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Culture

The Hero’s Journey

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4 Questions to Begin Your Spiritual Adventure

What would our world be like without stories? What kind of people would we be, for without our stories—our triumphs, tragedies, struggles and resolutions—how much of what makes us truly human would remain?

Built within our hearts is the capacity to empathize, to feel emotionally invested in not only our own plotlines, but those of other people, even the historical or fictitious. Sharing stories presents us with the opportunity to step inside someone else’s world, learning things from their experiences which, with the right amount of reflection, can be applied to our own lives.

Unificationist tradition is deeply rooted in the idea of “living for the sake of others” by striving together to create meaningful and lasting change in the world. Honorable as it sounds and easy as it is to say, actually living in this way can be a formidable challenge. In such moments of feeling overwhelmed, perhaps it is our beloved stories of old which hold the secrets to living such a life.

This video explains “The Hero’s Journey” as identified by Joseph Campbell. A time-tested story-building formula used since the beginning of storytelling itself, this structure centers around a protagonist who receives a “Call to Action,” ventures into an unknown world, overcomes obstacles and achieves victory, returning to the status quo as a profoundly changed person.

Found everywhere from The Odyssey to The Hunger Games, the Hero’s Journey has proven again and again to resonate with something deep within the hearts of readers. It clearly makes for a great story—but could such a formula come alive in our own life story?

In the video above, TED Talk presenter Matthew Winkler believes precisely that, urging viewers to reflect on our lives and consider answering the call to manifest our dreams or overcome our fears, taking a bold step forward in our growth as the protagonist of our own life. For the truly ambitious, we can take Winkler’s call to action one step further and allow the Hero’s Journey to intertwine with our own spiritual journey.

Our Call to Adventure

We are all poised for the pursuit of a deeper, more profound understanding of the meaning behind our lives—and, just as Father Moon experienced on his Easter morning “Call to Adventure,” God is always prepared to help us find the answers, if we choose to seek them. At the time, Father Moon did not regard himself as a person of any great importance; he simply felt a longing to understand the more painful side of God’s heart. By making the effort to ask God the questions that plagued him, Father Moon took the first steps on his own Hero’s Journey. Might it be the journey God hopes for us all to take?

Here are some questions we can use to examine our own Hero’s Journey, and consider the deeper life it invites us to live:

What Unknown World Awaits?

Embarking on a spiritual journey begins with a longing for something more and an innate certainty that a better and more genuine world is possible. Look around you, what feels incomplete, or falling short of its own potential? Could a choice you make change the course of that incompleteness?

What is Your Superpower?

More likely than not, you already have a wealth of skills and talents that you can use to serve those around you. Is there any particular skill or talent that seems to transcend the others, something that, when you engage it, feels almost spiritual? Maybe that’s because it is!

What’s Your Kryptonite?

Whether it comes in the form of an insecurity, a desire to be accepted or a fear of not being good enough, we all have our weaknesses. What stops you dead in your tracks, and what sort of fear might lie at its core?

Who Is Your Mentor?

We all seek a Dumbledore, Gandalf, Yoda or Glinda to help us navigate the road ahead. Is there someone in your life—a parent, teacher, friend or pastor—who might be able to fill this role for you?

The Hero’s Journey plot structure has provided a solid framework for some of history’s greatest journeys and can continue to guide many stories to come…how about yours?