problem for you. The important thing is you’re doing things you care about.

  6. Evan says:

    Well I think the sense of meaning has to do with the resonance that Joe was talking about. (Meaning is in the experience – lots of philosophical discussion to be had here.)

    For me it is connecting deeply with others or getting to the core/basics of something.

  7. Jean says:

    “For me it is connecting deeply with others or getting to the core/basics of something.” They’re important to me too. 🙂

  8. rummuser says:

    I am a great fan of Joseph Campbell’s. I agree in total with him and what resonates with you. I think that by now you would have seen that I am more than just curious and am keen to keep learning and growing.
    rummuser´s last blog post ..New Mast

  9. bikehikebabe says:

    I wasn’t clear. I meant in our personal lives we worried about things & they never happened.

  10. Jean says:

    “I think that by now you would have seen that I am more than just curious and am keen to keep learning and growing.”

    Yes and no. I see you as interested in learning many things, but I was actually thinking of you this morning when an old motto popped into my mind,

    If you’re stuck your world is too small.

    My view is that like all of us, your life would have more possibilities if you were more curious about some of the assumptions you make.

    It inspired me to check some of my own assumptions…one of my favorite games. One of the main reasons I taught/led personal growth classes/groups is because I had to practice what I preached. It insured that at least one person got something out of them. 🙂

    Have fun learning!

  11. bikehikebabe says:

    No use worrying about the world situation either. Global warming won’t destroy the earth. On the brink, we DO something about it.

    Overpopulation will not overtake the planet. China, for one, was doing something. I doubt that we’ll get bombed with rockets. America will get richer. The peace loving world will overtake those few terrorists.


    signed, Pollyanna

  12. Jean says:

    No doubt about it, Pollyanna was one happy child!

  13. Cathy in NZ says:

    I didn’t comment on this last week as I was right in the middle of ‘looking at a new meaning’ for my life and it wasn’t really the time to comment on it – but it was as if you had intended the ‘lesson’ for me then

    I have just in the last few days ‘resigned’ from that new avenue of meaning…nothing serious, not life threatening

    just interesting how sometimes, we move off on a side road in some attempt to work out why things are *** for me etc….that side road wasn’t the one I was looking for! 🙂

    sorry, can’t completely say what it was and why…because it’s not important – just sorry, I haven’t been commenting, Jean 🙂
    Cathy in NZ´s last blog post ..oops its been a few weeks but

  14. Jean says:

    Sometimes we have to try different things before we know what works for us. I appreciate your taking time from your busy life to comment when you have a chance. 🙂

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