The Mythic Life
To live a mythic life is the potential of every man and woman. This is not a fanciful proposition but a practical solution to the robotic way of life devised by a global society hell bent on pursuing ever more effective ways to perpetuate its own unhappiness. True myth is discovered in the ordinary living experience and needs no psychic props to emotionalise the beauty of this glorious earth.
To gaze at night upon the starry sky with a sense of wonder opens the mind to the higher abstract levels within the psyche. The mind becomes still and attuned to the incoming current from reality when focussed on something more real and permanent. When this is practised regularly with gratitude to its depthless mystery, a communication is triggered from the mythic realm within the unconscious. What follows is a sense of being in touch with something vast and timeless. This then becomes a power to draw upon when invoked in the daily drama of the living life.
To perceive through the appearance of beauty in nature to the intelligence behind its creation is to begin to participate in the mythic life. Because we’ve become so distanced from the earth as intellectual beings, our bodies have hardened and reduced our innate sensitivity to the direct experience of life before it takes form. Within our bodies is a sense complex which translates the current of reality as a total reproduction of life every moment before differentiating into the five senses within the brain. As intelligence speeds up with developing stillness, the perception merges with this sense complex, which gives a totally fresh perspective on the natural wonder of the earth. This is the mysterious sixth sense, unified as all of the senses simultaneously.
Children live as mythic beings until infected by the disease of the world, which creates carbon copies of the unhappy adults who are, themselves, replicas of those who came before. To live a life as a mythic being is a preparation for death, which is a climacteric of our time on earth. In the proximity of death there’s often a crossover from the normal to the mythic perception of life. This is because the intelligence speeds up in heightened expectation of the moment of liberation from the sensory body. People approaching death often experience a great freedom as they perceive familiar objects and the environment as if for the first time. In this altered state of consciousness the outer word takes on a shimmering radiant quality. This is why older folk can often be seen on a bench gazing into the horizon, transfixed but strangely content within the space of their own mythic reality.
The mythic life embraces love and truth as the dual aspects of divine being. The pain and upheaval of dying for love is the mythic process in which we’re all involved, however long it takes to realise in time. Myth is the romance of life, which finds its truest expression in the love between man and woman. Making love becomes a myth when lovers unite in the purpose of being together on an adventure that has no end. Love merges into the truth behind existence as the beauty of the sensual exchange becomes finer. To live together as a mythic man and woman is to truly give to the situation of love in the flesh – and perhaps discover, on the way, the truth of the immortal love between the gallant knight and beautiful princess.
The ancients didn’t invent the myths; they’ve always been here as intrinsic aspects of the living reality of life on earth. Myth is the language of the spirit, which speaks to the part of us most receptive to the timeless quality of our sublime origins. The myth of Hylas and the Nymphs, as depicted in the wonderful painting by J.W. Waterhouse, has a special significance for me. In the myth Hylas, the son of a King, is in the service of Hercules and is replenishing a vessel with water. To his astonishment from the spring arise a number of beautiful maidens, the spirits of the water. Hylas is never seen again for, it was said, he remained ‘to share their power and their love’.
To conclude, here’s an episode from my own mythic life. A few years ago, when walking in the countryside, I paused by a stream and small pool where the water was crystal clear. As I sat with the sounds of the gentle current, I realised that there was no separation between what I perceived and the inner sensation within my body; I had merged with the spirit of water. This remarkable state, just as Hylas discovered, is the simultaneous perception of an aspect of the earth’s elemental being. And similar experiences have happened to many people. Although the realisation is brief and then passes, the knowledge endures and is known to be always present to share in its power and its love. Mostly concealed by the harsh vibration of the world, the emanation of the mythic realm is forever shining as the radiance of immortal life.
Painting: ‘Hylas and the Nymphs’ by J.W. Waterhouse